Milano Grandstands
Sharknose on the banking

A (very) brief history of the Circuito di Milano

- Sam Hardwick

The Milano track was conceived when it was realised that Italian motorsport honour demanded that Italy should have an event to rival the French Grand Prix, and to provide a test track to push all types of machinery to their limits.

After selecting the Villa Reale Park site near Milan from a number of contenders, work was started in February 1922 on the construction of a 14 km track. However work was almost immediately stopped due to concerns over "artistic and monumental value and landscape conservation", and while the track was finally allowed to go ahead it was scaled down and reduced to 10 km length.

The track finally constructed featured 2 long curves with 2.6m high banking designed for a top speed of 200 km/h on a high speed oval, plus a road course in very nearly the same layout as that used today.

The Vialone (now Ascari) corner in 1922 The great Nuvolari on the banking (in 1931)

The track was completed in an amazing 110 days, with the help of 3,500 workers and a specially constructed narrow gauge railroad and was open for business for its first race on 3rd September 1922, where Bordino won the (voiturette) race in a Fiat.

On September 8th 1922, Ruggiero won the motorcycle Grand Prix of Nations on a Harley-Davidson, and on the 10th Bordino capped a great week by winning the Italian Grand Prix in a Fiat 804 ..... And was heard to declare after the race <cue heavy Italian accent> "I love this track!" <G>

The track was used in this form for the next 5 years, although the cars were able to exceed the design limit of 200 km/h on the banking by 1924.

The double straight at Milano in 1924, the cars in the background have just exited Curva Poca, and the (monocoque!!) car in the foreground has been parked up after coming off the south banking.

Tragedy struck in 1928 when a collision on the front straight caused the death of Materassi and 27 spectators.

As a result of the 1928 disaster, a number of attempts were made to find a safer layout and the Italian Grand Prix of 1929 was run only on the banked oval circuit, other layouts were later tried such as the Florio circuit which turned off before the Curva Poca to join the south banking and then ran down to the Curva Grande.

In 1932 and 1933 the Italian Grand Prix was again run on the full 10 km circuit, however the deaths of Campari, Borzacchini and Czaykowski in crashes on the south banking due to oil on the track in 1933 spelled the end for the full 10 km circuit which was never used again for the Grand Prix.

Several views of the horribly tight layout used in 1934............ ............The average race speed was only 105 km/h

In the years up to 1938, a number of short circuit alternatives were used at Milano for Grand Prix racing, with no race at all in 1937, and this sad period in the tracks history came to an end with a final race on the Florio circuit in September 1938.

The track was then reconstructed as a shadow of its former self with the banking demolished and the Curva Poca (later reconstructed as the Parabolica) removed, and the central straight moved slightly and lengthened, to join back onto the start/finish straight via 2 tight turns.

The road course that GPLers are familiar with was constructed by slight modifications of the original Milano layout in 1955.

Circuito di Milano Historical Links
Comprehensive history of Milano/Monza, including the campaign to save the banking:

The official modern Monza track site:

D. David's very good Grand Prix History site:

Automobile Racing Between The Wars, another excellent site:




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