After the frightening looking fall of the leading jockey of the Valdimontone (ram) neighborhood right at the beginning of the race, Aquila (eagle neighborhood) and its yellow wearing jockey seemed to be in pole position to win the Palio dell'Assunta in 2014. Nevertheless OccolĂ©, the horse of the closely following Civetta (owl) had the better of them and won the race after leading it for the full last round, closely followed by the horses of contrada dell'Aquila and Chiocciola. 

Andrea Mari (called Brio) riding the winning horse OccolĂ© 
for the Civetta neighborhood

When visiting Siena this summer and autumn you will not just see the colors and hear the victorious chants of the members of the Civetta neighborhood, but also those of the members of the Drago, the neighborhood of the dragon which won the July Palio 2014

Want to celebrate along? Join one of the 30 victory dinners organized by Civetta all through the roads of their neighborhood until Tuesday September 23 (make sure you book beforehand, details here). 

Not a friend of Civetta, but a supporter of il Drago? The festivities of the winner of the Palio della Madonna di Provenzano (run every year on the 2nd of July) are still in full swing. Contrada del Drago's big victory dinner will take place on Saturday, 27 of September. More info on the contrada website

What was it all about in the first place? For some basic notions and an introduction to the bareback horse race read What is the Palio di Siena


Born last year, the Siena and Stars festival is in its second round and continues to bring more great live music to one of the most beautiful locations in Siena's city center. With a focus on some of Italy's greatest singer songwriters the festival opens with Antonello Venditti (11/7) in piazza del Campo (concert for free!) followed by Franco Battiato on July 15. The Sicilian pop star will be accompanied by Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, one of Italy's leading symphony orchestras. 

The international highlight of the festival takes place on July 18 with the 'Balcan Party' by Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral band - a concert that should get everybody off their chairs. The same counts for the Tarantella night with Ambrogio Sparagna and the Orchestra Popolare Italiana on the 17th of July. 

Siena and Stars in piazza del Duomo 2013
Getting ready for Siena and Stars 

If you rather let other people do the dancing, come on the 22nd to admire the ballerini of Milan's teatro della Scala or join the Flamenco night on the 27th of July. And bring your kids on the 21st of July for an evening with Sonics, a troupe of acrobats that have been involved in the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Turin. 

Last but not least the collaboration with Siena Jazz also continues this year and brings six Jazz concerts to the square in front of Siena's famous cathedral. It's rare to have the opportunity to listen to the great Enrico Rava or jazz musicians like Avishai Cohen in such a splendid setting - for free!


You'll be hearing a lot of singing this summer from the neighborhood of the dragon (contrada del drago), which won the July Palio 2014. It was a clear victory with the horse Oppio guided by jockey Salasso dominating the race after overtaking the leading Aquila and runner up Pantera and Selva early on. Contrada del drago will celebrate 37 dinners this summer, one each for every victory (the first verified one dating back to 1650).  

10 out of Siena's 17 contrade still have a chance to win a title this year. Set to participate on the 16th of August 2014 are: Drago (dragon), Giraffa (giraffe), Pantera (pantheress), Civetta (owl), Valdimontone (ram), Leocorno (unicorn), Aquila (eagle), Bruco (caterpillar), Chiocciola (snail) and Selva (forest). 

In 2014 four contrade won't have participated in neither of the two Palio: Nicchio (Shell), Torre (tower) and Oca (goose) haven't been drawn whilst Istrice (porcupine) would have had the right to participate in the August Palio, but has been disqualified as a result of the assault of a small group of its members on the jockey of their enemy contrada (la Lupa) after the race on July 2, 2013. 

Oppio the winning horse of the July Palio 2014 for the Drago neighborhood

Coming out for the race? For more insight into its centuries old history, intricate rules and neighborhood animosities read What is the Palio di Siena?


If you happen to spend the longest day of the year in Siena, you're in the right town for some special events. Two recently born festivals celebrate summer solstice in the city of the Palio. 

Panorama view Siena's cathedral and piazza del Campo by night

Siena's cathedral and the adjacent museum will stay open until midnight for the third edition of 'Lux in Nocte'. Various concerts will take place in the baptistery, crypt and Piccolomini library inside the cathedral and the OPA museum. 

SIENA CATHEDRAL - LUX IN NOCTE: Saturday, June 21 2014 
Events are included in the ticket price (11€). 
To get a panorama view of Siena by night book the fabulous Gate to Heaven tour (30€) or climb up on the Facciatone (12€ on booking). For bookings and more info click through to the Opera Duomo website

As part of Tuscany's 'Arcobaleno d'Estate' festival, the June solstice will also be celebrated in piazza del Campo with a special guided tour that takes visitors to the hidden rooms of the Civic Museum inside Palazzo Pubblico. Normally not accessible by the public, the frescoed rooms can be visited with guided tours at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30, 4 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm. Tickets 11 € (3 € for children up to 11 years of age). 

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