If you’ve been missing this unique event, it’s time for you to join us at Palio dei Somari or the Donkey Races! Indeed, it is an annual event in medieval Torrita, where you can also see expert drummer boys, flag wavers, crafts, and terrific dinners at medieval inns. The event runs from March 17 to March 25 and is loads of fun, including parades with participants in historical medieval attire. The venue, Vinsanto in Montefollonico, is a well preserved, charming village that lies between Valdichiana Senese and Val d’Orcia. While you’re in Sienna, there are a million other things to do and see, starting with a guided tour of the Sienna Cathedral. This tour lands you at the end of a treasure hunt, and you will find magnificent treasures including sculptures by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini. Not to mention the tediously delicate frescoes by Pinturicchio in the Piccolomini Library. Part of the tour is dedicated to the etched and inlaid marble floor that is one of the most ornate of its kind in Italy. Its beauty is unparalleled. You can also pick up tickets to the Cathedral Museum as well.
Other breathtaking views are available when you opt for a guided visit of a wine cellar in Chianti. Here you see the quaint town Greve and enjoy a fabulous wine tasting. The area has lush green hills and picturesque countryside. A wonderful opportunity to kick back, relax and soak in nature.
If you’d like to obtain more detailed information regarding the racing event and the venue, check out the official website of Palio dei Somari.
Another great way to taste the sassy side of Sienna is to enjoy the culture, history, wines and other flavors of the area’s products.
In case you didn’t know, the historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. March temperatures in Siena, average a comfy 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuscan dialects may change regionally; however, Italian is the primary language of the area.
Be sure not to confuse this event with the horse races named Palio di Siena, that are held semi-annually. The week of donkey races is filled with opportunities to taste traditional treats, enjoy medieval performances and join in the street entertainment. The two events are not mocking each other; they are both history based, and both are great fun for the whole family!
We also recommend a tour that includes Sienna and Chianti and adds in an area that was originally built by the Sienese in 1213 as a front line in their wars against Florence. Monteriggioni is a prime example of a defensive fortification. Today, this fascinating little town attracts many visitors, including architects, medieval historians, and archaeologists. You will also visit another UNESCO site, San Gimignano. The town is filled with medieval towers, and you will have plenty of time to venture out on your own to explore the unknown.
This trip is sure to become one of your favorites and a definite “do-over” vacation!