In the spa town of Merano there is the historical hippodrome which was inaugurated in 1935.
For 85 years now, the 40 ha large area of the Merano-Maia Racecourse has been one of the leading racecourses in Italy and one of the most famous equestrian facilities in Europe. The hippodrome can be found in the quarter of Maia Bassa (Untermais), only a few metres from the eponymous train station. Since its inauguration in 1935, the horse race “Grand Prix of Merano” has been the most successful competition taking place in this facility. It is still held on the last weekend in September and attracts thousands of spectators. It is one of the most important steeplechases in Europe.
Thanks to its central geographical location and its 2,000 m long flat track with various indoor obstacle courses, the racecourse has now become a popular meeting place for Central European racing stables. Until 2014, the Forst Beer Brewery was the main sponsor, today it is the Autonomous Province of Bolzano with the umbrella brand of South Tyrol. The facility is owned by the Municipality of Merano and managed by the Merano Galoppo Ltd. The season ends in October and comprises 25 race days: the first official one is staged in May.
But already on Easter Monday a famous event takes place here: the Haflinger Gallop Races. The event includes a festively parade with horses, music and parade floats, leading from the town centre to the Merano-Maia Racecourse. However, the hippodrome also serves as a backdrop for other events. Sometimes it even turns into a concert arena: the historical Maia Music Festival was staged here in 2019, presenting famous music stars such as Alvaro Soler and “Il Volo”.
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