Category Archives: Blog

Unveiling El Chaltén: Nature’s Masterpiece in Argentina

Nestled in the Patagonian region, El Chaltén is a haven for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone seeking tranquility amidst stunning landscapes.  Known as the trekking capital of Argentina, El Chaltén is surrounded by majestic peaks, pristine lakes, and vast stretches of untouched wilderness. The iconic Mount Fitz Roy dominates the skyline and offers an awe-inspiring backdrop for outdoor adventures.

This unique destination, nestled within Los Glaciares National Park, is the epitome of “Off-the-Beaten” path with an estimated population of around 1500 people.  From Buenos Aires, Argentina you’ll take a 3 hour flight to El Calafate, followed by a 2.5 hour drive to El Chalten.

The main street of El Chaltén is a charming and picturesque thoroughfare that serves as the heart of this small Patagonian village. Despite its modest size, it exudes a vibrant energy and laid-back atmosphere that perfectly reflects the spirit of the surrounding wilderness.

Lined with cozy cafes, rustic restaurants, and colorful shops, the main street invites visitors to wander leisurely and soak in the local culture.  It serves as a nexus of activity and a gathering place for adventurers from all corners of the globe. Whether it’s sharing stories over a pint of local craft beer or simply taking in the breathtaking views, there’s a sense of camaraderie and exploration that infuses every corner of this vibrant village.

Where to eat a casual meal?

La Tapera

La Tapera in El Chaltén, Argentina, is a must-visit dining spot for several compelling reasons. Firstly, it offers a true taste of Argentina with a menu featuring classic dishes such including grilled meats, soups, salads, and homemade pastas. The use of locally sourced ingredients ensures freshness and authenticity in every bite.

The restaurant boasts a warm and inviting ambiance, perfect for relaxing after a day of trekking and exploring the stunning natural beauty of El Chaltén. The rustic décor and friendly staff contribute to a homely and welcoming experience. The chefs at La Tapera are skilled in bringing out the best in traditional Argentine recipes, making each meal a memorable culinary experience.

Additionally, La Tapera offers a selection of excellent local wines, allowing diners to enjoy a well-rounded Argentine dining experience. The staff is knowledgeable and can recommend the perfect wine pairing for your meal. Its reputation for delicious food and excellent service makes it a standout dining option.

Overall, eating at La Tapera provides a wonderful opportunity to indulge in delicious Argentine cuisine within a charming and comfortable setting, enhancing your visit to the beautiful region of El Chaltén.

Thirsty for a great beer after your hike?

La Cervecería Chaltén

Look no further than La Cervecería Chaltén. The brewery is renowned for its high-quality craft beers, which are brewed on-site using pristine Patagonian water and locally sourced ingredients. Each beer is crafted with care, resulting in a variety of unique and flavorful brews that cater to a range of palates.

The ambiance of La Cervecería Chaltén adds to the appeal, making it a perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring the breathtaking landscapes of El Chaltén. The cozy interior, adorned with rustic wooden accents and warm lighting, creates a welcoming atmosphere where visitors can relax and enjoy their drinks. Additionally, the outdoor seating area provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Patagonia while savoring their beer.

Whether you’re winding down after a hike, meeting up with friends, or simply looking to enjoy a quality beer in a beautiful setting, La Cervecería Chaltén provides an unforgettable experience that celebrates the best of Patagonian craft brewing.

Looking for a great hike near El Chaltén?

Laguna de los Tres

One of the best hikes near El Chaltén is the trail to Laguna de los Tres. This iconic hike offers breathtaking views and a rewarding challenge, making it a must-do for anyone visiting the region. The hike begins just outside El Chaltén and takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in Patagonia.

The trail to Laguna de los Tres is approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) round trip and typically takes around 8 to 10 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the amount of time you spend at the viewpoints. The path is well-marked and varies in difficulty, with moderate sections interspersed with more strenuous climbs.

Starting from El Chaltén, the trail winds through a beautiful lenga forest, offering shade and a chance to spot local wildlife. As you ascend, you’ll cross streams and pass through open meadows, with the majestic peaks of the Fitz Roy massif coming into view. The scenery is awe-inspiring, with towering granite spires and glacial valleys creating a dramatic backdrop.

One of the highlights of the hike is the viewpoint at Laguna Capri, approximately halfway to Laguna de los Tres. This serene lake provides a stunning reflection of Mount Fitz Roy on calm days and is a perfect spot for a rest and a picnic. From here, the trail becomes steeper and more challenging as you approach the final ascent.

Hiking in Patagonia

The last kilometer is the most demanding part of the hike, involving a steep climb over rocky terrain. However, the effort is well worth it. At the top, you are rewarded with panoramic views of Laguna de los Tres, a turquoise glacial lake nestled at the base of Mount Fitz Roy. The sight of the jagged peaks towering above the pristine waters is truly breathtaking and offers one of the most iconic views in Patagonia.

The hike to Laguna de los Tres is not only about reaching the stunning destination but also about enjoying the diverse and beautiful landscapes along the way. Whether you are an experienced hiker or an enthusiastic beginner, this trail provides an unforgettable experience and a chance to connect with the raw beauty of Argentine Patagonia.

Interested in watching a movie with a connection to El Chaltén?

“The Alpinist” (2021)

“The Alpinist” is a documentary film that explores the life and extraordinary climbing achievements of Marc-André Leclerc, a young Canadian alpinist known for his daring solo ascents of some of the world’s most challenging mountains. Directed by Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen, the film provides an intimate look at Leclerc’s philosophy, his minimalist approach to climbing, and his remarkable feats in the mountains.

The film highlights Leclerc’s passion for alpinism and his commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the sport. It showcases his ascents in various locations, including Patagonia, where El Chaltén is situated. Patagonia, with its dramatic landscapes and formidable peaks, is a region that attracts some of the most skilled climbers in the world.

El Chaltén is surrounded by some of the most iconic and challenging climbing destinations, such as Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. These peaks are renowned in the climbing community for their technical difficulty, unpredictable weather, and stunning beauty.

Marc-André Leclerc’s connection to El Chaltén is significant because he completed solo ascents of some of these challenging peaks. His climbs in the area exemplify his exceptional skill, courage, and dedication to the purest form of alpinism—climbing alone, without ropes or support.

“The Alpinist” showcases Leclerc’s solo ascent of Torre Egger, one of the peaks in the Cerro Torre massif near El Chaltén. This achievement underscores the extreme risks and profound solitude associated with his climbing style. The film captures the essence of what makes El Chaltén and its surrounding peaks a mecca for climbers: the raw, untamed beauty of Patagonia and the allure of conquering some of the world’s most formidable mountains.

In summary, “The Alpinist” is not only a tribute to Marc-André Leclerc’s incredible talent and spirit but also a testament to the allure and challenge of the Patagonian peaks around El Chaltén. The film beautifully illustrates why this region holds a special place in the hearts of adventurers and climbers worldwide.

Looking Explore El Chaltén?

7-Day Trip – Hiking Patagonia – The Land at the End of the World

If you’re looking to explorer El Chaltén and Patagonia then join Go Get Lost as we explore one of the most magnificent natural areas on the planet, the mythical Patagonia region at the tip of South America. It’s on every hiker’s bucket list, over 400,000 square miles of sparsely populated wilderness between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with undulating steppes, forests, deserts, lakes, rivers, fjords, the Andes mountains and over 350 glaciers, many of which are still growing! We’ll base ourselves in Argentina, in two of the best towns for exploring the region. Each day will be filled with exciting adventures amid the trails and peaks of this vast and beautiful area…and each evening will be spent at a cozy and relaxing hotel, drinking in the local ambiance and dining on fine Argentinian cuisine.

You can find more information on our 7-Day tour of Patagonia here:

Hiking in Cinque Terre: A Complete Guide to Italy’s Coastal Trails

Nestled along the rugged coastline of the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is a hiker’s paradise, known for its breathtaking views, vibrant villages, and the azure blue of the Ligurian Sea. This UNESCO World Heritage site comprises five historic villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Hiking in Cinque Terre is not just a physical journey but a cultural and sensory experience. This guide will take you through everything you need to know to make your hiking adventure unforgettable.

Understanding the Trails of Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre boasts a network of trails that connect each of the five villages. The most famous path, Sentiero Azzurro, or the Blue Trail, is a 12-kilometer route that links all five villages and offers stunning coastal views. However, there are numerous other trails, each varying in difficulty and scenery.

Featured Tour – Italian Riviera & Cinque Terre Exploring Tour

The Blue Trail (Sentiero Azzurro)

This trail is divided into four sections, each connecting two villages. The entire path can take about 5 hours to complete, but many choose to hike it in sections. The trail can be steep and narrow in places, but it is well-maintained and the most popular among tourists.

The Red Trails

For those seeking a more challenging hike, the Red Trails ascend into the hills and vineyards above the villages, offering panoramic views and a quieter experience. These trails are less crowded and more rugged, providing a more strenuous workout.

The Green Trails

These paths wander through the olive groves and terraced fields between the villages and are ideal for those looking for a more leisurely hike with plenty of opportunities to taste the local produce.

Preparing for Your Hike in Cinque Terre

Best Time to Visit

The best time for hiking in Cinque Terre is from late spring to early fall, with April, May, and September being the ideal months. The weather is mild, and the summer crowds have yet to arrive or have just left.

What to Bring

Pack light but don’t forget essentials such as water, sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes with good grip. The trails can be rocky and uneven, so sturdy footwear is a must. A camera is also essential; you’ll want to capture the stunning views and colorful villages.

Trail Passes

Some sections of the trails require a Cinque Terre Card, which includes access to all the footpaths and trains connecting the villages. These can be purchased at the train stations or tourist offices in any of the five villages.

The Hiking Experience

Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza

This is one of the most challenging sections of the Blue Trail, with a steep ascent and descent. However, the views of the terraced vineyards and the sea are spectacular. Vernazza, with its natural harbor and medieval tower, is a rewarding sight after the hike.

Vernazza to Corniglia

Continuing on the Blue Trail, this section is slightly easier and takes you through olive groves with magnificent views of the coastline. Corniglia, the only village not directly by the sea, sits atop a promontory with panoramic views.

Corniglia to Manarola

This section is currently closed due to landslides, but alternative routes through the vineyards offer a serene detour. Manarola is known for its picturesque harbor and colorful houses that seem to rise from the sea.

Manarola to Riomaggiore

Known as the Via dell’Amore, or Lover’s Lane, this is the easiest and most famous section of the trail. It’s a flat, paved path that offers romantic views of the coastline. Riomaggiore, with its steep streets and high-perched houses, is a vibrant end to the trail.

Want more Italian Hiking Destinations? Check out some of our small group Italy Hiking Tours.

After the Hike

After a day of hiking, indulge in the local cuisine. Cinque Terre is famous for its fresh seafood, pesto, and Sciacchetrà wine. Each village has a variety of restaurants and cafes where you can relax and enjoy the local flavors.

Staying Overnight

If you decide to spread your hike over several days, there are numerous accommodations available, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses. Staying overnight in the villages allows you to experience the tranquil beauty of Cinque Terre after the day-trippers have left.

End of the Trail

Hiking in Cinque Terre is an experience that combines natural beauty, exercise, and cultural immersion. The trails offer something for everyone, from casual walkers to serious hikers, and the reward is some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world. Prepare well, respect the environment, and immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of Cinque Terre. Buon viaggio!

Is Travel Insurance Worth It? 6 Reasons You Should Consider

Traveling is one of life’s most enriching experiences. Exploring new destinations, immersing yourself in different cultures, and creating lasting memories are all part of the adventure. However, amidst the excitement and anticipation of your next trip, it’s easy to overlook an essential aspect of travel planning: obtaining quality travel insurance.

In over 25 years Go Get Lost has been in business, we’ve seen many, many cases where people were either thankful or were kicking themselves because they didn’t.

Two of the most common scenarios we often see that prevent a person from traveling is a death in the family or an injury/medical condition that arises prior to their trip.  For most travelers, they have a significant investment in non-refundable expenses, such as deposits, airline flights, hotels, etc.  Because the expenses are non-refundable, without travel insurance, these expenditures are simply lost.  For a couple, it’s not uncommon for the amount to exceed $10,000 – $15,000. 

Not only have we seen things happen before the tour, but we also have seen them happen while on the tour.  It can be something as simple as a broken ankle, or something more serious such as a brain injury.  This is why travel insurance not only helps before the trip, but helps after the trip has started, providing medical coverage while you’re away.

In this article, we’ll explore why travel insurance is vital and discuss important factors to consider when selecting the right policy for your journey.

Why is Travel Insurance Important?

Protection Against Unexpected Events

While no one likes to dwell on the negative aspects of travel, the truth is that unexpected events can and do happen. Travel insurance is your safety net when things go wrong. It can provide coverage for a wide range of unforeseen situations, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, and even natural disasters. Without insurance, you might find yourself in a difficult and expensive situation that could have been easily avoided.

Peace of Mind

Travel can be stressful, and knowing that you have a financial safety net in place can provide peace of mind. With the right insurance policy, you can enjoy your trip without constantly worrying about potential mishaps. Whether it’s a minor illness or a major travel disruption, you’ll have the assurance that you’re financially protected.

Medical Coverage Abroad

Your health should be a top priority when traveling. International medical bills can be exorbitant, and in some countries, healthcare may not be readily available. Travel insurance often includes coverage for medical emergencies, ensuring that you receive the necessary treatment without incurring overwhelming expenses. This is especially important if you have pre-existing medical conditions or require specific medications.  One thing Go Get Lost always includes when quoting travel insurance is “Hospital of Choice”.  Essentially this is an inexpensive upgrade that helps you get to your hospital of choice, rather than the “nearest adequate medical facility”.  When traveling internationally, it’s important to consider where a medically necessary procedure might take place.  For us, we want the choice of returning to the United States if any critical medical procedure needs to be done.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unforeseen circumstances. Travel insurance can help you recover non-refundable expenses, such as plane tickets, hotel reservations, and tour bookings. Whether it’s a family emergency, illness, or a job-related issue, having insurance in place allows you to reschedule or recoup your losses.

Coverage for Lost or Stolen Belongings

Losing your luggage or having valuable items stolen can quickly turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Travel insurance can cover the cost of replacing lost or stolen belongings, including passports, cameras, and electronics. This coverage can be a lifesaver when you’re far from home.

Medicare Coverage Outside the United States

In most situations, Medicare won’t pay for health care or supplies you get outside the U.S. The term “outside the U.S.” means anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.  If you are on Medicare and are traveling outside the United States, you essentially have no coverage unless you have additional insurance beyond the base Medicare coverage.

See Our Other Travel Guides >>

What to Consider When Purchasing Travel Insurance

1. Trip Details

Before you purchase travel insurance, it’s essential to know the specifics of your trip. Consider the destination, duration, and activities you have planned. Some policies are tailored for specific types of travel, such as adventure sports or international cruises. Make sure your policy matches your trip’s characteristics.

2. Coverage Options

There are various types of travel insurance coverage available. Common options include trip cancellation/interruption, medical, baggage loss, and emergency evacuation coverage. Review the inclusions and exclusions of each policy to ensure it meets your needs.

3. Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have pre-existing medical conditions, be sure to disclose them when purchasing travel insurance. Some policies may exclude coverage for these conditions, while others may offer coverage with certain conditions. Be transparent about your health to avoid any issues when making a claim.  Also, it’s not uncommon for travel insurance providers to have timelines on when you purchase your insurance to get Pre-Existing Medical Condition coverage.  For example, some insurance providers require you to purchase your insurance within 15 days of purchasing your trip and any additional add-ons.  Remember, this pre-existing conditions coverage often applies to those around you that could prevent you from traveling, for example, when a family member passes away from a pre-exiting medical condition.

4. Policy Limits and Deductibles

Understand the policy’s limits and deductibles. These are the maximum amounts the insurance company will pay out and the amount you need to cover before the insurance kicks in. Ensure these limits are sufficient to cover your potential expenses.

5. Compare Policies

Don’t settle for the first travel insurance policy you come across. Shop around, compare different policies, and read reviews to find the best coverage for your needs. Consider factors such as the reputation of the insurance company, customer service, and the ease of filing claims.

6. Covered Reasons

Make sure you understand the “covered reasons”.  These reasons guide you on when and when you are not eligible to file a claim.  It’s the “why” when making a claim.  For example, a death of a parent, loss of job, death of a travel companion.  It’s critical to understand the various covered reasons of your plan and whether or not the likely reasons you might cancel are covered.  If a likely reason is not covered, you may consider a “Cancel For Any Reason” policy.  These policies give you the most flexibility when cancelling, but also come with the highest price.  In addition, many “cancel for any reason” policies do NOT cover the full amount of what you have paid, so pay special attention to coverages.

7. Travel Insurance Providers

Choose a reputable and well-established insurance provider. Read customer reviews and check their financial stability to ensure they can fulfill their commitments in case you need to make a claim.

Purchasing travel insurance is an essential aspect of responsible travel planning. It provides peace of mind, protects you from unforeseen events, and ensures that you can enjoy your journey without financial worries. Before embarking on your next adventure, take the time to explore your insurance options, understand the coverage, and choose a policy that suits your needs. Remember, when you’re well-prepared, you can fully savor the joy of travel, knowing that you’re safeguarded against unexpected bumps in the road.

Go Get Lost has been partnered with Travel Guard for over 20 years and we continue to recommend them to our clients.  There are many providers, take your time and find the one you are most comfortable with.

The Palio of Siena

The Most Exciting Horse Race That No One Has Ever Heard Of

Many of those who travel abroad have heard of the charming city of Siena, in central Tuscany. And in fact many who have vacationed in Italy have visited Siena, often as a day stop while on a bus from Rome to Florence. What’s amazing is that while tens of thousands of people visit Siena every year, almost none of them understand what they’re looking at as they wander the city, admiring the colorful flags that line the charming cobblestone streets. A few of them may have heard of the Palio, a horse race held there twice a year, but very few comprehend the significance of that event, and how it has transformed Siena into one of the most fascinating and complex cultures on the planet. Certainly anyone who has wandered the winding cobblestone streets of Siena’s lovely historical center has noticed the many colorful outdoor light fixtures that line the neighborhoods and the huge vibrant banners that hang over the streets.  Hang around until evening and, if you’re lucky, you might even see a small but enthusiastic neighborhood parade, complete with flag-tossing, drum beating, and passionate singing.

All of this pomp and merriment is because of a horse race? Yes…and no. First and foremost, it’s not JUST a horse race, not by a long shot. The palio is a social, political, historical and religious event that permeates life in Siena so completely it’s hard to get your head around the concept. It’s also definitely not an event held for tourists, it’s for the Sienese, who are totally consumed by it. They don’t mind if you watch, but don’t get in their way. When most of us think of the excitement surrounding an event like this, we think of it in sports terms…the passion of team rivalries, the emotion of the Olympic games, the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”, and so on. That doesn’t really scratch the surface of the Palio, but it’s a start.

The origins of the Palio go all the way back to the medieval times, 1656 to be exact. About a hundred years earlier Siena was finally defeated by its arch-rival Florence, after nearly 300 years of intermittent warfare. After the war the Sienese were disarmed and their army disbanded. Looking for an outlet for the energy and passion of their neighborhood-based soldiers and citizens, they adopted several ferocious pursuits, such as bull-fighting, buffalo racing, horse racing and lavish pageants. All of these pitted neighborhood (called contrada, or contrade for plural) against neighborhood, much as the different units of the army had been organized.  Eventually this all evolved into a bareback horse race around the central piazza, or square, by ten horses, one from each of ten contrade. (Although there are 17 contrade, only ten race at once.)

You have to understand that the contrade of Siena are far more important to their citizens than we might suspect. Each contrada is a mini-town, completely self-sufficient, with its own church, square, fountain, daycare, senior center, council, and all of the other institutions necessary for a smoothly running community, including taxes. They even have their own colors, mascot, and museum to house important memorabilia, like the Palios they have won.

And just what is a “Palio”?

The race takes its name from the prize, the “Palio”, which is a large silk banner lavishly painted by an Italian artist, depicting the Virgin Mary, the horses, Siena, and the year of the race. Each Palio is a unique piece of art. After the race the Palio is paraded around the town by the ecstatically happy winners, (and when I say ecstatic, that doesn’t quite do it justice…think singing, screaming, crying, and hugging…and that’s just the men), eventually ending up back at the contrada museum, to take its place next to the dozens of previously won Palios, sometimes dating back several centuries. These Palio, needless to say, are the most treasured possessions of the contrada.

The Palio race is a year-long event, not just a race held on July 2nd and August 16th. The planning, plotting, dinners, and strategy meetings last all year, building to a fever pitch and culminating in the spectacle of the race.

There is also a history of friendship and warfare between contrade. Nearly every contrada has an ancient “friend contrada” and likewise an ancient “enemy contrada”. Each contrada spends much time and energy, all year, making plans to aid their friendly contrada and hatching various plots to defeat their enemy contrada. Keep in mind that the best thing in life for a Sienese is for their contrada to win the Palio, and the second best thing is for your enemy contrada NOT to win. For in the Palio there is only one winner, the rest are all losers. In fact, second place is considered the worst type of loser!

To make it even more interesting, the horses are NOT from the contrada, or even from Siena, but are brought in from outside and then awarded by lottery just a few days before the race. The race officials make sure there is a mix of fast, average, and slow horses, so you really don’t know if you’ll have a fast horse or a slow one…It’s all about luck. As you can imagine, immediately after the lottery there begins an even more extreme round of plotting…for you want to try to win, but in case bad luck awards you a slow horse, then your strategy turns to plots and intrigue aimed at making your enemy contrada NOT win…which is nearly as good.

How, you might ask, is it possible to affect a race to make another contestant NOT win? It’s not too difficult in a race where there are virtually no rules. The jockeys, called fantinos, are by tradition hired from outside Siena. They are paid enormous sums, and win large bonuses for winning, rumoured to be sometimes over a million Euro. (The day after the race, the citizens of the winning contrada happily and proudly line up to pay their share of the fantino payment.) They also can be bribed to perform badly, or can be paid to work together to hamper another jockey or horse. They can hit each other with their whips, and can block, hinder, and pretty much do whatever they want to each other. Each of them also has a sizeable “war-chest” of money that they are authorized to use at the last minute, as the horses line up, to make a last-second deal with another fantino.   A plot, within a scheme, all wrapped in a conspiracy, and no one trusts anyone.   Some of the rivalries and vendettas go back many, many generations. Believe me, to the Sienese, all of this is not a game, they take it very seriously. After all, whichever contrada wins the Palio has bragging rights for an entire year….which is a bitter pill indeed for their rival contrade.

How serious are the Sienese about their contrada and the palio? I personally have witnessed my friends, natives of Siena, teach their first-born son to say the contrada name as his first word…not Mama, or Papa, but Chiocciola (snail). They were so proud they could burst!

Another friend of mine from a different contrada once related a story to me of how a young mother was spoon feeding her baby, and naming each spoonful for a different family member…”This one is for mama!”…”This one is for papa!” and so on. Each time the baby would happily open its mouth and mom would shovel it in. Then mom said “This one is for the goose!” (which was the enemy of her contrada), as the smiling baby again opened his mouth for the spoon, mom suddenly dumped the spoon onto the ground and said firmly “NO, NEVER for the goose!” This was repeated until the baby learned just who was the enemy.

It’s not forbidden for young people to marry outside of their contrada, after all, this IS the 21st century. However, it’s also common for a “mixed-marriage” couple to separate during the ten days or so leading up to the race. Tensions are just too high, and neither wants to unwittingly give away any contrada secrets or strategy to their spouse.

So let’s watch a video to get an idea of the excitement and emotion…here is the July 2013 race. Some notable points to watch:

  • The starting procedure is for the horses to line up between two ropes. One horse, chosen by lottery, gets to hang back and start the race by crossing the line of the back rope. They have a lot of power, and can start the race whenever the time is right. In this race, the Nicchio horse in dark blue is the starter. Their enemy is the Montone contrada, in the light pink uniform on the far left. The Nicchio contrada has obviously made a deal with a couple other contrada to block out the Montone horse at the start. The jostling went on for a good ten minutes before they could slyly maneuver the Montone horse behind them, then the Nicchio abruptly started.
  • The fantino for Istrice, in the striped uniform, immediately starts beating the fantino of its enemy contrada, the Lupa, for the first hundred yards.
  • Several jockeys fall off their horses during the race, but the horses can still win, even without the fantino. The riderless horse of the Pantera nearly slips in front near the end of the race, but the fantino for the Oca deftly cuts him off.
  • Lupa nearly passes Oca in the home stretch, but once again the fantino for Oca cuts him off. The Lupa fantino and horse then fall, leaving Oca to win the race.

You can watch the entire hour long video on You Tube…very interesting!

When we take our Go Get Lost groups to Siena we like to stay in the town for several days to give everyone time to wander and try to go native. We’re also the guests of one of the contrada that is running the race, so we’ll get to visit their museum, attend their private pre-race dinner, hang out with them, and cheer “our” horse on in the race!  We start the stay with a presentation about the Palio from some knowledgeable local friend of ours, and then take everyone on a visit to a contrada museum. Once you understand the significance of the contrada and the constant daily influence of the Palio, the spirit of Siena will come alive, and you’ll feel like a part of it all!

We occasionally plan trips for small private groups to experience the Palio. We watch the drawing of the horses, (mega-exciting), take part in the dinner and festivities with the contrada, and of course we’ll be in a private apartment (with food, wine…and a bathroom!) overlooking the square to watch the race, screaming for our contrada! We also manage to get out into the lovely Tuscan countryside to visit some vineyards, taste some wine, learning how to cook Tuscan-style, and have plenty of free time to explore on our own.  We generally only have 12 people on our Palio extravaganza, drop us a line if you’re interested.