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Where to Sit at the Siena Palio

We are thrilled to have such a wide selection of positions for the Siena Palio Horse Race as a result of a long standing personal relationship which no-one else in the UK is able to offer. That means we can really tailor your Siena Palio Horse Race Package to your budget and needs.

However the choice of which seating position to choose at the Siena Palio Horse Race might seem quite daunting. The factors that you need to think about when booking your Siena Palio viewing position are

  1. Do you want to be able to see the Mossa? (The start and finish)
  2. Do you want to be close to where the action is or prefer an overview?
  3. Do you need access to a loo?
  4. Do you want to be able to move around?
  5. Do you like your personal space?
  6. Do you want to be able to have refreshments?
  7. Do you need to be in the shade as it can get quite hot?
  8. Are you able to stand or would you prefer to sit?
  9. What is your budget?

Thousands watch the Siena Palio race from the central area of the medieval Campo inside the track. You need to arrive early in the morning and be prepared to stand for hours. It is extremely crowded and of course you cannot leave to go to the toilet, and there is no possibility to buy refreshments.

You will not be able to see much of the track and of the Siena Palio Horse race, and it will get very hot in the sun with every year a quota of people fainting, but it is free! Therefore we would strongly recommend instead you buy a Siena Palio viewing position in one of the Grandstands, on a Balcony or at a window.

The campo itself is sloping which means that the Mossa is located at the highest part and is the best place to be situated if you want to see the start and end of the race. From this part of the track you can see the whole campo, and therefore the whole Palio di Siena race as well as have the finish line right in front of you.

It would be fair to say that all seated positions are quite tight and the Italians are not great believers in ‘personal space’! Don’t let this put you off. It is a thrilling and dramatic experience but it is only right that you choose your positions with knowledge and go to the Palio knowing what to expect. It is all about viewing the race from the best position for the experience, rather than absolute comfort.

If I was to summarise the differences I would say:

The benefits of the GrandStands are that you are really close to the action, and there is a little more space for the more generously proportioned of us.

Both the Balconies and Windows have the benefit of height in terms of view and access to loos, but the windows have the most freedom in terms of space to move around.

The Grandstands are erected especially for the Palio and are close to the track so really close to the action which is exciting. The Grand Stands are where the locals go to and so it is fun to see their fervour and excitement close up. The locals tend to miss the pageant which they have seen before and arrive at the last minute for the Palio Horse Race itself. 

However if you need access to a loo or a cold drink then you will need to leave the Grandstands to try and find one. Toilets are available at all the restaurants to use if you buy an ice cream or drink from them.

We have access to positions in various Grandstands.

The Grandstand seats at the Casato bend are in the shade and have excellent views of the San Martino and Casato bends. However the Mossa (start and finish) is not visible from here.

In fact you can see the winning horse just after the finish line – but about 10 metres of the track isn’t visible from your position and this includes the Mossa.

The view is complete of the whole square from the San Martino bend Grandstands and you are close to the San Martino bend where often much of the action takes place in terms of Jockeys overtaking and falling off. However the shade only comes about half way through the Historical Parade and before the Palio.

The Casata/Mossa Grandstand provides a fantastic view of the whole track! You can see the Mossa from behind (start and finish), along with the dramatic Casato Bend, where quite often the winner of the race is decided. The positions are in shade long before the start of the historical parade.

The Mossa View Grandstand positions are seated positions in the shade. They have an excellent frontal view of the Mossa, and a view of the whole track and are therefore one of the most sought after grandstand positions by the locals, and so the atmosphere is particularly electric!

The balcony positions are accessed by stairs they are higher than the grandstands and often refreshments are also available. The positions are on benches on the balconies and you will be packed in tightly with little room to stretch your legs. Whilst toilets are available in the apartment it is often hard to get out to them once you are seated in your position.

Our most popular Palio Siena balcony viewing position is the Casata balcony seated positions at the corner of the Casato Bend where you are both close to the action, and have a great view of the horses running towards you. You will be in shade throughout, but the Mossa cannot be seen from this balcony.

The windows are for those with a bit more budget to spend and are looking for more private space in which to enjoy the Palio di Siena.

You will have easy access to toilets and to refreshments. However it is important that you remember that these medieval buildings were built hundreds of years ago when windows were smaller than now.

There are of course chairs you can use within the apartment but you will not be able to see the race whilst seated, and you will have to stand up to see the race. Many of the windows are in quite special luxurious apartments which are a treat to see as well.

There are only three windows for 2 people in the whole of the Campo and we offer two of them which are the Lower and Higher Casata Windows. You will be standing at the window while watching, and have a great view of the horses running towards you and the Casato Bend, as well as the Mossa from behind if you lean out.

We can offer two windows for 3 people in each window.

There are two windows at the Palazzio D’elci These two windows are directly over the Mossa and so have excellent views of the Mossa, and much of the race. There are 3 people per window and all will be standing.

We have four windows suitable for 4 people.

The Fonte Gaia and San Martino bend view window is on the first lower floor window belonging to possibly the most beautiful shop in Siena. You have exclusive use of the window and of the space directly at its back.

The view is excellent between the Fonte Gaia and the San Martino bend and you have a very spectacular view of the straight line just after the start of the Siena Palio Horse race.

Just past the Fonte Gaia window the winning horse of the Palio di Siena will stop right below you. The window is in a very nice air-conditioned shop. You will have exclusive use of the window and of the room at the back.

The First noble floor window at San Martino is in part of a stunning palace at the San Martino bend, the most spectacular spot of the track. This window belongs to an office, and is the only one of it over the square, with its own private entrance. You’d have exclusive use of the window and of the quite large room at the back.

Our contacts Mossa Window is right over the Mossa (the start & finish line). The view is excellent. You have exclusive use of both the window and the hall.

If you book early enough we even have access to what is considered one of the best positions in the whole of the Campo – though it comes at a price! This window is right above the Mossa and has a perfect view of the whole track. The Palio, the winning banner, is hung just metres beneath the window – it feels like if you stretch out your arm you can almost touch it, and you can watch the winning Contradaioli  climb up to it, (and it feels like you!) to claim their prize.

If you are looking to go to the Palio di Siena the important thing is to start investigating early as the options and choices are so much wider.

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