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Official Review by Stefano Romagnoli, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Mugello International Circuit is located in the town of Scarperia. It owes its name, “Mugello”, to the geographical area where it is located, which is a green valley in the northeast of Florence near the Apennines, the mountain range that separates Tuscany from Emilia Romagna. While road racing had been around the public streets of Mugello for over 60 years, the construction of the racing-specific track began in 1972. Two years later, on June 23, 1974, it was inaugurated with a Formula 5000 race. First managed by Automobilclub of Florence, the Mugello International Circuit has been owned by Ferrari since 1988.
In May 2012, the facility has hosted the group test in Formula 1 — the teams that took to the track were Ferrari, Lotus, McLaren, Williams, Mercedes, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia — and it is home every year between June and July, to the Italian Grand Prix for the Moto World Championship. It was also twice the finishing stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race. Outside of racing, over the years, its buildings have hosted conferences, university lectures, and other events.
The Mugello International Circuit has received the “Best Prix” Award as the best circuit in the Moto World Championship five times.
(All price equivalents are in U.S. dollars and accurate as of the time of this posting, July 2013)
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We visited the Mugello International Circuit at the ACI/CSAI racing weekend on 6 and 7 July 2013. Before arriving at the circuit, we stopped in the center of Scarperia for breakfast: frothy cappuccino and croissant with cream for a total cost of €2 ($2.60). Once we arrived at the circuit, we had a cup of coffee at the restaurant located at the paddock's entrance (€0.80, $1). We decided to return to the same refreshment point for lunch. We ate a small pizza and a bottle of water (0.5 liters) for a total cost of €5 ($6.60). The menu also offers sweet and salted snacks, various types of sandwiches, and ice cream. Also, if your tastes require it, there are also some well-marked areas for barbecue.
The track of Mugello International Circuit extends for 5.245 meters and is situated 292 meters above sea level. The circuit features 15 curves, with 9 to the right (their names, in order: San Donato, Poggio Secco, Borgo San Lorenzo Casanova, Arrabbiata 1 and Arrabbiata 2, Scarperia, Correntaio, Biondetti 2), and 6 to the left (Luco, Materassi, Savelli Palagio, Biondetti 1, Bucine). Cars and motorcycles reach a top speed in the final stretch of the main straight before taking the San Donato curve.
The roar of the cars that echoes in the hills around the plant is an indescribable feeling and really exciting.
The town of Scarperia dates from the 14th Century. In the city, you can visit the Palazzo dei Vicari, a building similar in appearance to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, inside of which is the Museum of Cutting Tools. Other buildings in the old town of Scarperia are the Church of Santi Jacopo and Filippo and the Oratorio della Madonna di Piazza. These two buildings date back to the first decades of the 14th Century.
In addition, during the year, Scarperia is home to some culinary festivals which are worth attending. For example, there is Sagra del Cinghiale (cinghiale is a wild boar), Sagra del Tortello (tortello is a large ravioli), and Sagra del Fungo Porcino (porcino is a mushroom).
About 10 km from Scarperia is Lago di Bilancino. It is an artificial basin of about 5,000 square meters that includes various activities, from fishing to windsurfing.
When we visited the circuit, there wasn't the audience that crowded the facility during the Italian Grand Prix (record about 150,000 viewers), but the spectators present were competent and passionate. We spoke to some of them who told us the history of the facility and some curious aspect relating to races of the past.
Reaching the Mugello International Circuit is really easy. By car, use the A1 motorway and exit at Barberino di Mugello, then just follow the road signs. From the motorway exit, you have to drive about 15 km to the facility.
By train, it can be accessed by either the Borgo San Lorenzo (about 5 km away from the track) or San Piero a Sieve (around 7 km away) stations. During the Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix, a free shuttle bus service will take you from either station, while during the rest of the year, you can still get to the circuit from Borgo San Lorenzo and San Piero a Sieve with regularly-scheduled public buses.
Ticket prices at the ACI/CSAI racing weekend ranged from €5 to €15 ($6.60 to $19.80) and gave the opportunity to attend the "Prato", "Tribuna Centrale" (the Main Grandstand), and "Terrazza Box" areas of the track. Also, for those under 18, women, and residents of the town of Scarperia, access was free. Please note that the entrance fee includes allowing you to park your cars and motorcycles inside the track, just behind the paddock.
The Mugello International Circuit is open for 270 days a year (2013 calendar runs from March to November) and offers the ability to run on the track with private cars and motorcycles. On the circuit's website, in the Events section, there is all the information you need to feel the emotion of being racecar drivers for a day.
Racing training is available for both cars and motorcycles, with the track offering to time your lap for you.
Within the facility, there is also a kart and minibike circuit.
As we can read on the website of the circuit, in the News section, Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso once said on Twitter, "I would love to race at Mugello. I know the track well, and it has everything you need, in every respect, to be part of the calendar."
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