As you may or may not know, Tuscany is still in the Orange Zone, meaning we aren’t allowed to travel outside our city’s limits. As a result, I’ve been getting to know Florence better and better. Maybe too well. Ha ha. I joke, but I would really like to go somewhere!
Making the best of things, on a recent walk through the Cascine, I spotted these horses practicing their runs in the Cascine Racecourse, also known as the Visarno. Just an fyi: the park hosts a number of civil and sport infrastructures, such as tennis and football fields, a velodrome, shooting and archery fields, two hippodromes, a public swimming pool, the School of Air War, a visitor’s center, police offices, the Faculty of Agronomy and a public school.
There are two racecourses in the park: one for trotting (to the west) and one for galloping (in the center). The gallop racecourse covers an area of 233,000 m² of which 120,000 m² is for running and training tracks, 15,000 m² for stables and 12,000 m² for the public. A structure has 15,000 seats for the public.
The racecourse consists of an oval-shaped racing track with a length of 1961.60 meters and a width of 19.50 meters on the home straight. In addition to the large track, a system of intersection of curves also allows a shorter route: the medium track. Within this complex, there is an even shorter track, on grass.
About 25 years ago there was also an eight-shaped steeple-chase track for obstacle racing, which developed for 1396.85 meters. It was dismantled to make room for a polo field. The training track, inside the small track, is in sand, over 1350 meters long.
Since 2016 the Visarno hippodrome has also become the operational headquarters of the Part Guelph Archconfraternity which enjoys the privilege of representing the Municipality of Florence for ceremonial events on horseback as a Cavalry of the Florentine Republic and the privilege of performing honor services. during audiences and receptions of the Florentine Archdiocese.
Since the summer 2015, the racecourse has been used as an arena to host events and concerts by many important national and international artists, including: David Gilmour, Massive Attack, Einstürzende Neubauten, Sting, Duran Duran, Max Pezzali, Litfiba, and Guns N ‘ Roses. In 2017, the first edition of the Firenze Rocks festival was held there. Sadly, due to Covid, nothing was held in the summer of 2020 and who knows about 2021? although at this time some concerts are on the calendar.