The first palio in Borgomanero was held in 1975, as part of the grape festival. According to the organisers of the race, it was intended to give a new spark to the celebrations. The idea of the palio was aimed at encouraging bottom-up participation and a strong injection of neighbourhood spirit.
Hamlets and city neighbourhoods took part in the palio: Caneto, Sant’Antonio, San Gottardo, San Leonardo, San Rocco and Valera. Similar events that took place with a certain success in nearby towns such as Premosello, Serravalle Sesia and Cameri certainly influenced the choice of the donkey palio. In spite of the excellent premises and expectations, that first palio on 14th September 1975 turned out to be disappointing. It rained and the prize was not awarded.
The first four editions of the race were held on the former amusement square, now Piazza Salvo d’Acquisto, until 1978. Afterwards, the race course was the old stadium in Piazza Matteotti, then it was moved to Piazza San Gottardo, which became a small Piazza del Campo on the Sienese model, and finally to the park of Villa Marazza.