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Classic Siena Palio & Lucca Puccini Festival Trip

Break Available: 6 days
12-16 August 2021

Price Per Person From £1,790

Siena really comes alive twice yearly when the Palio horse race comes around. On both the 2 July and 16 August, this small, historical town hosts parades, Palio Trials and of course the Palio race itself. Learn all about the Palio with the help of our local Sienese guides.

The Puccini Festival could not be better located, as the open-air arena overlooks the scenic lake of Torre del Lago. Enjoying world-renowned operas by Puccini, this is quite an experience! With the best seats in the arena, you have a perfect view of the stage and elaborate sets.

These cities complement each other well as both are easily accessible on foot so you have ample time to explore at your own pace. Lucca Performance dates only tie into August Palio

Please note both events are booking up very quickly now, so this break will not be available for long.

Highlights

  • Superb Palio Viewing Options (Positions include balcony, terrace, grandstand, window)
  • Palio Trials where horses, jockeys and contradas are chosen in a pre-race
  • Unique opportunity to participate in good luck Contrada open air dinner
  • Guided Introduction to the history of the Palio
  • Local Knowledgeable Guides who infuse their passion and knowledge for all things Palio
  • Enjoy Gold Seats (best seats) at the Puccini Torre del Lago Opera Festival with private transfers
  • Private airport and Siena to Lucca transfers
  • 5 nights accommodation in hotels within the city walls
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Day by Day Itinerary
 
 
 
 

Day 1 –12 August
Fly to Pisa, Private Transfer to Lucca

Day 1 –12 August
Fly to Pisa, Private Transfer to Lucca

Fly into Pisa and take a private transfer to Lucca for the first part of your Italy trip.

All of the hotels we use are within the city walls and afford a perfect base while you spend time exploring Puccini’s home town.

Rest of day at leisure.

A la Carte Optional Extras

  • Lucca - Explore The Leaning Tower of Pisa with Private Airport Transfer
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A la Carte Optional Extras

Lucca - Explore The Leaning Tower of Pisa with Private Airport Transfer

Today, if you have a late afternoon flight, why not have some time in Pisa to explore. Our private driver can collect you from your hotel and take you to Pisa where you have 3hrs to wander and explore. The driver will hold onto your luggage while you do so.

The Pisa complex has quite a bit to see. Start with the iconic Leaning Tower and see if you can resist taking the photo all tourists take – “holding” the building up! Then explore the church, museums and various outbuildings, the last of which includes some interesting frescos on Heaven and Hell.

Then meet your driver for your onwards travel to Pisa airport for your flight home.

Price Per Person: From £125

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day 2 – 13 August
Day at Leisure and Attend the Puccini Torre del Lago Festival

Day 2 – 13 August
Day at Leisure and Attend the Puccini Torre del Lago Festival

Day at leisure to enjoy Lucca visiting the local churches, palaces and museums.

Lucca is famous for being the birth place of Giacomo Puccini and a trip to the Puccini Museum and the composer’s house are recommended. But there are many other reasons to visit Lucca as well.

You can take in the Renaissance-era walls which are still mostly intact, visit the Ducal and Pfanner Palaces, Villa Garzoni known for its water gardens, the Torre delle Ore (The Clock Tower) and many wonderful churches.

If you want panoramic views of the town then head to Guinigi Tower, located in the middle of the town. The views are incredible and well worth the climb.

Make sure you explore the city walls still largely intact.

This evening your private driver will transfer you to Torre del Lago for the Puccini Opera Festival to see Tosca . On arrival as Gold ticket holders, you have a free drink at Cafe Momus (located within the arena foyer) waiting for you. Enjoy the performance of Tosca from the open-air arena overlooking the lake, with your Gold (top level) seating. A beautiful setting to really transport you away!

After the opera your private transfer will be waiting to transfer you back to your hotel.

Photos 1 – 4 opposite copyrighted to the Puccini Festival Foundation.

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Day 3 – 14 August
Private Transfer to Siena

Day 3 – 14 August
Private Transfer to Siena

At leisure until your private transfer to Siena so you can experience the Siena Palio.

All the hotels we offer are located within the city walls within a 5-10 mins walk from the sights.

Rest of day at leisure.

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Day 4 –15 August
Palio Trials and Complimentary Contrada Open Air Dinner

Day 4 –15 August
Palio Trials and Complimentary Contrada Open Air Dinner

Today your guide will give you a guided introduction to the history of the Palio. Part of this tour involves seeing a Contrada Museum which houses trophies from previous wins. You will also get to see the Duomo.

Then continue to the Campo to view the Palio Trials, where horses and jockeys race three times around the square.

This is not to see who wins the race, but for the judges to choose which ten horses and jockeys are eligible to race and which Contrada they are representing.

The Palio is comprised of many Contradas (districts), of which after your time with the guide you will know all about.

Our tours are conducted in small groups with a guide. We do not believe in large groups.

This evening participate in your complimentary open-air good luck dinner. Mingle with the local Sienese inhabitants and the chosen jockey. Excitement and expectation will be in the air for tomorrow’s big race.

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Day 6 –16 August
Attend the World Famous Palio in Siena

Day 6 –16 August
Attend the World Famous Palio in Siena

After a leisurely start, head out with the guide mid afternoon to witness the build up to this legendary event. If you are lucky, you might even get to see one of the horses being blessed in church!

Take your position before an event that has been happening since 1310.

Please see video link on the photo opposite for a flavour of this world famous event.

As where you stand is crucial to being able to fully appreciate this race, we offer the following positions. Please note these are extremely sort after tickets and do book up early:

1. On the Terrace you can see 80% of the race from a bird’s eye view of the Palio Horse race. The Terrace is around five floors up.

2. The Balcony is right on the square with a superb vantage point, overlooking the Campo at the Casato bend so you have the perfect view from which you will be able to see close up the Palio Horse race and immerse yourself in the passionate atmosphere and unfolding spectacle of the Palio Siena Horse race.

3. The Grand Seats view is of most of the square. The joy of these is that these positions are the closest positions to the track, with all the drama that provides. The grand seats are the chosen viewing position of the local Sienese and the atmosphere is particularly electric!

4. The Window view sees you standing  while watching. There are plenty of seats in the very same room where you will be, but you cannot see the view seated. The rooms typically have two windows so a total of 4 people can be there. You will have access to the whole apartment and to the main hall where a simple buffet and refreshments are offered. There are @30 steps to these positions.

Still unsure which position is right for you?

Once the race has been completed, the winning Contrada will take to the streets for more entertainment and celebration will go on well into the night.

We would recommend you visit the winning Contrada to see Italian exuberance at its best!

Photos 2 & 6 opposite are copyrighted to Chrys Tremththanmor.

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Day 7 – 17 August
Private Transfer to Pisa for your flight home

Day 7 – 17 August
Private Transfer to Pisa for your flight home

Private Transfer to Pisa for your flights home

Alternatively if you want to make the most of your last day, why not spend some time exploring The Leaning Tower of Pisa en route to the airport. Please see our Optional Extra below for more information.

Or you could extend your trip further by taking in a third city. Why not enjoy several days in stunning Florence before returning home

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Accommodation

Where You'll Stay

Hotel Athena - Siena (4 Star)

External view of Hotel Athena, Siena
Room with a view at Hotel Athena, Siena
Outdoor breakfast at Hotel Athena, Siena
View from Hotel Athena, Siena

Hotel Athena - Siena (4 Star)

The Hotel Athena is a 4 stars hotel in Siena located into the city walls. The Hotel offers a very central location, a few minutes away from the Campo’s square and the Duomo.

In addition to the typical services arranged by a 4 stars hotel, the Hotel Athena offers to all the guests a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside showing the beauty of the green Tuscan hills and his medieval farmhouses. The hotel is equipped with all the modern comforts, including air conditioning, a fantastic restaurant and a private car park.

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Palazzo Ravizza - Siena (Equivalent 4 Star)

External view of Palazzo Ravizza Hotel, Siena
Superior room at Palazzo Ravizza, Siena
View at Palazzo Ravizza, Siena
Piano at Palazzo Ravizza Hotel, Siena

Palazzo Ravizza - Siena (Equivalent 4 Star)

A stay at Palazzo Ravizza, historic hotel of Siena since 1924, is a leap into the past: still managed by the same family, Palazzo Ravizza has mantained not only the style and classic ambiance of a heritage hotel but also the atmosphere of an elegant and welcoming private home.

Located in the historic centre of Siena close to the Cathedral and providing private parking on site, Palazzo Ravizza is a convenient base to see the city.

The rooms of Palazzo Ravizza reflect the character and style of an old time mansion: all different in size and furnishings they maintain the original setting of the 1920’s home with the necessary renovations for modern accommodation. All rooms have air conditioning.

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Palazzo Alexander Hotel - Lucca

Reception area at Hotel Palazzo Alexander, Lucca
Superior room at Hotel Palazzo Alexander, Lucca
Buffet breakfast at Hotel Palazzo Alexander, Lucca
Breakfast area at Hotel Palazzo Alexander, Lucca

Palazzo Alexander Hotel - Lucca

The palace dates back to the 12th century when it was first used as a girls boarding school in the 1400's. It has since been restored to its original artistic decor, which reflects the noble Lucchese style, which includes period features of antique wood floors and fine marble.

All the rooms include original period pieces.

Located in the centre of Lucca’s historic district, Palazzo Alexander Hotel is within a short walk of the main sights of the town.

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Hotel Ilaria, Lucca (4 Star)

Sun loungers at Hotel Ilaria, Lucca
Standard room at Hotel Ilaria, Lucca
Pool area at Hotel Ilaria, Lucca
Lounge at Hotel Ilaria, Lucca

Hotel Ilaria, Lucca (4 Star)

Hotel Ilaria is in the centre of Lucca, within the city walls and ideally placed for many of the local sites. These include Piazza Napoleone, Botanical Gardens, Roman Amphitheatre, Basilica di San Frediano and Puccini's House.

The hotel has a fantastic rooftop terrace complete with outdoor spa tub and sun beds, along with fine cuisine dining and a gift shop.

The bedrooms all have city views and expresso makers in the room along with air conditioning, complimentary toiletries and whirlpool tub.

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Palazzo Busdraghi - Lucca

palazzo busdraghi courtyard, Lucca
palazzo busdraghi superior room, Lucca
palazzo busdraghi outdoor, Lucca
palazzo busdraghi entrance, Lucca

Palazzo Busdraghi - Lucca

This small seven bed boutique hotel is right in the heart of Lucca. This hotel is the idea starting point for exploring the stunning Tuscan town. Just like the town that is home to it, Palazzo Busdraghi is a welcoming hotel that will captivate you with the friendliness of its staff and the attention to detail that you will notice in every nook and cranny of the building.

Being close to the city walls and the amphitheatre as well as the main churches, mean a very easy walk reveals the main sites in Lucca.

The superior rooms offer either a jacuzzi bath or jet shower water as well as the main services.

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Maison de Charme - Lucca

Outside Maison de Charme, Lucca
Double room at Maison de Charme, Lucca
Dining room at Maison de Charme, Lucca
En-suite room at Maison de Charme, Lucca

Maison de Charme - Lucca

One of the top hotels in Lucca. This warm and friendly hotel is within the ancient walls of Lucca and a 10-minute walk from the cathedral.

All the rooms are individually designed and have a beautiful view across the historic centre. They feature frescoes on the walls and some have wood beamed ceilings.

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Santoni Luxury Home - Lucca

Santori Luxury Home area, Lucca
Santori Luxury Home staircase, Lucca
Santori Luxury Home Tosca Deluxe Room, Lucca

Santoni Luxury Home - Lucca

This luxurious historical hotel is perfectly located right in the centre of Lucca, within the city walls. Only a few steps from San Martino Cathedral, all of the main sights in Lucca are an easy walk.

The rooms are all individually designed and named after Puccini's most beloved operas incuding the Puccini Suite, the Turandot room. the Manon Room, La Boheme room, Butterfly Room and Tosca room.

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Optional Extras
Lucca - Explore The Leaning Tower of Pisa with Private Airport Transfer

Today, if you have a late afternoon flight, why not have some time in Pisa to explore. Our private driver can collect you from your hotel and take you to Pisa where you have 3hrs to wander and explore. The driver will hold onto your luggage while you do so.

The Pisa complex has quite a bit to see. Start with the iconic Leaning Tower and see if you can resist taking the photo all tourists take – “holding” the building up! Then explore the church, museums and various outbuildings, the last of which includes some interesting frescos on Heaven and Hell.

Then meet your driver for your onwards travel to Pisa airport for your flight home.

Price Per Person: From £125

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Reviews & Feedback

Reviews & Feedback

The Palio race was so exciting. The build-up for two days and the guide got us into her Contrada to see all the costumes ready for the parade and race. Then we went to our local Contrada the night before for the dinner then the next day to the church to see the blessing of the horse. It really made us feel part of the whole pageant. So memorable. A brilliant trip. Thank you so much for the perfect organisation. We will recommend you to all our friends!

Wendy and Len

We had a fabulous weekend. The hotel was quiet, air conditioned (34 outside) and well positioned for sightseeing. The transport was exceptional! Nothing was too much trouble. We asked to be picked up an hour earlier so we could have supper by the lake before the opera which we would highly recommend. The tickets were brilliant and Tosca outstanding. So all in all a great success. Many thanks for organising it so well.

Margret Lillington and Friends

What our clients think of us

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Price Per Person From £1,790
What's included & departure airports

What's Included?

  • 5 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation
  • Gold tickets for the Puccini Opera Festival (best seats in the arena)
  • Attend Palio Trials and Contrada Dinner
  • Guided Palio Introduction tours
  • Terrace Viewing for the Palio race
  • Private airport, Siena to Lucca and opera transfers
  • Flights (from the UK)

Departure airports:

  • Gatwick
  • Heathrow

Our international clients are welcome to book their own flights.

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Call 01722 445900 to make an enquiry

or Fill in the Form Below

You have Signed up to receive newsletters with ideas and tips for special occasion trips from our travel websites. This e-newsletter comes out twice a month and we guarantee your information will not be shared with others. If at any stage you would like to cancel this then please e-mail info@weekendalacarte.co.uk informing us and we will remove your details from our database.

We guarantee your information will not be shared
with others. If at any stage you would like to cancel this then please e-mail info@weekendalacarte.co.uk informing us and we will remove your details from our database.