December featured events

 Basilicata - The local running club organizes in Policoro, in the province of Matera, the Straherakleia half marathon. The town of Policoro is where the ruins of the ancient Greek colony of Herakleia are located: this was the city of Heracles, the divine hero in the Greek mythology. Called Hercules by the ancient Romans, he is famous for his strength and for his numerous legendary adventures (the so-called "Twelve Labours").

 Campania - Sorrento, Positano, the Amalfi Coast: for a runner in search of the perfect Italian running experience nothing beats the Coast to coast, Sorrento-Positano Marathon, a full 26-mile event, and a half too, starting from the birthplace of the "limoncello", the sweet liqueur traditionally made from the zest of the local Femminello St. Teresa lemons. The course reaches the famous village of Positano before heading back to Sorrento.

 Lazio - The Illegal track trail scheduled in Cerveteri, near Roma is a non competitive self-sufficient trail run. The name of the event (yes, it is in English) is due to the fact that the course winds through the trails used a century ago as an escape route by the local bandits. Four hills, eleven river crossings and a lot of mud is what the organizers promise along the 26 miles. The start is at 7 a.m. in the Banditaccia Etruscan necropolis.

 Lazio - The Mezza Roma Run features a half marathon course on the river Tevere. Runners will run the loop four times, starting from Ponte Milvio, an economically and strategically important bridge in the era of the Roman Empire. Along with the 13.1 miles event, there is also a 10k and a 5k fun run. Part of the entry fees will be donated to the schools of Rome to teach traffic safety to kids.

 Liguria - The Trail Monte di Portofino will offer participants the possibility of running on the green pines rich mountains of the Regional Natural Park of Portofino (only fifty miles away from the world-renown Cinque Terre area). It is a gorgeous 26.2k trail.

 Lombardia - The possibility of visiting the charming Como, on the Italian lake with the same name, while running a fun run comes with the Babbo Running, a 5k through the streets of the city center dressed up as "Babbo Natale" (the Italian name for Santa Claus). The Christmas costume is provided with the entry fee (15 euro).

 Piemonte - Those who understand the northern Italian dialects would smile when reading the title of the event held in Vigone, near Turin: Ciapa 'l pulast ca scapa via literally means "Catch the runaway chicken". The reason behind this curious 6K night race name lies in the fact that the event official "apripista", the trailblazer who is showing participants the course to follow, is conspicuously dressed as a rooster. All race entrants receive a neon bracelet upon registration, while the final participation prize consists - you should have guessed it - in a chicken.

 Puglia - The Maratona delle cattedrali will be held in Bisceglie. As the name of the event implies, the course will show the participants several cathedrals in and around this town, located on the Adriatic sea in the Puglia region. The modern city was founded by the Normans in the 11th century. Along with the marathon, a half marathon distance is available too.

 Sicilia - Running at the feet of the Etna volcano, the Sotto il vulcano trail in Calatabiano is faithful to its title, offering a 26k trail course with 1.2k elevation in the Etna and Alcantara Park. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad plain of Catania to the south. Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations, and is on the list of the Unesco World Heritage Sites.

 Sicilia - The Trail dei Nebrodi, one of the events of the Circuito Ecotrail Sicilia, held in Cesarò near Messina, is not for the faint of heart. It is a partially self-sufficient ultramarathon in the pristine environment of the Parco dei Nebrodi on the Sicilian Apennines, the largest protected natural area of the island. Along the 65k course (but there is also a shorter 20k trail) participants are required to bring their own emergency supply, leave no trace, pick up their trash (or be disqualified) and run with no iPods or music players of any sort.

 Trentino Alto Adige - Finish the year on December 31 with the traditional Corsa di San Silvestro, held in Bolzano, the main city of the German-speaking province of South Tyrol in northern Italy. It is a very competitive event (also invitational), with a 10k course for men and a 5k course for women, offering a unique chance to run against international stars and to compare your time with theirs.

 Umbria - The Invernalissima ("The Wintermost" run) will be held in Assisi, in the heart of the Umbria region. Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208. The event features a half marathon and a shorter 6.5k run.

 Veneto - The Maratonina città  murata will be held in Cittadella, a medieval walled city in northern Italy, founded in the 13th century as a military outpost of Padua. Thousands of participants will engage on the 13.1 miles event. The start and finish line is within the walls, but the course will wind through the open countryside.

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