The numbers of the Palio del Golfo

The Palio del Golfo takes place every first Sunday of August, putting the Bay of La Spezia fishing villages against each other in a heartfelt rowing competition. It is undoubtedly one of the most exciting sporting events in Eastern Liguria. The 13 boats’ hulls are similar to the national goiter. Still, they are handmade by local artisans with unique features that make them particularly agile and faster.

With its busy planned event schedule, the Palio del Golfo is when all the villages gather for a few days and fill the city center with excitement. 

A mayor side event is the Palio Parade, which takes place on the Friday before the race, during which all villages march on the city streets, with pre-themed costumes designed by volunteers throughout the year. Everyone in each town participates creatively and works to win the Parade competition.


97: So many are the editions of the Palio del Golfo, including this years. The Palio has always taken place since 1932. The only exceptions were the 1941 to 1944 editions due to WWII and that of 1981. Covid was the reason for canceling the 2020 edition, while the 2021 Palio could be watched only on tv. 

1932 is the date of the first official Palio, but the race had been disputed since 1925 and perhaps even earlier.


As reconstructed by fans and historians fond of the Palio del Golfo, the fight between the villages of the Gulf of Poets started as impromptu races. These were among fishing workboats – in the nineteenth century – when, loaded with fish, they returned to shore.

The boats to reach the dock first were also the first to land their catch and thus had an advantage in haggling at the fish market.


is the number of villages taking part in the Palio. Each is assigned a fixed number, starting from the west of the bay with Porto Venere (number 1) to Tellaro (number 13) in the far east. There are three arms of the municipality of Portovenere (Porto Venere, Le Grazie, and Fezzano), 6 crews of the town of La Spezia (Cadimare, Marola, CRDD, Canaletto, Fossamastra and Muggiano), 4 the boats of the town of Lerici (San Terenzo, Venere Azzurra, Lerici and Tellaro).

  • Portovenere
  • Le Grazie
  • Fezzano
  • Cadimare
  • Marola
  • La Spezia town
  • Canaletto
  • Fossamastra
  • Muggiano
  • San Terenzo
  • Venere Azzurra
  • Lerici
  • Tellaro


5 are the components of each crew, four rowers and one coxswain. The helmsman is usually a child who is given the delicate task of beating the time to the athletes and controlling the operation at the turning point.


2000 are the meters that boats of senior crews must row. 2,000 meters long is the challenge to win the prize (the race for women and juniors teams is 1000 meters long).


are the mark roundings that the senior rowers must perform (1 for women and junior teams). The competition area is, therefore, 500 meters long and has to be covered 4 times by senior crews and 2 times by women and juniors.


is the year of the only Palio raced off the La Spezia waterfront. That year, the competition was held in the water pool of San Terenzo. The Passeggiata Morin and the immediate surroundings, in fact, bore signs of the violent World War II bombings.


This is the number of records won by Cadimare. The pirates are followed by the Canaletto with 17 wins and Fezzano with 10. The ranking is closed by Venere Azzurra and Tellaro with a hit to the head and Lerici, San Terenzo, and CRDD with 2 triumphs. All villages have raised at least once the Palio drape. 


is the year when the first Palio Gulf, the Junior category, rowed the Palio.


are the number of victories of the Junior category leader, the Cadimare.


is the year the Palio couldn’t be disputed because of a fight between Cadimare and Canaletto, traditionally opposed villages in the competition. The fight started during the weighing of the vessels, which takes place the day before the Palio, and the organization decided the atmosphere was too tense. 


are the victories of the Palio record holder, Paolo Lavalle. True legend of this competition, Lavalle has won 4 times with Canaletto (1988, 90, 96, 2009), 6 times with Marola (2000-2006), and the first time with the CRDD (in 1992). Multi-winners on the podium were Giuseppe Liberatore (7 wins with Marola, Lerici, Le Grazie and Fezzano), Attilio Mori, Roberto Borrini, Patrick Pierleoni, Fausto Sassi with six wins each.


is the record of consecutive victories set by Cadimare between 1955 and 1959. All five have had Attilio Mori as a protagonist.

Top 1!

it is the passion of the La Spezia bay people who color the promenade of La Spezia!

Photo is by Sara Sally