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When to Go

City Market (Wednesday mornings, venue: la Lizza around the Fortezza, from 8.30am-1.30pm) Large lively market filled with affordable items such as footwear, leather goods, homeware, flowers, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Great for browsing.

Fiesta of S.Giuseppe (19th March; venue: Via Duprè, Contrada dell'Onda).

Concerts and Opera (Throughout the year, until the week of Sienese music held in July and August; sponsor: Accademia Musicale Chigiana (headquarters: Via di Cittá 89; tel. 0577 22091 / Fax: 0577 288 124; www.chigiana.it/index_ing.htm)).

Open air cinema and theatre performances, Cinema in Fortezza (June and July; venue: Fortezza Medici) Movies are different every evening.

Open air concerts (July/August; sponsor: the Siena Jazz Association (Headquarters: Fortezza Medicea, 10; tel.0577 271 401 / Fax: 0577 271 404; www.sienajazz.it/home_eng.html)) In winter the Siena Jazz Association sponsors concerts.

Open air cinema (August; venue: parks in Siena) Films are different each evening.

Open air performances (August; put on by small local drama groups) Advertised throughout Siena. Affordable performances.

Sagra del Buongustaio (end of August and beginning of September; venue: San Gimignano) Tasting of typical dishes.

Sagra della Bruschetta (mid-September; venue: Gaiole in Chianti).

Festa dell'Uva (September; venue: Chiusi) Tasting, music, and theatre performances.

Treno Natura (Sundays from spring to autumn; tel. 0577 207413; www.ferrovieturistiche.it/p.asp?p=etrenonatura.asp) Old-fashioned steam train that runs through the countryside of Siena through the Val d'Arbia, Val d'Orcia, and the scenic La Crete. 

Settimana Musicale Senese (November; venue: San Galgano Abbey; sponsor: Accademia Musicale Chigiana (headquarters: Via di Cittá 89; tel. 0577 0577 22091 / Fax: 0577 288 124; www.chigiana.it/index_ing.htm)).

Fiesta of Santa Lucia (13th December; venue: streets of Siena, along Piano dei Mantellini).


Il Palio

This colourful horse race takes place twice a year, once in July and once in August. Out of the seventeen districts, ten send riders decorated in representative colours and flags. The Corteo Storico, a magnificent pageant, precedes the race, and is one of the most popular sights in Siena all year round. The race is a risky competition for the bareback riders, because it is common for several to fall off their horses during the race, but it is a captivating sight and has been celebrated for centuries. The horse that finishes the race first, whether it is being ridden by a jockey or not, is the winner.