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Sporting events in Livorno: from the Sailing Week to the Half Marathon

When you talk about Livorno, you immediately think of the sea, with which the people of Livorno have always had a strong bond. It is no coincidence, in fact, that the city’s two most important sporting events – the Sailing Week and the Rowing Races – are held in open waters.


The Sailing Week

The International Sailing Week is an important event for sailing enthusiasts and includes several competitions that usually take place between the end of April and the beginning of May.

Among these, one of the most interesting and longest in the Mediterranean, is the Naval Academy Regatta: it is a 600-mile route, starting from Livorno Naval Academy, with a first stop in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, and a second stop in the Gulf of Naples, on the island of Capri. The journey must be completed in one week, with Livorno as the final destination. Other regattas taking place during the International Sailing Week are Trident, Vele d’Epoca, Flying Junior, Optimist, J24, Laser, and WindSurf Firerace.


The Rowing Races

The Rowing Races are held between April and June. It is a folkloristic event with five different competitions: the Liberation Trophy, the Giostra dell’Antenna (Antenna Joust), the Risi’atori and Barontini cups, and the Palio Marinaro – the most important event that concludes the rowing season.


The Races boast a centuries-old tradition and were held as early as the 16th century for special events, while from the 18th century the fame of Livorno’s “water festivals” spread beyond the city’s borders.


The Liberation Trophy, held over two days, on occasion of the Liberation Day, inaugurates the Rowing Races. It is a time trial race involving five different categories: Special Olympics, students, women’s gozzi (rowing boats), the mini-palio and the ten-man gozzi. The Giostra dell’Antenna, on the other hand, is a challenge of skill and speed between the city districts with medieval origins, and is held on 21 May, on the feast of Santa Giulia, at the Darsena Nuova. In June, the Coppa Risi’atori, a grueling eight-kilometer race in the open sea, takes the gozzi from the Meloria Tower to the port of Livorno. The Coppa Barontini is, perhaps, the most evocative competition; it takes place at night, along the Fossi Medicei, on a loop circuit that crosses the districts of the historic center.

In July, the Terrazza Mascagni is the venue for the Palio Marinaro, the most heartfelt and final rowing race. Eight of the city’s districts take part in the Palio, and compete for victory in the open sea aboard their gozzi.


The Half Marathon

The passion of the people of Livorno for sport does not stop with nautical competitions. The city also has a deep connection with running, so much so that since 1981 it has hosted one of the oldest marathons in Italy and Europe, with a history of over 35 editions.

Since 2016, with the aim of increasing the number of athletes taking part, the historic 42 km route has been halved, giving rise to the Livorno Half Marathon. The Half Marathon includes a 21 km route that runs along the cliffs and through the city districts, passing inside the Naval Academy and the Medici Port.

Among the side activities of the Livorno Half Marathon, which attracts Italian and foreign runners, are the non-competitive relay race for two runners, the Stralivorno (about 7 km), the Urban Nordic Walking and the Urban Dog, also suitable for non-competitive runners.



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