With long sunny days and beautiful scenery, a trip to Tuscany is magical at any time of year. In the summer months, the area comes alive with tourists searching for a slice of the area’s incredible culinary scene, historic cities and picturesque villages, art, culture and so much more. Founder Susie Marquis recommends her hidden gems, as well as a special offer on the highly popular Palio race in Siena…
If you are planning a holiday in Tuscany in early July or mid-August, you may also be tempted by a very special offer from the owner of one of our beautiful villas to rent in the Chianti countryside, Villa Fonterutoli. This exclusive offer includes tickets (priced at €1700 per person) to view the annual Palio race on 2nd July, or 16th August, from a stunning 13th-century palace overlooking the historic Piazza del Campo square. One of the most well-known summer events in Tuscany, the origins of the Palio go back as far as the 11th century, when it was first launched to celebrate Saint Mary of the Assumption as protectress of the city, at the time of its conflicts with the Florentines.  
The number of seats available in this offer are limited to 15, all with comfortable seating, and a maximum of 5 people per window overlooking the piazza. Guests will also enjoy a gourmet 4-course meal (served as a buffet) including an aperitivo, and organic wines. Moreover, an art historian guide is also available to share the rich cultural heritage and history of the Palio di Siena, which dates back to 1482. Watching the Palio from the central part of the Piazza del Campo is only standing space, so a Palio ticket with such a great view and meal will definitely be a very special experience.
The actual race takes place around the magnificent Piazza del Campo, and the racers represent the 17 contrade (areas in which the city is divided) with its own unique emblem and colours. The Palio takes place over four days with the actual race taking place on the 4th day. Ten out of the 17 contrade take part in each race: seven of them being those that did not participate in the previous race, while the other three are drawn by lots. Each of the contrade picks their jockey, but not the horse which is also drawn by lots.
The course of the Palio was formally established in 1659 and has been held semi-annually on the 2nd of July and on the 16th of August since 1701, except during wartimes. Lasting about a minute, the race consists of three turns around the Piazza del Campo, the main city square. The Palio does not take place if it’s raining (a green flag is put on the front of the Palazzo Pubblico) but the race will run the following day, weather conditions permitting. The starting time is 7:30pm in July and at 7pm in August, but can be later if the lining up of the horses at the starting line or “Mossa” are delayed or if there are false starts.The Palio is a huge Italian tradition that lasts a total of four days, from the warm-ups on the morning of 29th of June until the races on 2nd July (Palio della Madonna di Provenzano) and again from 13th – 16th August for the next Palio. Both races are preceded by a historic procession.If you want to take advantage of such an offer to enjoy this historic event, please let us know as soon as possible!  It is not mandatory to stay at Villa Fonterutoli.
Other Recommended Chianti villas within an easy drive of Siena:Villa del Sole 6 bedrooms, 12 guestsFound just 30 minutes south of Florence, this traditional villa has been recently renovated and offers complete relaxation in the Chianti countryside. With a large swimming pool, heated jacuzzi and spa area, relax with picturesque views and a glass of local wine as the sun sets.
Villa Casole d’Elsa 6 bedrooms, 14 guestsWith 360 degree views across the Tuscan countryside, Villa Casole d’Elsa is 30kms from Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, with Florence around an hour’s drive away. Close to many wineries and traditional restaurants, immerse yourself in Italian life at this luxury villa. Previously featured in various magazines, including Elle Décor and Côté Sud, guests can relax by the infinity pool or underneath the vine-covered pergola.
Villa Montaione 5 bedrooms, 10 guestsPerfectly located in the centre of the golden triangle between Pisa, Siena and Florence, is a luxury Tuscan villa rental with terracotta floors and wooden beam ceilings. It has all the comforts of modern living combined with the charm of the stone fireplace, handmade furniture and views of impressive landscapes. Taste and learn about locally produced Tuscan wines in the villa’s wine cellar, or visit the nearby 27-hole golf course.
Panzano Estate 3 villas on the estate, 4 – 18 bedrooms, 8 – 40 guestsThe Panzano Estate luxury villas to rent in Tuscany is a large estate of 20 acres, with three beautiful villas which can be rented either separately or together for a large group. Each of the luxury villa rentals in Tuscany benefits from beautiful views over the Chianti hills and vineyards, and each has its own garden space and swimming pool (either indoor or outdoor). The estate sits on a hillside just 900m from the medieval town of Panzano, and when rented together, it is an ideal property for a holiday or special event for an extended family or large group of friends, of up to 36 – 40 guests.
Villa Spicciano 6 bedrooms, 12 guests Recently restored throughout, Villa Spicciano can be found halfway between Florence and Siena, and is a wonderful base from which to explore the Chianti region. Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca are all less than a one-hour drive from the property. Moreover, this luxury villa has a pool and jacuzzi, where guests can relax during the hot summer days.
Ready to explore all that Tuscany has to offer? From city stays to countryside villas, click below to book a stay at one of Tuscany’s magical areas:Florence, Lucca, Siena and the Tuscan countrysideStay ahead of the pack by receiving updates on an array of international luxury villas and apartments, chic new properties and our impressive selection of enticing travel itineraries. Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter here.