When we think about typical Tucan imagery, we imagine the silhouettes of gentle hills, Romanesque churches, medieval villages and equestrian traditions of which the Palio of Siena is the best known. Throughout the Tuscan territory, horse races have been enlivening cities and towns for centuries, fostering the love for each district, the colors of period clothes and the ardor of the jockeys. The Palio of Piancastagnaio and the Palio of Castel del Piano in the Amiata area are particularly notable.
Enriched by many decades of history, these popular events consist in re-enactments that don't simply involve the laps of the track, but can also be experienced in the days before the race and also in the joy of victory in the days following.
The Palio of Piancastagnaio takes place on August 18 each year before sunset. Don't miss the parade of medieval costumes: ladies and feudal lords, knights and flag-wavers crowd the streets of the village walking to the rhythm of traditional drums, with the bearing and grace that recalls the times when people lived in castles and traveled on the back of elegant steeds.
The Palio of Castel del Piano takes place every year on 8 September and offers the thrilling historic procession and drums along with the assignment of the horses and the challenges for the jockeys. This event dates back to the first half of the 15th century. The legend links its origin to the miracle of the SS. Madonna delle Grazie, an effigy attributed to Sano di Pietro who by speaking to four Sienese soldiers, saved them from enemies, loyal fighters to the Aldobrandeschi counts of Santa Fiora. In the village of Santa Fiora, you can attend another important Palio and can also visit the splendid Peschiera.
To learn more:
The Palio of Piancastagnaio:
The Palio of Castel del Piano: