Previously known as the Giro Donne, the race historically was a nine- or ten-day event taking place in Italy in early July each year, generally competing for attention with the more famous men's Tour de France. While the rebranded Giro Rosa has kept its position in the racing calendar, it was shortened in 2013 to eight days, before returning to its traditional ten-day length the next year.
With the cancellation of the Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin after 2010, the Giro Donne was the only Grand Tour left in women's cycling, and in December 2012 Wieler Review reported that the company Epinike had withdrawn as Giro Donne organiser, making the 2013 edition uncertain. In April 2013, however, organisers announced a shortened and rebranded Giro, so that the Giro Rosa would go ahead in 2013. In 2016, the race became part of the new UCI Women's WorldTour, organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale.
The Giro d'Italia Femminile awards a number of jerseys for winners of certain classifications – the current competitions that award a jersey are:
( in 2012)Points classification, for the rider with the most points as awarded by finishing positions on stages and the first riders to go through intermediate sprints. Recently, the winner wears the maglia ciclamino (purple jersey).
Mountains classification, for the rider awarded the most points for crossing designated climbs, generally at the peaks of hills and mountains. The winner wears the maglia verde (green jersey).
Young rider classification, for the fastest rider under the age of 25 to complete the race. The winner wears the maglia bianca (white jersey).