Join us this summer for the most amazing and exciting sporting event in the world: the Palio of Siena! Immerse yourself in this important cultural event with At the Italian Table and Ecco la Cucina when we take just ten lucky people to Siena to experience the July Palio, June 28-July 3, 2017.
The most famous and oldest continually-run horse race in the world, the Palio of Siena is run twice a year, July 2nd and August 16th, in the medieval town of Siena. The modern continuation of a medieval contest between the still-existing seventeen neighborhoods (contrade) of Siena, the Palio is bareback, no holds barred and the most exciting 90 seconds in sports you’ll ever experience.
More than just a single event, this special cultural festival spans four days of trial races, dinners, parades and traditions. The days of the Palio begin when the horses are chosen and assigned to the participating contrade, four days before the main event, and culminate with the winning contrada demanding the coveted silk banner that signals victory, to be lauded and paraded all over the city that evening and for weeks to come.
The Palio is on many bucket lists, but in order to truly appreciate and experience the event, you must be immersed in the culture beforehand to gain an understanding of what makes it so special: which contradas are enemies or allies, what horses have won before and which are new to the track, which jockeys have won and who is known for selling out the contrada that mounts them, where is dinner tonight and what excellent Tuscan wine will accompany it?!
Come experience this glorious tradition with Gina Stipo, owner of At the Italian Table, and her sister and partner, Mary Potter. Gina is a member of the Selva contrada and lived in Siena for thirteen years. Her in-depth knowledge of the Palio and life in the contrada will ensure that your immersion into Siena and their time-honored traditions during the days of the Palio will be experienced like a local, not a tourist!
The Palio isn’t about drinks or hats or special parties, it’s about celebrating the history and force of Siena. The victor isn’t the owner of the horse, but every member of the neighborhood the horse runs for. And there is absolutely no betting, at least in Siena, so the entire culture of the race is an anomaly to outsiders. The Palio is about the enduring joy of victory and the contest is fierce and eternal, with the winning contrada shedding tears of pent-up anxiety and unbridled joy.
We will stay in a lovely villa and refurbished chapel with all the comforts of home. The five days include attending la tratta, where the horse is assigned to each contrada, a guided tour through several contrada districts, dinner with the Selva contrada in their historic piazza the night before the race (yes, the Selva is running this July!), and all the events of the actual Palio day, including the medieval parade, benediction of the horse in the contrada church, and great balcony seats for the actual race on July 2nd. Other events will include a visit and wine tasting in Montalcino, historic ally of Siena, and other cultural events relating to the race.
The deadline for registration is February 15, 2017 and a $500 non refundable deposit will hold your space in the tour. We are taking a maximum of 10 people so don’t delay your participation in this amazing event!
Gina and Mary have been conducting culinary tours of Italy since 2016 and your trip with them will be both exciting and memorable, meeting new people and sharing in an amazing cultural experience. There is lots of wine and food involved, obviously, as it takes place in Italy! To check out past participants in the tours, check out Ecco La Cucina on Trip Advisor.
Please contact Mary Potter (972) 342-8308 or Gina Stipo (321) 412-2011 and we will send you a registration form immediately. You can also email us with any questions
Viva La Selva!