The Palio was fantastic, our balcony seats were in a very good position and our hosts were very accommodating. We all enjoyed our experience immensely and are very glad that we made the effort to attend.
It was more than we hoped for. The Palio was amazing, dramatic and exciting! Our hotel was wonderful, the Contrada dinner was a fantastic experience, we got to see most of the trials for the Palio, and the balcony view was amazing, if not a little bit of a squash, but that did not detract in any way from the pleasure. Siena was beautiful and enchanting, we can't wait to be there again.
Thank you for your help in organizing this trip for me. It was my partner's 50th birthday present from me and he was overwhelmed by the whole experience. We absolutely loved it and have told so many friends about your company! They all wanted to know how I organised it......so I told them!!
I just want to tell you how pleased my family and I were with the banquet. I had never used In Italy Online before so I honestly didn't know what to expect. Our translator was wonderful, personable, helpful and a pleasure to be with, I believe her name was Claudia. Thank you for making our trip to Siena even more special.
Nicchio apartment was very spacious and so entirely livable. Just a very lovely and comfortable place to be. Going to the Palio is more of an overwhelming and comprehensive experience than I could have imagined. The event spans the whole town and the whole span of time before and after the event itself. It is so rich with tradition and nuance that it takes days to understand just the surface level of what the event means to the contrade and the various politics, intrigue, and race tactics--the program of events is robust and spectacular. In some ways it defies description. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is just a horse race. This is a broad experience that consumes you and it is not artificial for outsider's enjoyment. I would advise visitors to be very respectful and to appreciate the role of observer rather than expecting this to be a showcase for their benefit. Also, reading about the race before and the politics of each contrada, the history, and how the race and event actually happens will add so much to your enjoyment. Tourists that were there with no knowledge and wanting the best seats and for this be all about them, were obnoxious and disappointed. While visitors that were patient, inquisitive, and respectful had the most amazing world opened up to them. The food throughout Siena is unbelievable. If you trust the InItaly recommendations or follow the locals to busy restaurants, you can't go wrong. And the wines were the best I have ever had.
Before my trip to Italy I stumbled upon the InItaly web site. I was reticent to put so much trust into an agency that was just an online connection. I am pretty particular in my tastes and have traveled a lot so I can be easily disappointed if my experience is not authentic or in some way "cheesy". As I began to make inquiries with InItaly I found their feedback really candid and intelligent--my trust increased. They steered me away from some things when they could have easily just made a booking. On the basis of our emails I felt comfortable to book 2 apartments and two tours through InItaly, but still was slightly worried that I was entrusting a big part of the "success" of our trip with total strangers. Also, it was difficult to get reviews and recommendations online for their services except for the the quotes they themselves placed on their own site. Having now taken my vacation, I wanted to take the time to help others that are in my same place and say that everything InItaly promised was delivered as described and that their advice was correct across the board. I wasted a lot of time doing internet research before the trip because the materials they provided and advice they gave exceeded any guidebook, other internet information I found, and was only matched by conversations with locals once I was there. Thank you and great job InItaly!
Many thanks! A spectacular day at the Palio made all the better by your wonderful tips and material!!
I thought you might like some feedback on the day, so here goes!!
Firstly, Tortoise won comfortably from the front all the way and there were no injuries to horses or jockeys thankfully. Bruco did not run this time, so we carried their scarf for you and supported Istrice (Porcupine), although if I had seen the outrageous striped jockey uniform beforehand I might have changed my mind! The jockey looked as if he was on day release from prison - maybe he was!!
The start took 65 minutes after 3 false starts!! Something I was not prepared for - but it was absolutely fascinating. Our Istrice and Snail always seemed to enter first and Istrice constantly blocked and irritated Snail to great protestations for the whole hour, while the 10th horse Dragon circled and circled endlessly to the boos of the crowd. The race concluded about 8.50pm. Your notes on the preceding and absolutely stunning parade were fabulous!!
We had a lovely time cruising the shops, dropping into the Saraceni Accademia Musicale and spotting the little "happenings"going on everywhere. We scouted out the seats' location about 12.30 and had a lovely lunch at Il Carroccio. I found it amazing that it was so easy finding a table - I thought everything would be booked out, but not so. We loved the local lady who came in for lunch with her King Charles spaniel, who had his own seat and had his nose two inches from his owner's plate throughout her meal! I'm sure USA and Australian health authorities would have coronaries over this practice, but as a dog lover I thought it was fantastic. If I was a millionaire, I'd fly over with my red cloud kelpie, Toffee (Australian sheep dog) and buy her lunch at Il Carroccio!
The weather was with us (the past ten days had been thunderstorms every afternoon) and we continued to wander around enjoying the atmosphere and quiet coffee at a Nannini outlet in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti. The thunder clouds gathered at 3.30pm so we went straight to our seats, but happily, while there were amazing lightning flashes close by in an easterly direction, the rain stayed away from Siena.
I was again amazed at the ease of exiting the town - no queues anywhere and an easy drive back. A lot of very happy "tortoises" as we left the proceedings!!!
Thank you again for a wonderful day. When we returned late to our villa, we told or German neighbours about it and I said I could now die happily, having seen the Palio.
I wanted to thank you for all of your help in making our recent trip to Siena so fabulous. All of the logistics were perfect and we had an unbelievably great time. Thanks for everything-I've been sending your info to a bunch of people to whom I've been raving about the Palio. Can't wait to go again!
Robert G. B.
We had a wonderful time at the Palio and the family voted it one of best holidays ever. It was a family celebration of Margarita's 70th.
The only spoiler was the rain at the banquet on night before, but that comes with the territory. Half family waited it out rest returned home a little damp.
In any case we are appreciative of the very professional handling of the Palio event by you and your local team.
Everything went fine. Fortunately, the storms blew over and the Palio occurred as scheduled on July 2. Our host is a great guy! I wore the scarf of his contrata. We (the Snails) are mortal enemies of the Turtles, per his friend who sat behind me.
Thank you for making our trip to Italy very memorable!
Terrence S. W.
We had a great time. Palio was excellent, great views from balcony.
Although a little damp, we greatly enjoyed the banquet. Your agents there on the night were excellent. Can't thank Beatrice enough for her help.
Thanks for all your help, we've already recommended you to friends.
What a fantastic job you did for us regarding the PALIO. The whole experience was beyond belief! The seats were fabulous and we could see everything so perfectly. We loved the banquet on Monday night as well! We just fell in love with Beatrice....what an engaging gal she is. Your company is just the best and I will have no problem recommending you and your service to everyone!!! I plan to write an issue soon for ARTexpress on taking a family to Tuscany and you will be on top of my list. Many, many thanks for helping to make our experience in Italy amazing and wonderful.
With best regards and many thanks,
The Palio rehearsal dinner was a highlight of our vacation. We enjoyed wine, a five course meal, song, and speeches as we absorbed a great deal of palio history with our guides, Christina and Luana. We partied with the Unicorn contrada. The streets were lit up with contrade banners waving in the breeze. You could hear other contrada singing in various parts of the city; and you could feel the energy, anticipation and excitement building all over Siena as the evening progressed. A very memorable evening. Too bad "we" didn't win on race day.
I would like to thank your office for putting up with all our changes of plan - none of them originated by us I must say, but force of circumstances and family members - you must have dreaded yet another email from me !!! But all dealt with perfectly and no moaning, not that I could hear anyway.
We loved the whole experience. We found that being there 4 days before meant that we got swept up in the build up to the Palio itself. We were sneaking behind the bleachers for the first trials. Then found we were in the Campo for the allotting of the horses to the Contrada's. We then found ourselves at the first Prova, and witnessed the first punch up - very exciting. We heard drumming on the Sunday morning so followed it and found ourselves watching a marvellous display of drumming and flag waving. The Contrada Dinner with Eagle was amazing. On the day of the Palio we were at the church of Santa Caterina and there were the two flag wavers practicing with their drummer in shorts and T shirts, and to see that and then the actual parade in their full regalia, put it all into perspective. The Palio itself was wonderful and the build up quite spectacular. The only small problem was one of your clients who was determined to get his video footage come what may and had his arm and camera blocking the whole of the start of the race (25 minutes) and the only way I, and my neighbour could see it was to watch it on his monitor. Some people are a little selfish. He was not amenable to moving back so that others could see. But hey, he is the one with the problem.
Apart from that everything was brilliant.
Thank you In Italy Online, we will certainly use you again when we go back to Italy.
Just wanted to say thank you for helping me achieve my longstanding ambition of seeing the Palio. It was absolutely wonderful and the seats in the bleachers are perfect for a good view of the parade entry and the race. I would advise anyone to go for these seats rather than the balcony/window options, because you are surrounded by local people and the atmosphere is so wonderful. Unless you are frail or elderly, in which case you might find the bleachers rather uncomfortable.
One thing to note - you wisely put your US and UK guests in the higher rows of the bleachers. Wise, because the contradaioli like to leap on to the track when the race ends. A lady in our hotel, who booked through another organisation, had a front row seat in the bleachers. This was very exciting as she was so close to the action but she was used as a launchpad by several enthusiastic Senese as the race ended. They weren't being rude or nasty in any way, just high spirited, but the bruise on her shoulder was something. Your seat allocations ensured we could enjoy the race without getting in the way of the people to whom it truly belongs.
Another website I found said "So - you have just seen your first Palio and you already know you will come again." And I will.
Could I ask you, please, to pass on a Thank You to Beatrice if you are in contact with her at all. When we heard the Prova Generale had been cancelled, there was no information about the dinners. So I rang the first number on the voucher you sent me and was dealt with very kindly by Beatrice, even though she had stopped working for InItaly to look after her new baby. I rang Sara next, who was a lovely guide for us at Montone.
The rain - as I said to someone who was apologising for the weather - "Sono inglese - la pioggia e normale".
It was NEVER a race. Istrice broke ahead and was never challenged. Ram and Shell, being 'mortal enemies', unseated one another at the 'mattress' turn on the first lap. Curiously, the morning of the banquet, we had walked to Valdimontone (sp?) and the church, and that is the banquet that we attended. There were 1800 people and a 5-course dinner and it was VERY exciting. We sat with the three couples from Manchester, England who were on our balcony the next day. All told, there were 7 M.D.'s on that small balcony.
A wonderful trip with the 2 weeks in Siena. We had a lovely apartment on Sallustio Bandini and got to KNOW Siena.
Our trip was wonderful. Everthing went off without a hitch. Siena was beautiful. The Palio was spectacular. Our seats at the Palio were perfect. Our hosts at the Palio were gracious and they treated us as friends. We want to go back!
We had the most AMAZING experience! Could not have asked for a more wonderful night. Our guide was fabulous! Please feel free to share our name if you need US references.
Just wanted to drop you a note to say "thanks". The window we were in was perfect. Directly above where the parade was staged. The entire thing was beyond my wildest dreams. Thanks to all of you. Hotel Santa Caterina was as equally as great.
Thanks in large part to you and your wonderful services, we have just returned from a trip to Italy that included the 16 August Palio in Siena. It's an experience that completely defies literal translation!
Ed and Karol H.
We have returned from the Palio and I cannot describe the atmosphere and the excitement of the day. I cannot begin to thank you for the arrangements that your company made and the way that everything just slotted into place. When I first booked I was slightly unsure because I live in Jersey (UK) and your company is in USA. Everything was exactly as described on your website and when we arrived in Sienna your representatives were there. On the night before we attended the banquet and met many people who had also booked through your company and were as pleased as we were with the service received. The tickets for the day were perfect we had a wonderful view of the Palio and were able to join in the activities and the celebrations. I have mentioned your Company to all our friends and recommended you to everyone we have told about our magical time in Siena. Once again many many thanks to you and your team for arranging a truly wonderful time for us in Siena.
Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip to Italy. Every hotel and tour that we booked through you was a fantastic choice. We were constantly amazed at the hotels and how nice they were as well as convenient. We loved everything. One of the high lights was the Palio in Siena. The seats that you got for us were amazing. They were in a great location and the Palio and the dinner with the contrada the night before was a memory that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. It was more than we expected and worth every penny that we paid. I thought the bleachers were the better choice after being there as we felt that we were truly part of the action. The location of them meant that we had an easy entrance and exit. This was really great as the crush from the people in the middle must have taken hours to get out of. We also REALLY enjoyed our wine tasting lesson at Palazzo Bandino. I thought that it was a little pricy when I first signed up for it but it was so worth it. It was truly enlightening and the wines we tasted were all superb. Marta and Gabriele do an amazing job. The highlight was the amazing lunch after the tasting. We were able to pair the wines with the food. It was one of the best meals in Italy. I highly recommend this experience and understand why you recommended it to us so highly. It was an awesome vacation and I could not have done it without your help. I will highly recommend InItaly to any one. You have an amazing web site and my contact with the staff was nothing but helpful and pleasant. Every wonderful experience was because of InItaly. Thank you so very much. We will most definitely use you again as we totally fell in love with Italy.
I just wanted to thank you very much indeed for all your help in getting Jon and myself to the Palio in Siena a couple of weeks ago. We had an absolutely marvellous time! Sarah, the translator, was lovely and explained the Contrada banquet to us, and Domenico looked after us so well during the race. And all the information you supplied on the parade and those taking part was invaluable; we were able to follow everything that was going on, which really brought it all to life.
We have wonderful memories of an amazing experience. Thank you again for your hard work, support, help and expertise. We want to do it all again some time (particularly today, as it's grey and miserable in England!), and will definitely be recommending your website and services to friends and family.
Thank you again - you have been terrific.
A little late I know, but just wanted to say thanks for arranging the tickets for me for the August Palio. It was a fantastic event made even more memorable by having such a great view to all of the proceedings. Probably the best seats in the house so to speak, we managed to get loads of great photos and the atmosphere there amongst all of the locals was truly spectacular. I'd booked the holiday as a surprise for my partner's 30 th, we've been home for nearly 2 months and he's still telling everyone all about it!
Thanks again, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending you to friends and family in the future.
We had a great time; the Palio day itself, and the banquet on the previous night, were completely problem free. It was fantastic to have a window to ourselves on such a good spot overlooking the Campo. We really appreciate all your help.
Best holiday in years...and we will definitely be back!
This was our 4th trip to Italy in four years. It was a spectacular trip. The Palio was truly a life time experience. The hosts you arranged were very accommodating and just as excited about the race as the rest of us. The view from the balcony was excellent. As you know, we were right above the staging area for all of the pre-race shows. I would definitely do it again. I did bring one bottle of wine to the apartment and was unsure about that. Next time I will bring more. The apartment owners did not mind at all.
We had a perfectly lovely time in Siena with one major exception...our Eagle ( Acquila) horse came in second!!! We enjoyed our dinner with the "Eagles" the evening before and our guides/translators were really wonderful. The balcony seats were superb and I thank you for all of it! I hope that you will help me again when we return...and we will!!!!!!!!! The Palio, with your help, was so much fun!
Our thanks, our best wishes!!
We had a wonderful time, our seats were perfect and we met some very nice people. I had the misfortune of having Chianti pour over me from the above balcony, but the people apologized and were very sorry. They offered to pay for my shirt which was white of course. I declined then they brought me a bottle of wine which I shared with my new friends. The Palio was fantastic and an experience which we will never forget. Thanks for doing such a great job.
Frank and Lori N.
I should have emailed you when we got back from Italy, but unfortunately just got caught with things.
I wanted to email you to say how absolutely fantastic il Palio was - we had such a wonderful time, and the balcony position couldn't have been better - being able to see the parade lining up to come into il Campo and almost being able to touch some of the headdresses/flags etc. - honestly words can't how describe how wonderfully special everything was. And I just wanted to thank you so very, very much for your help in organising it for us - I had always wanted to go and just didn't know how to get tickets and you and your company really made a special wish come true!
Many thanks again.
With kind regards,