If you love running, and discovering new places while you’re at it, admiring incredible historic and natural sights, in art cities or among hills, by the sea or in the mountains, then you should plan on running a marathon in Italy. The varies landscape of the Bel Paese will allow you to choose the scenery that suits you best, and you may even decide to run a different one every year! Some of the marathons are associated with shorter distance runs as well, such as 5K, 10K and half marathons, so you don’t necessarily need to be at marathon level to participate. Plus, the atmosphere is usually so joyous and the views so great, you may just go in for the fun!
You will pass by more than 500 historic and archeological sites and monuments while running the Maratona di Roma, one of the most beloved running competitions in Italy.
The most exciting race moments, start and finish, both take place at Via dei Fori Imperiali, at the Trajan Forum-Capitoline Hill, going toward Piazza Venezia on the way out, arriving from Via IV Novembre at the end, facing the Colosseum. The route passes by almost all of the important and famous sites of Rome.
Taking place in April since 1995, the Rome Marathon attracts thousands of athletes from more than 100 countries.
This year, the Rome Marathon is on April 8. More info here.
Italy’s second ‘capital’ hosts one of the country’s major marathons, the Milano Marathon, every year in April.
The course is a loop starting and ending at the very central Corso Venezia. The route is flat and fast, and encompasses some of the most beautiful views and most important historical monuments, such as the Duomo, Teatro alla Scala, Arco della Pace, Castello Sforzesco, and even the futuristic neighborhoods of the “new Milan.”
The Milano Marathon has created the Charity Program, which allows participants to run and raise funds for one of the non-profit organizations participating in the program.
The Milano Marathon takes place this year on April 8. More info here.
Taking place every year in October, usually the fourth Sunday of the month, the Maratona di Venezia was the first Italian marathon to be officially recognized by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races and inserted into its international calendar.
The route is really unique: it starts at Stra, near Padua, famous for the Villa Pisani, then crosses into the towns of Fiesso d'Artico, Dolo and Mira, along the Riviera del Brenta, known for its Palladian villas; it continues into Mestre and on to Venice through the Liberty Bridge. Runners will cross 14 bridges over the Venetian canals, with the final crossing of the Grand Canal from the Punta della Dogana to St. Mark’s Square, on a bridge specially built for the marathon. The arrival is at the Riva dei Sette Martiri.
The Venice Marathon is on October 28 this year. More info available here.
Moving on to countryside races, the Mugello Marathon in Tuscany is the oldest in Italy, born in 1974.
It begins and ends at Borgo San Lorenzo, passing through San Piero a Sieve, Scarperia, the famous Mugello circuit race track, taking in the beautiful natural landscapes of this verdant valley to the north of Florence.
It includes a non-competitive Family Run to draw even the youngest to the world of running.
This year the Mugello Marathon takes place on September 22, beginning at 2:30 pm. For more info, click here.
Chianti Classico Marathon
The Chianti Classico Marathon, taking place mostly on dirt roads, across vineyards and in the woods, runs through one of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy: the Chianti Classico area.
With views of its world-famous gentle rolling hills, the course passes by some of the most quintessential Chianti sites, including the new Antinori cellars, the ancient Abbey of Badia a Passignano, Greve in Chianti, the medieval village of Montefioralle, the Castle of Verrazzano and the Castle of Gabbiano.
Only in its second edition, the Chianti Classico Marathon takes place on June 3rd this year and includes three courses, the Ultra Trail 43 Km, the Trail at 21 Km, and Nordic Walking at 10 km.
It starts and finishes at Mercatale in Val di Pesa. For more info, click here.
Lago Maggiore Marathon
The Lago Maggiore Marathon may be one of the most scenic in Italy taking place along and above the shores of Lake Maggiore, the second largest lake in Italy located on the south side of the Alps.
This year it takes place on November 4 and includes four race options: the classic 42K, 33K, 21K, 10K. For more info, click here.
Brixen Dolomites Marathon
Mountain lovers need to check out the Brixen Dolomites Marathon, which takes place in the gorgeous mountain landscapes of South Tyrol. This one is for experienced runners as it features an altitude gain of 2450 meters, beginning at Bressanone-Brixen’s Cathedral Square, the main town square, at an altitude of 560m, and ending at the Plose, the mountain above Bressanone, at 2450m.
Needless to say, runners pass through beautiful forest trails and are rewarded with spectacular mountain scenery and a 360° panoramic view at the finish.
The Brixen Marathon is on 7 July 2018. For more info, click here.
Chia Laguna Half Marathon
From the mountains to the sea, and when we talk about sea in Italy, Sardinia is the place to go. The Chia Laguna Half Maraton is now the most participated half marathon in the region, and incredibly scenic as it offers beautiful sea views, among typical Mediterranean scrub, at the peak of spring flower blooming, in the splendid setting of the Chia lagoon, in the province of Cagliari in southern Sardinia, which, at the end of April, offers a very pleasant mild climate.
Besides the 21K, runners can opt for the 10K, or even the non-competitive 21K, 10K, 5K.
The Chia Laguna Half Marathon is on 29 April 2018. For more info, click here.