Palio di Asti, Italy. The Palio di Asti is a traditional Italian festival of medieval origin that culminates in a bareback horse race. The Palio di Asti is the oldest recorded bareback horse race in Italy. The race has been run each year since the 13th century with the earliest recorded race taking place in 1275. The ancient contest sees 21 thoroughbred horses compete representing the different districts of the city, accompanied by a parade and flag throwing contest involving over 1200 people in medieval costume.