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Annual Events in Siena, Italy
Fiera di San Giuseppe - a traditional festival in March, which celebrates the feast of St Joseph. Stalls are set up in Siena's Contrada dell'Onda and there are donkey races, floats and tournaments
Il Palio - held on 2nd July each year, Il Palio is a major event on the city's calendar. The Palio is an unusual race involving bareback riders dressed in 15th-century costume. Each rider represents one of Siena's 17 contrade, or city districts. The riders and horses process through the streets, ending at Piazza del Campo where thousands wait to watch the race. The event is held again in August
Festa dell'Olio - held in mid-December. This traditional festival celebrates olive oil produced from the first crop of the season harvested earlier in the month. As well as olive oil tastings, there's plenty of music and dancing to keep everyone entertained.
DiscoverTuscany.com - Siena
Siena is probably Italy's loveliest medieval city, and a trip worth making even if you are in Florence and Tuscany for just a few days. Siena's heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo and world-reknown for its famous Palio, a festival and horse race that takes place on the piazza itself two times each summer.
Siena in One Day - the first stop is Piazza del Campo, where the Palio di Siena takes place, and which is characterized by its peculiar shell-shape and the important buildings facing the square. Among these the Palazzo Comunale, built with red bricks and decorated with white marble, and which hosts the beautiful Civic Museum. Next to the Palazzo Comunale the Torre del Mangia rises up. The bell tower is among the highest and oldest towers in Italy from which you can admire a wonderful 360° view of Siena and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Once back on the ground, take a closer look at the marble Fountain of Joy (Fonte Gaia) by Jacopo della Quercia that stands on one side of the Piazza del Campo.
The city's outline is marked by the profile of the splendid Duomo of Siena, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. The cathedral is a perfect example of Romanesque-Gothic style.
Then there is the Church of San Domenico, characterized by the massive architecture and its Holy Head, a venerated relic of Saint Catherine from Siena, and the Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala that melts both past and present history of Siena in the display great art works of Sienese artists.
The two Siena museums that definitely deserve a visit are the Opera del Duomo Museum, displaying the unique Maestà by Duccio di Buoninsegna and the National Art Gallery, showing works by Simone Martini, Duccio di Buoninsegna and other important Sienese artists.
Walking around Siena is particularly pleasant. Each borough is a Contrada (district) of the Palio, and each symbol is proudly displayed on front doors and shop windows. The passion for the Palio can be breathed on the air all year round.