The world's oldest foot race

Verona (Italy), Sunday 17 March 2013

Statue of Dante, Piazza dei Signori, Verona, Italy (Copyright © Hendrik Böttger / Run International EU)


Dating back to the year 1208, the Palio di Verona is the world's oldest running race. The run was staged annually until the end of the eighteenth century. After a break of more than 200 years, the event was revived in 2008.

Italy's great poet Dante Alighieri (ca. 1265-1321), a statue of whom stands on Verona's Piazza dei Signori (pictured), referred to the event in his famous "Divina Commedia" as the "Palio del drappo verde" ("Race of the Green Cloth").

The drappo verde is still awarded to the fastest man and woman, and like in medieval times the last male finisher receives a cock. Other traditions, however, have changed over the years. Participants run, for instance, not naked any more.

The route is a 10km loop that winds its way through the city centre, showing runners a large number of Verona's best sights in and around the Old Town which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Competitors also run along (and five times across) the River Adige. The start and finish are in a residential area just west of the historic centre.

In 2012, the Palio had over 500 finishers. The winners were Wilson Businiei of Uganda (30:20) and Daniela Paterlini of Italy (35:43).

Entrants to the Palio di Verona must provide a medical certificate at registration. You don't need it, however, for the "Sgambada de San Giuseppe" fun run which attracts several thousand runners and walkers every year (5km/10km/14km; start between 8.30 and 9.00am; entry fees € 3).


Event details: 596. Palio del drappo verde di Verona 2013:

Country: Italy

Venue (Map): Verona (Venice 114km, Milan 166km, Trieste 261km, Rome 523km)

Date: 17 March 2013 (Sunday)

Race distance: 10km

Start time: 9.45

Start: on via Arsenale

Finish: Piazza Arsenale (near the start)

Entries: by e-mail, fax or post; payment by bank transfer; entrants must provide a medical certificate at registration; entries close 12 March 2013

Entry fees: € 11/15/18 (up to 18 February/4 March/12 March 2013)

Race centre: in the start/finish area (on the day from 7.30)

You get: goodie bag; chip timing; massage service; tortellini and risotto party after the race

Prizes: product prizes to the first 15 M/F and to the first 10 in each category (prizes are not cumulative)

Changing facilities, baggage storage: yes

Award ceremony: 11.30

Number of finishers 2012: 504

Event website:


No guarantee is made as to the accuracy or thoroughness of the information on this page! Please visit the official event website to verify the above information.