Italian Grand Prix 2014

Experience the excitement of Gran Premio d'Italia

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

Italian Grand PrixWhen people imagine a holiday in the north of Italy, the usual suspects are almost always mentioned. The celebrity playground and scenic beauty spot that is Lake Como; the cultural and artistic hotbed of Turin; the sprawling urban chaos of Milan; Verona’s lauded romanticism. It really does have something to offer everyone. For the petrol heads of this world, though, there’s no finer time to visit the country than in early September. This is when Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and all the other superstars of Formula One descend upon the town of Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.  

An event of pedigree, the race is up there with the oldest on the Formula One calendar. Indeed, the event featured in the inaugural championship in 1950, and – along with our own British Grand Prix – is the only one to have occurred every year since then. The aforementioned Vettel popped the champagne last time around, so all eyes are on the conquering German to see if he can live up to former glories. 


Italian Grand Prix 2014: the lowdown


Italian Grand Prix 2014: setting Italian Grand Prix 2014: setting

The wonderful Autodromo Nazionale Monza was opened in 1922 as home to the earliest incarnations of the Italian Grand Prix. Notoriously tricky for even the most experienced drivers, the number of long straights on which to pick up speed are somewhat nullified by the sheer volume of chicanes and hairpin bends. Many a star has fallen foul of the difficult conditions here, most notably Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 respectively. 

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Italian Grand Prix 2014: ticketing Italian Grand Prix 2014: ticketing

With the track boasting an impressive maximum capacity of 137,000, you shouldn’t struggle to bag yourself a brief – but if you want to be in the thick of the action, you should be prepared to pay top dollar. A seat in the grandstand by the starting grid will set you back a whopping £551 for the entire three days, whilst even the secondary seating weighs in at £397. If your legs can last the pace, you can pick up a general admission standing pass for a much more agreeable £86, covering all three days of motoring madness. 

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Italian Grand Prix 2014: schedule Italian Grand Prix 2014: schedule

Although officially the three-day calendar runs between Friday 5 to Sunday 7 of September, ticket holders can treat themselves to a free pit walk between the hours of 4pm-5pm on Thursday 4. The drivers themselves get behind the wheel to scope out the track during Friday’s practice session, hoping to give themselves an advantage by the time Saturday’s crucial qualifiers kick off. The big day is, of course, the Sunday, when all starting positions have been confirmed and all that’s left is the epic tussle to claim top spot on the podium after 53 gruelling laps.

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Italian Grand Prix 2014: Monza Italian Grand Prix 2014: Monza

For the vast majority of the year, Monza is a fairly inconspicuous town – and to be fair, none the worse for it. The compact dimensions of the centre mean that you can take in the highlights at a canter, without worrying too much about negotiating with public transport – a trait which the Monzese people themselves endorse. The beautiful enclosed surroundings of the Parco di Monza are arguably the finest in which to absorb the taste of local life, such is its popularity amongst the town’s residents. Elsewhere, you must take the time to explore the Duomo Cathedral, supposedly home to one of the nails used in the crucifixion of Christ. 

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Italian Grand Prix 2014: Milan Italian Grand Prix 2014: Milan

Given that it’s a mere nine miles away from the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, it would be criminal not to spend some time in the financial capital of Italy. Of course, there’s more to Milan than merely business – not least around the mesmeric Piazza del Duomo. This is where you’ll find the grandiose Royal Palace, as well as the charming Galleria, colossal King Victor statue and a selection of top-end cafés and restaurants. Football lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the San Siro, one of the genuine spiritual sanctuaries of the sport and home to both rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan. Even if there’s no game on at the time, you can still embark on an impressively comprehensive tour of the grand old arena.

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Main theme © David Baxendale
Image 1 © Nic Redhead
Image 2 © David Baxendale
Image 3 © Nic Redhead

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