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Palio del Golfo

The Palio has an undeniably strong connection with La Spezia’s cultural heritage; as one of the city’s most traditional events, each year it helps local residents get reacquainted with their seafaring roots.

The Palio del Golfo has been held for more than 80 years on the first Sunday of August in the Gulf of La Spezia; it is primarily a competition between 13 rowing boats, ‘tipo palio’, whose hulls are similar to those of the ‘gozzo’ fishing boats, but are handmade by local craftsmen and shipwrights with unique features that make them faster and more agile.


The Palio is part of the Festival of the Sea, and involves boats from several local fishing villages that overlook the Gulf of Poets (Portovenere, Le Grazie, Fezzano, Cadimare, Marola, CRDD – Circolo Ricreativo Dipendenti Difesa, Canaletto, Fossamastra, Muggiano, San Terenzo, Venere Azzurra, Lerici and Tellaro). It has become an important sporting, cultural and tourist event, and is also well-known outside of the region. The race takes place inside the Gulf’s breakwater, in the water that directly faces the city, between the Italian Pier and Morin Walk.

The Festival of the Sea usually begins on the Sunday before the Palio, when the ‘Village of the Palio’ is set up along Morin Walk. Here, sea-related sporting, cultural and entertainment events are organised, and tourist can also enjoy several food stands and the opportunity to sample typical La Spezia dishes and Ligurian cuisine.