Horseracing is the sport of kings, so it’s only fitting that a privileged few (just 20, to be exact) should get the royal treatment by attending Italy’s most luxurious and greatest horse race. Your vantage point for the legendary Palio di Siena in Tuscany? The private balcony of an ideally located appartamento overlooking the sardine-packed crowds gathered for the thrilling Palio dell’Assunta main event on August 16, plus three full days of celebrations, pageantry, insider access, and catered feasts in honor of the historic race.
Since the 14th century, the Palio of Siena—Tuscany’s famously beautiful hill town—has been one of Italy’s greatest annual events. It has attracted crowds from around the world for three days of processions, music, feasting and breathtaking bareback horse races around Siena’s fan-shaped main square Piazza del Campo, AKA “Il Campo.”
And there’s only one way to be there in high style. A very limited number of VIP Palio tickets are available from Il Campo/Cucina for an exclusive three-day package. The August 14–16, 2014 event includes exceptional views and comforts for all three “Prove” trial runs leading up to the final race, three escorted sightseeing days including private tours of Siena and a Contrada museum, a private invitation to the Blessing of the Horse, a viewing of the Children’s Candlelight Procession to the Duomo, admission to the Contrada museum (contradas are Siena's 17 neighborhoods, each of which vies to win the palio), and a reserved ticket to the grand parade and palio race.
It’s organized by Marlane Agriesti Miriello, the founding director of the Il Campo/Cucina Cooking School in nearby Radicondoli, which explains why the food and drink she provides her guests is exceptional. The feasting includes group lunches in city trattorias, catered dinners with wines and views of the Piazza del Campo, and a uniquely memorable al fresco dinner banquet cooked and served by contrada members. “Excitement will be in the air,” says the charming Miriello. “We will dine with a contrada that is running in the race, so there is a lot of singing and fanfare until at least midnight, making it a very special night.”
For those with time restrictions who’d prefer to view just one day’s action, Il Campo/Cucina can also provide limited one-day tickets to the individual viewings of the Prove and Palio.