The Montenero Race. Italian Grand Prix
The “Montenero Trophy”, a historic car race, was held at Leghorn in the Twenties in the middle of summer, and payday loans direct in the Thirties became famous among the International Prix as it officially represented the “Italian Grand Prix”.
The circuit, starting from the Ardenza roundabout, crossed the centre, went up Montenero Hill to Castellaccio and then came down to Romito, went along the Aurelia to Castel Sonnino and up and down along the coast past Calafuria and Castel Boccale, then it went along the straight stretch south of Antignano and the avenue that takes its name along the seafront in the swimming area, then it returned to the Ardenza roundabout where the arrival was located after running a varied itinerary amounting to a total length of about 20 km.
The winding route was repeated for several laps and was exhausting; tormented by over 100 bends, with mixed fast and slow uphill stretches, hairpins, very fast downhill slopes, in rapid sequence, with variable bends and no protection from trees and precipices, some of which jut out over the sea.
The drivers soon became exhausted with frenetic gear changes, wearing out brakes and tyres, taking it out on the one-seater racing cars, especially the heaviest and most unwieldy ones that in the long straight stretches on either side of Antignano moved at amazing speeds between the posts and overhead cables of the trolley buses.
The “Montenero Circuit”, a hard testing ground for men and cars, was similar to the layout of Nurburing in Germany, but it had the added value of being surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea that could be seen from all parts of the circuit which climbed to a height of 300 metres at Valico del Castellaccio, on the northern side of which is a splendid panoramic view of Leghorn as far as Pisa, and on the southern side, the Isle of Elba and Corsica.
Appreciated by the German teams of the 16-cylinder Mercedes and the powerful Auto Union with the engines at the rear, it was the theatre of epic duels with the roaring and agile red rockets of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, at a time when Ferrari was just a dream in Enzo Ferrari’s head.
They were legendary duels between racers of the past, between the famous Italian friends and rivals, Nuvolari and Varzi, and the German aces, Caracciola and Rosemeyer, who reached speeds of up to 300 Kmh on their silvery and hissing 6-litre “monsters” with over 500 hp.
Entitled “Coppa Ciano” after the gold-medal citizen of Leghorn with D’Annunzio, it attracted thousands of sports fans who crowded along the route, teams from several countries, engineers and mechanics, journalists, and the most popular drivers of the times who had good relations with the public, such as the great Tazio Nuvolari, a lover of Leghorn and winner of 5 trophies, commemorated by racing fans with a hairpin on Castellaccio called the “Nuvolari bend”, the first driver to put the car sideways before the bend and skid with all 4 wheels!
Leghorn and its circuit belonged to these crowd-enchanting “heroes” and the “Montenero” was a great technical and sports event, which could not be repeated today, on a fantastic circuit lying between the sea and the mountains and which, repeated over the years, was the “Italian Grand Prix” for two editions in 1932 and 1934.