Siena’s Local, Intercity Bus System

(Updated Sept. 21, 2021 for changes to the Siena Mobilita web site.) For those in Siena without a car, the local bus system provides reliable and frequent transportation for neighborhoods both inside and outside the city walls. Since transit systems are largely designed for locals, however, they can confuse even more experienced travelers. This post … Continue reading Siena’s Local, Intercity Bus System

Grocery Stores in Siena’s Historic Center

(Author's note: Updated June 2022 for changes to some stores and owners since 2019. Newer stores have been added.) Finding grocery stores and larger supermarkets in Siena is not always easy or intuitive, though shopping at them provides for a rich cultural experience. These businesses occupy centuries-old buildings in many cases, sometimes revealing unique floor … Continue reading Grocery Stores in Siena’s Historic Center

Regional buses to and from Siena: TOM’S TIPS

(Updated May, 2022 for transition from Tiemme to Autolinee Toscane bus service as of Nov, 2021. Please see my two recent books to learn more about Siena and the Palio: Living the Palio and Unbridled Spirit.) For visitors based in or near Siena, Tuscany's regional bus service (called Autolinee Toscane - formerly Tiemme SPA) provides … Continue reading Regional buses to and from Siena: TOM’S TIPS

Why do the Sienese wear neck scarves?

Excerpt adapted in part from my book, Living the Palio. Panther contradaioli (contrada members) wearing their fazzoletti while walking to the Duomo on the day of the Palio The strongest direct symbol of personal contrada identity is the contrada scarf, or fazzoletto, which is typically worn around one’s neck. Today, as in the past, the … Continue reading Why do the Sienese wear neck scarves?

Daily Schedule of Palio Events

The daily events and rituals associated with the Palio are (usually) on a fixed schedule that is predictable from one Palio to the next. A useful overview of the four days of the Palio is found here: Palio Time Schedules. Here is my own version of the typical schedule (below), based on my personal experiences … Continue reading Daily Schedule of Palio Events

Winning the Palio: the Drappellone

Excerpt adapted from my book, Living the Palio. (It's already written, so I'm happy to share it here.) A few traditions are quite different from US sporting events. The only payout for a victorious contrada is a cloth banner known as the drappellone or palio. The word palio actually holds a dual meaning here—for the … Continue reading Winning the Palio: the Drappellone

Understanding Siena’s 17 Contrade

Exerpt adapted from my book, Living the Palio. (It's already written, so I'm happy to share it here.) The Goose contrada membership enjoying the pre-Palio dinner, the cena della prova generale on July 1, 2018. To understand the Palio race, one should become acquainted to some extent with Siena’s seventeen distinct neighborhoods, known as contrade … Continue reading Understanding Siena’s 17 Contrade

What exactly is the Palio?

Excerpt adapted from my book, Living the Palio (It's already written, so I'm happy to share it here.) The ten horses and jockeys preparing for the start of an evening trial in Piazza del Campo, for the "Extraordinary Palio" of October 2018 Through centuries of successive governments and external influences, Siena’s prized annual horse race, … Continue reading What exactly is the Palio?

Now Available: LIVING THE PALIO (2020)

"The book is great! Easy to read and full of helpful info…Probably the best professional guide book to comprehend the Palio."--Dario Castagno, Tuscan author and expert I'm thrilled to announce that my third (and final) edition of Living the Palio: A Story of Community and Public Life in Siena, Italy is now available on Amazon, … Continue reading Now Available: LIVING THE PALIO (2020)