Sunday 15 March 2020
Dating back to the year 1208, the Palio di Verona is the world's oldest foot race. The event was held 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 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 have changed over the years. Participants run, for instance, not naked any more.
The race distance and the course have also changed many times.
In 2020, the route will begin and end, like in 2019, in the village of Santa Maria in Stelle which is situated in the picturesque wine-and-olive-producing Valpantena valley, approximately nine kilometres from Verona's city centre.
The race is a very hilly and scenic 10.75km multi-terrain run through vineyards, woods and olive groves. The course features 238 metres of ascent.
Map of the venue:
603. Palio del Drappo Verde:
- 15 March 2020 (Sunday)
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