The summer sun beats down on the tiles of Tuscany. Flags and banners sway in the breeze. Men and women garbed in the colours of their ward pageant around a city that looks a lot like a theatrical backdrop. Troupes and fanfares, jesters and damsels; the Palio is quite a spectacle. Twice a year in Siena, the city steps back in time and puts on one of the greatest shows on Earth. Ten horses, ten riders, one prize. And to get you in the mood, we’ve conjured up a unique Tuscan holiday combining new luxury retreat, Hotel Castello di Casole with quite literally, the best seats in the house so you can get closer to the action than you ever thought possible.
The best seat in the city
Siena heaves during the Palio. The streets swell with locals all vying for a glimpse of the gallop. In a tradition almost as old as the race itself, it’s only through straining the sinews like the winning steed that you’re guaranteed a peep of the action. Well, that’s usually the way things pan out. This time, things are going to be a little different. On the afternoon of the race, we’ll spirit you away from the hustle and bustle of the Piazza del Campo, taking you to an exclusive room overlooking ‘La mossa’ – the startline, to enjoy your private lookout. This is the climax of the festivities and where the drama of the Palio starts. Just below you, nine horses await bareback, their riders primed for action, hooves scuffing the earth until the tenth pair bolts through the line and the race begins. Three terrifying laps ensue, as passion boils and partisan locals goad their riders to victory.Read more
Make the most of your time in Siena and explore the duomo and the city’s marvellous piazze. Take in the Renaissance masterpieces of the Sienese School, sample exquisite Tuscan wine and soak up the atmosphere of this warm, convivial region. Then rev the engines – quite literally – of your Ferrari and head back to your luxury Tuscan bolthole, Hotel Castello di Casole.
King of the castle
Set amidst its own estate with vineyards and game reserve, this restored castle has been so beautifully and carefully renovated it’s virtually fit for a King or Queen. And it’ll be a treat for the eyes as well as the belly as you sink into sumptuous sheets and five course gourmet Italian meals. The Castle’s rich history dates back to the 10th century and makes for a truly unique backdrop to your Tuscan adventure. But the best way to really get a panoramic view of the beautiful surrounding rolling countryside, is to soar high above the hillside on a hot air balloon ride. Don’t forget to take a bottle of Castello di Casole’s private vintage label, made from the Estate’s 100 acres of vineyards, for a toast. Now you’ll truly be living La Dolce Vita.