#discoveringsansiro is a tour of San Siro and its most beautiful historical interest sites. Seven totems, placed on key areas of the racecourse, allow visitors to discover history, people and parks as well as read tales on how the premise preserved its liberty stile since 1920.
On racing days, visitors may enjoy carriage rides. Starting from Palazzina del Peso (weighting room) to Tondino di presentazione (parade ring), trough the botanic garden up to Leonardo’s horse.
From the architect of San Siro to the farmer developing the area.
In 1911, Società Trenno called an international tender to build the new gallop racecourse in Milan. The architect Paolo Vietti Violi was awarded with his liberty style project. The structure was open on 1920. Vietti Violi designed more than 30 racecourses and sports facility in Italy and abroad.
Another historical character in the Italian horse racing is Federico Tesio. He is one of the most important farmer, owner and trainer of horses. Father of unique champions such as Tenerani and Ribot, he always considered San Siro tracks as the most difficult ones for thoroughbreds. His horses dominated Italian and European racecourses for decades.
As of today, no one has been awarded with the same number of trophies received by Federico Tesio: 22 awards as farmer and 16 as owner.
An idea galloping for centuries.
The largest equine bronze sculpture in the world created by artist Nina Akamu and fully inspired by the original Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches. The original cast was commissioned in 1482 by Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro in memory of his father Francesco. The sculpture was never completed: Leonardo did extensive preparatory work, which delayed the creation of the sculpture until the French troops occupied the Este duchy. The bronze stored for the cast was then seized and used to build cannons.
French occupied the city forcing Sforza’s family and Leonardo to leave and destroyed the cast by using it as target for archers and crossbowmen.
In 1977, Charles Dent, an amateur artist and American pilot, set up the non-profit organization Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Foundation (LDVHF) to finance the project and recreated the unfinished sculpture, after more than five hundred years from the original project.
The cast was donated to the city of Milan with the request to place it in a suitable and safety location. The Foundation, among several premises, selected San Siro racecourse. The cast was unveiled in autumn 1999.
Trivial but useful.
Horse racing betting is ultimately a simple thing: choose you favourite horse, bet on winning or placing and then wait for the race. Or better, live the race. Indeed, after betting you feel somehow owner of the horse too: admiring him at parade ring, following him during race-preparation, watching him racing, supporting him few inches to the finish line and then… celebrating win or being sorry for defeat.
Betting is the main vehicle to collect funds to breed horses, organize races, improve breeds and horses welfare. If done responsible and with no excess, betting may entertain as well as support horse racing.
The beating heart of San Siro.
Palazzina del Peso (weighting room) is the key site of Milan racecourse. Owners, farmers, trainers, jockeys, commissioners and jury center around this building to assist at jockeys’ weighing in and weighing out.
Weighing is an old ritual lasting for more than a century: all jockeys must weigh out before a race to make sure they and their kit (including the saddle) are the right weight for the race. If a jockey is lighter than the weight the horse has to carry, the difference will be made up by thin lead weights in a special saddle cloth. After the race the jockey must weigh in with all his kit (including saddle), to confirm that the horse carried the right weight and prize giving takes place. Held every time there is a ride on every racecourse in the world, such ritual fosters a long lasting passion and love for this unique sport.
Careful preparation and constant checks of each thoroughbred.
Preparation to ride is very detailed: dedicated staff brushes thoroughbred before race, cleans hooves and prepares horse kit. Vets check health of horses and then allow saddling by trainers.
Then, staff leads horses to the parade ring for public exhibition. At the ring-center, riders, trainers and owners agree on riding strategy. Then, two speaker announcements: “get on horse” and after one or two more rounds of the ring a new announcement “Go to the track”.
Honours for everyone.
After the ride, horses are lead by riders and staff before the weighing building to be unsaddled. Riders remove saddles and provide feedback to trainers and owners on ride and horse performance. Vets check horses and authorise their recovery in the stables.
Riders get ready for weighing out. Thereafter, prize giving takes places, winner is awarded and pictures are taken.
A green lung close to Milan downtown.
The horse racing area of Milan represents an extremely important resource of the city.
SNAI San Siro racecourse has an invaluable botanic park with 55 species, both indigenous and imported from different countries (all recorded and labelled). Some species have almost 100 years.
A small lake hosts ducks and other species of rare migratory birds. San Siro is a large green lung ranging from Piazzale Lotto to training tracks, Trenno park, Boscoincittà, Parco delle Cave up to Parco Sud crops.