Chianti Classico, San Gimignano and some Super Tuscans
By Michèle Shah
This Guide was last updated on 30 March 2010
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If you plan to be in Siena or around the area in early July or mid-August you should try to see the famous Palio horse race, which takes place in the Piazza del Campo. The Palio was first run on 16 August 1656 and it occurs annually on 2 July and 16 August. It is an historical tradition, which is strictly connected to the Contradas of Siena (the districts into which the town is divided). The contradas each originally had their own government, oratory, coat of arms, appellations, sometimes titles of nobility, emblems and colours, as well as official representatives, festivities and patron saints. Today the contradas are still very important to Siena and its citizens, and as a result the Palio is followed by all Sienese and is one of the most exciting festive events to be held in the city. Of the original 59 or so contradas only 17 remain, and among these only ten take part in the historical pageant and in each Palio race (seven by right and three drawn by lots).
Useful information: Tourist Office in Siena (see 'Useful Information').
This is a wine festival held on the third weekend in September in the main square. Wine from many of the Panzano wineries is available to be sampled. There is music and a great festive atmosphere.
This Chianti Classico wine festival is programmed every year over the second weekend of September. The festival starts at about 17.00 on Friday and at about 11.00 on Saturday and Sunday, and the stands close at about 20.00. All you need to do is purchase a wine glass and then you are free to taste the wines on offer.
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