Mark not only the 16th of August 2014 in your agenda of things to do in Tuscany, but also the run-up to the 16th from the 13th onwards! We are talking about the annual ‘il Palio dell’Assunta’ in honour of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven, which is the second horse race of il Palio (the first having been held on 2 July) at the Piazza del Campo in Siena. The main race starts at 19:00 on 16th with the trial runs being held on the days prior to that, In case of rain, the race will be postponed to the following day and a green flag will be hoisted on Palazzo Pubblico. More detailed historical information on il Palio can be found on Wikipedia.
So this event is free unless you wish to pay to see it from the balcony of a building located in the Piazza. For that there is no official co-ordinated point of sale so you will need to surf the web or contact the owners of the buildings overlooking the Piazza. Please be prepared for crowds (not suitable for small children) and to stand up as it is prohibited to bring a fold-up chair or a stool (for obvious reasons). There are some stalls selling refreshments, but alas there are no toilets!
Come prepared for an action-packed day: brimming with atmosphere, passion and commotion! Start your holiday by staying in a beautiful apartment by the sea in Piombino (Marina di Salivoli) where the distance to Siena is approximately 2 hours by car – very doable.