January featured events

 Emilia Romagna - In the small medieval town of Bazzano di Neviano degli Arduini, near Parma, first mentioned in the year 921 and told to be part of Satan's Kingdom (until the local miller defated the Lord of Darkness), the fun run Camminando tra i presepi di Bazzano is also the occasion to visit the annual Nativity Scenes festival, with more than two hundred outdoor installations springing up on every street. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first live nativity scene in 1223 in order to cultivate the worship of Christ after having been inspired by his visit to the Holy Land and Jesus's traditional birthplace.

 Emilia Romagna - Strap yourself for the post-holiday diet, Italian style, and be one of the participants at the Corsa dei ciccioli, in Bagnacavallo (Ravenna), also dubbed "Trofeo del colesterolo, Gran premio dei trigliceridi" (Cholesterol Trophy, Triglycerides Grand Prix). The title of this 9k event is a mouthful, and it is all because of the prize runners will receive at the finish line - a bag of "ciccioli", leftover pieces of pork compressed, dried, and aged in a sack cloth, before they are served "wet" sliced, or "dry" as delicious crunchy chips.

 Friuli Venezia Giulia - If you think you are brave enough to challenge the elements, then sign up for the Corsa della bora in Aurisina, near Trieste. Most common during the winter, the "bora" wind blows in gusts that can reach 100 mph, and it can be called "bora chiara" (light bora) in the presence of clear skies, or "bora scura" (dark bora) when it comes with rain or snow. Whether you are going to endure this wind, typical of this area, the race is a demanding 100-mile ultramarathon, also in a relay format, but on a very panoramic course between Italy and Slovenia. Shorter courses are also available.

 Liguria - Runners will get a close look of the beautiful Gallinara island when taking part in the Trail della Gallinara run, held on the mountains surrounding the Ligurian city of Albenga, near Savona, and winding through a very panoramic 27k course overlooking the sea. The island is now protected as a shelter for the herring gull, with one of the largest colonies of this bird in the Mediterranean, and for rare plant species and stretches of intact shallow sea floor. Along with the beautiful vista, the running event allows the participants to experience traveling along a portion of the ancient Roman road Via Julia Augusta, built in 13 bC to connect the Italian city of Piacenza with the French one of Arles.

 Lombardia - Every January 6 Italy celebrates the Epiphany. In Dalmine, near Bergamo, the local running club organizes the traditional Mezza maratona sul Brembo, a half marathon on a traffic-free paved course that goes through the nearby towns of Treviolo, Dalmine, Osio Sopra and Osio Sotto. The start is at 10 a.m. from the city hall.

 Sicilia - The Maratona di Ragusa will be held in Ragusa, on the island of Sicily. The city is built on a wide limestone hill between two deep valleys, Cava San Leonardo and Cava Santa Domenica. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is listed among the Unesco World Heritage Sites. Both the full and the half marathon are scheduled to start around 8 in the morning.

 Toscana - The Ronda ghibellina will be held in Castiglion Fiorentino, an Etruscan medieval walled city dating back to the 4th century bC, located in Tuscany, in the Arezzo province. It is a self-sufficient trail run featuring three courses: 43, 27, and 13 kilometers. The night before there is pasta party for all participants.

 Toscana - The Mugello GP run consists in one or two loops of the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, a race track circuit in Tuscany property of Scuderia Ferrari which uses it for Formula One testing. The length of the track is 5.245 kilometers. It has 15 turns and a long straight. The event features a shorter kids run on the go-kart track.

 Toscana - The castle of Monteriggioni itself, near Siena, is worth a trip to enjoy this incredible medieval walled town, let alone the possibility of running on the Via Francigena, the ancient road from Canterbury to Rome, that in the Middle Ages was the most important religious route for those wishing to visit the Holy See and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul. The occasion is offered by the race Sulle orme di Sigerico, a 20k event retracing part of the pilgrimage Sigerico, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made around 990 aD to receive his pallium. Shorter distances are also available.

 Trentino Alto Adige - The Non Valley is the land of apples, grana cheese, castles, forests and... snowshoes. Several decades ago the idea of a running race with snowshoes - "ciaspole" in Italian - started from the intuition of Alessandro Bertagnolli, the former director of the local turist office, and La Ciaspolada has now become the most popular event on the snow in all of Italy. It is an international 7k run on the white trails of the Trentino region. No snowshoes? No problem - you can rent them.

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