The world's oldest foot race

Santa Maria in Stelle (Verona, Italy), Sunday 12 June 2016

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 event. The race was staged annually until the end of the eighteenth century. After a break of more than 200 years, it was revived in 2008.

Italy's great poet Dante Alighieri (ca. 1265-1321), a statue of whom stands in 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 have changed over the years. Participants run, for instance, not naked any more!

The route of the race has also changed many times.

This year, the event offers a Palio non competitivo (9km and 21.1km half marathon without timekeeping) and a Palio competitivo (21.1km half marathon race).

You need to be in possession of a medical certificate for athletics if you want to take part in the competitive race. The non-competitive fun runs are open to all runners.

The 9km run is one lap and the half marathon is two laps (a shorter and a longer lap) through the Valpantena, a picturesque wine-growing valley that stretches northwards from Verona to the beautiful Monti Lessini.

Starting and finishing in the village of Santa Maria in Stelle, which is approximately nine kilometres from Verona's historic centre, the course is very scenic, but it's not designed to set a personal half marathon record.

The race is run on mixed terrain (about half on asphalt and half on gravel), and the route is undulating. The difference between the lowest and the highest point on the course is 57m. Overall, the race features 211m of ascent and 211m of descent.

In case you find this route still not challenging enough you may be interested in the Valpantena Trail, a new event that will be held on the same day in the same place. Starting half an hour before the Palio, participants will run 12km of a very hilly loop course that includes 683m of climbing.


Race information: 599. Palio del drappo verde:

Country: Italy

Venue (Map): Santa Maria in Stelle (Verona 9km, Venice 119km, Milan 170km, Trieste 266km)

Date: 12 June 2016 (Sunday)

Start and finish: Fruttaio della Cantina Valpantena, via Sezano, Santa Maria in Stelle

Start time: 9.00

Time limit to finish the race: 2 hours 30 minutes

Palio non competitivo (non-competitive run without timekeeping):

Race distance: 9km, 21.1km

Race centre: in the start/finish area (Saturday 15.00-19.00; on the day 7.30-8.15)

Entries: by e-mail, payment by bank transfer, late entries on the day (up to 8.15)

Entry fees: € 8 (up to 9 June 2016), € 12 (up to 12 June 2016)

You get: goodie bag, refreshments on the course and at the finish, massage service in the finish area, pasta party after the race (at 11.30), changing facilities, bag storage

Palio competitivo (competitive race):

Race distance: 21.1km

Race centre:

  • at the KM SPORT shop, San Martino Buon Albergo (Saturday 10.00-12.00/15.30-17.30)
  • in the start/finish area (on the day 7.30-9.00)

Entries: online or by e-mail; entries close 7 June 2016; entrants must provide a medical certificate for athletics

Entry fees: € 21/24/27/30 (up to 28 February/30 April/5 June/7 June 2016)

You get: medal (for entries up to 30 April 2016), timekeeping, goodie bag, refreshments on the course and at the finish, massage service in the finish area, pasta party after the race (at 11.30), changing facilities, bag storage

Prizes: product prizes to the first 10 M/F and to the first 10 in each age group (prizes are not cumulative), 'drappo verde' to the fastest man and woman, a cock to the last male finisher

Award ceremony: at 11.00

Number of finishers 2015: 356

Event website:

Palio del drappo verde di Verona - 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.