The Palio degli Asini (Donkey Contest) was first held in Varzo in 2007 and is a one-of-a-kind: the donkeys, the star of the show, are not the four-legged beasts you would expect but rather portrayed by locals from Varzo, a small town in the Divedro Valley, who take part in this fun race of about one kilometre through the village streets and squares. All the villages in the Varzo area take part in the contest with their own team; five members have to run as fast as they can, whilst balancing the sixth team member on a stretcher. All six team members wear a very distinct helmet on their head, with two donkey’s ears sticking out!
The Varzo Donkey Contest marks the high point of one of the most widespread patron saint festivals in the Ossola Valley, the Aprile Varzese, in honour of St George. Music, sports, culture and exquisite culinary delights make up this event that grows in popularity every year, offering novel, unique and fun attractions, just like the Varzo donkeys!