Palestro was a highly important place in Roman times, as it was situated on the Via Francigena. Conquered by the Etruscans, the Ostrogoths and the Lombards, its first record dates from 999, when it was assigned to the Bishop of Vercelli, by the will of Otto III. After the dominion of the Viscontis (1335 - 1452), it was owned by the Borromeo family. In 1500, the village fell into Spanish hands and eventually in those of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy. Palestro was the scene of the battle with the same name that took place on 30th and 31st May 1859, during the Second Italian War of Independence, which marked the first victory of the Frankish-Piedmontese army over the Austrian troops.