August 14 – It was a bright, sunny morning as we left the hotel for a walking tour of Siena. As you walk under the arches and into the courtyard you find the streets all lined with colorful flags. Each of the 16 neighborhoods, or contrada, has their own flag and the buildings are adorned with their colors. There was a great deal of excitement in the air being the day before the race.
We made our way to the Piazza del Campo where we found people working diligently to get the track reset after a rehearsal race. The square is beautiful with a grand tower as a center piece.
As we made our way up the street we caught a glimpse of a parade making its way from through the streets. We stopping by one of the neighborhood stables, took in the view over the wall, and finished off the tour in front of the Duomo.
We had several hours at our leisure. We had been told the Duomo had no entry fee for the day so several people were waiting for the service in progress to complete so they could take a tour. I wandered the streets for a while and purchased an eagle contrada scarf on my way back to the hotel. I was a bit worn out from so much time in the sun and decided I should try to get a nap before the group meet up to make our way back to the Duomo to attend an open-air dinner in the eagle neighborhood.
A group of dreamtrippers gathered in the lounge for a few drinks before making our way back to the Duomo to meet our host. We were escorted to our seats and we had a wonderful time eating, drinking, enjoying each others company, and taking in the amazing atmosphere. You don’t have to speak the language to understand how passionate these people are about their neighborhood and the tradition of the Palio race. Another incredible day in Italy!