Palio Q&A

Welcome to my emerging Q&A hub about all things Palio. The questions below are linked to specific blog posts assembled for this purpose. The posts will include occasional external links and some overviews I am writing myself. Some material consists of excerpts from my own book, Living the Palio (which I humbly recommend for a beginner or intermediate-level understanding of Siena and the Palio-contrada system).

First, I highly recommend this excellent web site about Palio Q&A by Helen Sadler whose questions are highly practical for smartly and respectfully navigating the days of the Palio. Then there’s my stuff below…

What is the Palio of Siena?

What is a contrada? (Plural: contrade)

How are the ten contrade chosen to race in each Palio?

What does the winning contrada of the Palio receive?

How are the horses chosen for the Palio?

What is the meaning of their neck scarves?

What is the typical schedule of events during the Palio?

What is the song sung by the Senese during the days of the Palio?

What to expect during the (morning) trials, and how to attend?

Members of the Unicorn contrada prepare to march into Piazza del Campo with their horse for an evening trial (prova).