The Palio di Siena
The Palio di Siena is a horse race that is held twice each year, on 2 July (honouring the Madonna of Provenzano) and 16 August (honouring the Assumption of Mary), in Siena, Italy.
Dating back to the 6th century, the Palio is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of ongoing rivalry between the contrade (districts in which Siena is divided). The race is made up of jockeys representing 17 different contrade, including: Eagle, Snail, Wave, Panther, Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell, Tower, Ram, Caterpillar, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf, Goose. Each Contrada has its own unique emblem and colors. Walking around Siena, it becomes clear which Contrada you are in.
To capture the excitement unfolding, it’s a good idea to arrive at least 5 days before race day. A pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.
The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid. The horses must run three laps around the Campo, overcoming dangerous points such as the very narrow curve of San Martino where collisions between the wall and horses have led to many falls. The first horse that crosses the finish line, even if it arrives without his jockey, wins the race. Despite all pomp and ceremony, the race usually lasts no more than 90 seconds.
Palio di Siena Film Permits
Piazza del Campo is set up for the Palio a week before the event, and takes about a week after the event to wrap and get the location back to its original state.
It is not possible to film the offical race or the historical parade. The image rights belong to the municipality of Siena and to the Consorzio. The Rai italian television has the priority. If you need footage of the official race and parade then you need to buy that from the copyright owners.
You are allowed to film footage of the race training and shots of the general area. Permission must be requested, with plenty of lead time, from the Consorzio Tutela Palio di Siena.
Film in Siena
If you are not bringing in your own team and equipment, film crew and camera, grip and lighting gear can be easily brought in from Milan or Rome.
Our Siena based fixer arranges all film permits for productions looking to shoot the Palio di Siena.
Contact us if you are looking for a shooting crew, producer or film fixer for the Palio di Siena or any or any other filming in Siena, Italy.
Images courtesy of Lino Ruggiero.