Mugello (Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello)

Scarperia, Italy30km north of Florence3.259 milesIf Imola is picturesque, across the Apennines toward Florence, there is an even more pleasant track at Mugello, hidden away in the rolling hill of the Chianti region.The name is historic, of course, for the Circuito di Mugello was a famous event in the Twenties when the likes of Giuseppe Campari, Alfieri Maserati and Enzo Ferrari thundered through the Tuscan countryside on a 40-mile road course reaching north towards Bologna and incorporating the great Futa Pass.Though revived in the late Fifties and Sixties, the Circuito, like the other great Italian road races, could not survive and a proper circuit was constructed near Barberino di Mugello. A superb, sweeping track, ranged across a valley, with the main straight feeding into a rising and curling right-hander. Sweeping across the hillside behind the pits, the track then sweeps downhill across a bridge and soars uphill, through a sweeping left-hander, to the other side of the valley.This was to become the home of Formula 2 and World Sportscar races in the Seventies, though with the Eighties the circuit ran into increasing financial difficulties and slipped into decay. There was constant talk of the valley being flooded to create a reservoir to serve nearby Florence, but it never happened and in 1988 the track was bought by Ferrari to be used as a testing facility.If international racing returns to Mugello, the sport as a whole will be better off for it.