The program of the Quattro Giorni of the Palio of July 2, 2024

Finally! Palio! As you know, there are many appointments during the days of the Palio. To keep things clear, we will summarize briefly.

Participants in the Palio are Valdimontone, Pantera, Bruco, Leocorno, Lupa, Civetta and Oca, supplemented by Giraffa, Nicchio and Onda. We see two rivalries in the Piazza: Valdimontone-Nicchio and Leocorno-Civetta.

These ten contrade will be allocated a horse by lot on June 29. That same morning, several battles will take place where the horses will be tested. During the 4 days of the Palio, the participants will ride 6 trials; one in the morning and one in the evening so that the fantino can become familiar with his horse and the combination of the two on the tufo (sand) in the Piazza.

The trials can be attended by paying for a seat in the stands or for free in the courtyard. The battery of the tratta can also be followed this way.

Before the Palio, the Corteo Storico goes around the square. More than 600 extras will represent the 17 contrade as well as the institutions of the old Republic of Siena. The Corteo starts in the afternoon at the Piazza del Duomo and winds through several streets of the city center towards Piazza del Campo.

The final race consists of three laps around the Piazza del Campo where the horses will be ridden bareback.

An overview of the following days:

Thursday 27 and Friday 28 June

5.30 – prove regolamentate (the former prove di notte). After the preliminary visit last Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June in the animal clinic of Il Ceppo, 85 horses were selected for this test. After this test, a new selection of horses will follow that may participate in the tratta.

Saturday June 29

7:00 am – Presentation of the horses participating in the tratta batterie. The owners take their horse to the Piazza del Campo where they receive another medical examination in the courtyard of the town hall.

9:00 am – Battery start. The horses are divided into five batteries by the captains. They will be called between the ropes and ride 3 laps around the Piazza. Such as during the prove or the Palio itself. After the battery, the captains of the 10 participating contrade meet in the presence of the mayor. They will choose the 10 participating horses.

12.00 / 1.30 (indicative time) – Assegnazione. The raffle of the 10 chosen horses will take place on a stage in front of the Palazzo Pubblico. Each horse is paired with a contrada. The horse will then be taken to the contrada stable by the members of the neighborhood.

7.45 pm – Great prova. The first of six trials prior to the Palio. About an hour before the prova, the contrade will one by one bring their horses to the Piazza and more specifically the town hall. To see this test you must be on time at the Piazza because it closes about fifteen minutes before the test.

Each Contrada chooses a fantino (jockey) whom they can change until the morning of the Palio itself. The knight, on the other hand, can no longer be changed! The horses are called between the ropes by the mossiere (starter). The tenth and final contrada determines when to start. As soon as the horse’s nose reaches the level of the second rope, the starter drops the first rope and starts. This may take a while! The order is the one in which the 10 districts were drawn for the Palio.

Sunday June 30

9.00 – Seconda prova. Order between the ropes is the reverse of the prima prova.

7.45 pm – Terza prova round. Order between the ropes is the order of allocation of the horses during the assegnazione.

Monday July 1

9am – Quarta prova. Order between the ropes is the reverse of the terza prova.

5:30 PM – Transfer of the Drappellone from the Town Hall to the Church of Provenzano. Each district sends two alfiere (flag wavers) and a tamburino (drummer).

7.45pm – Prova Generale. The order is the number that the horses had hanging from their ear during the assegnazione. The prova is preceded by the ‘carica’ of the Carabinieri on horseback.

After the Prova Generale, cenas will take place in all participating neighborhoods. The contradaioli will eat together on the streets of the neighborhood. The district council sits at the table of honor together with the fantino. Songs and speeches will alternate.

After the dinners, the captain and mangini of each Contrada go to the leaders of the friendly and allied Contradas to make arrangements to promote their own victory or that of a friendly Contrada (or hinder that of the opponent). All by word.

Tuesday July 2

7.45 am – In the chapel next to the town hall, the ‘Messa del fantino’ is celebrated by the archbishop.

9am – Provaccia. Nothing more than a mandatory number. The order between the ropes is the reverse of that of the Prova Generale.

10.30 am – The ‘Segnatura dei fantini’ takes place in the town hall. Captains and jockeys meet, in the presence of the mayor, for the registration of the jockey and the presentation of the jersey he will wear during the race. From this point on, the jockeys cannot be replaced for any reason.

3:00 PM – Blessing of the horse and jockey. After dressing the extras, the blessing of the horse takes place in the respective chapel. The priest concludes the rite with the wish that is almost a command: “Go and come back victorious!” (“Vai e torna vincitore!”). Afterwards, the comparsa of the neighborhood will move towards the starting point of the corteo storico. They all pass in Piazza Salimbeni, at the ‘casino ‘dei Nobili’, in front of Palazzo Chigi Saracini and in Piazza del Duomo.

4:30 PM – Departure of the corteo storico from the courtyard of the Palazzo del Governo (seat of the prefecture and of the province of Siena) in Piazza del Duomo.

5:10 PM – The Corteo Storico enters the square.

6:15 PM – The last access to the square via via Dupré is closed: it is strongly recommended not to wait at the last minute and to arrive on time.

7.30 pm – The Drappellone is hung up at the start. At the same time the sbandierata of the 17 contrade takes place.

Then the cannon will go off and the horses will come out of the town hall. All 10 fantini receive a whip that they can use on their horse or on the opponent during the race. At that time, the 3 jury members will draw the starting order. A silence falls on the square and the mossiere calls the 10 between the ropes. When the tenth and last one comes in, the race starts. As mentioned, 3 laps are completed, which corresponds to 1000 meters. The horse that crosses the line first wins, regardless of whether there is still a Fantino on it!

After the race, the winner receives the drappellone with which they go to the church of Provenzano to sing the Te Deum.

Everything can be followed via the live streams of Canale3 and RadioSienaTV. The course itself can be seen on La7.