Palio 2012

Because of my connections in Tuscany, 10 guests will be able to watch the 2012 Palio from the fourth floor in a luxury flat overlooking the Piazza del Campo. With unobstructed views across the entire square we will be sipping vintage Champagne whilst the horses assemble. During the race we will be able to hear every cry and watch every rider as they struggle to the finish line. This will be my fifth Palio and I can assure you that nothing else even comes close.  It really is an experience of a lifetime.

Considerably upgraded from 2011, here is the incomparable itinerary for the Palio 2012:

Day 1: Saturday June 30th

  • Pick up from Rome, Florence or Pisa (please arrive no later than 15:00 and inform me of your flight or hotel details).
  • Transport to Castello di Bossi for our first gala dinner.  Dinner will be preceded by a tasting and introduction to the wines from the region followed by some optional blind tasting (just for fun).  Roast boar and venison will be accompanied by a selection of fine wines including many from my cellar.

Day 2: Sunday July 1st

  • After a leisurely breakfast at the castle I will host an introduction to wine tasting followed by a full range tasting of the Bossi portfolio including barrel samples.  This is an essential part of what I do before selecting the wines that will eventually find their way onto our list.
  • We’ll depart late morning to visit the unique Tuscan terroir. For Sangiovese fans this is a real treat and you will be guided through the wines of two leading estates and leave with a deep understanding of one of Italy’s finest red grapes.
  • We’ll have a late lunch at Renieri, an hour’s drive south in the heart of Brunello country where we can walk through the vineyards, visit the winery, and gain insight into what makes this one of the world’s most sought-after wines.
  • Depending on time we can stop at a local producer of Panforte or we may have time to enjoy the last rays of sunshine by the pool - a short walk from Bossi - before it will be dinner time once again. We’ll need an early night but the grappa is exceptional . . . .

Day 3: Monday July 2nd

  • The big day!  After breakfast we will drive straight to Siena.  A few words about the apartment:  we will have it for the whole day; it is not rented for the Palio, it is owned by Castello di Bossi.  You are free to use it as you like.  You can relax in the cool sitting room, enjoy our Cristal Brunch, view the preparations for the race, or stroll around Siena to experience the atmosphere of palpably mounting excitement.  There’s nothing like Siena on the day of the Palio for sheer tension.
  • Mark Powell will be on hand for guided walks and at 13:00 will recount the history of the Palio.  This is another real privilege; Mark is a compelling storyteller who deftly weaves judicious amounts of both the seemingly banal and the obviously crucial to create a gripping historical narrative.  Mark’s a bit of a character and his presence will add immeasurably to our enjoyment.
  • After the 70 seconds of the Palio are over we’ll head back to Castello di Bossi for one final night of feasting.

Day 4: Tuesday July 3rd

  • Departures after our farewell breakfast.  Please book flights after 12:00.
Places available: 10
Price per person: £3750

Those of you who have travelled with me before will know that the price includes absolutely everything once you land in Italy. If you have any special requests let me know.  This will be the trip of a lifetime.

The Fine Print

  • The tour costs £3750 per person. This is payable in advance and is non-refundable but is transferable.
  • It does not include travel to Italy but includes everything else from the moment you land including all transportation, accommodation, food and extremely fine wines.
  • The tour is limited to five couples.
  • Unless you’ve stood holding your father’s hand in Anfield whilst he taught you the words to ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ you’ll never be able to understand what it means to support Liverpool.  Unless you’ve grown up an ‘Owl’ or a ‘Tortoise’ you’ll never understand what the Palio means to your contrada.  The bitter rivalries built up through the centuries cannot be explained in a day, a week, or even a lifetime.  They need to be in your blood.  As an outsider, the most we can hope to do is to observe the all-consuming passion that is the Palio.  The rituals can be explained but their significance to the Sienese remains something deeply personal.
  • Castello di Bossi is not a 5* hotel.  In fact, it’s not a hotel at all but someone’s private home.  Please don’t expect laundry service and a concierge.
  • Very rarely the Palio is cancelled due to inclement weather (once in 300 years). In this case the itinerary for Day Three will continue as planned but without the Palio. Inclement weather will be deemed force majeure and no refund will be offered.