Disclaimer: in 2013, my boyfriend and I went to Tuscany for a week, where we wanted to explore the landscape by means of a Vespa. We were given four day trips (no GPS involved, just regular drawn instructions, which meant I gave the directions and the boyfriend drove the Vespa), all of which started in the centre of San Gimignano, where we stayed at a hotel nearby.
We left for Siena early, to have a good look around and leave for Milan, where we would stay the night. Little did we know, the palio was planned for the 16th of August. I loved it!
The palio is a race on horseback between the 17 still-existing districts of Siena (6 have already disappeared, for one reason or another). It can be deadly and both jockeys and horses are venerated by the districts. The day of the palio, the districts all show off their champion for that day, in medieval costume and lots of fanfare. Drums are drummed, people drum as well and il campo is set off for the race. A wonderful thing to experience!
We made haste and climbed the Torre di Maggio, watched in awe how the Duomo stays unbelievably beautiful (even after all this time) and confirmed to ourselves once again that Siena is a place worth visiting often.
We left for Milan, had to wait in line for over an hour at the toll booth for no reason that we know of and slept the sleep of the dead. Many prayers of thanks go to the lovely people who helped us out in that traffic jam, even though they technically had no reason to. Thanks!