On September 30, 2011 the Italian city of Palermo (Sicily) invites all lovers of horses, horse racing and other equestrian sports at the traditional international tournament Coppa degli Assi. In this representative competition every year take part the best athletes from Europe, Argentina, New Zealand and the United States.
Horse races in Palermo are often called the "little Olympics" due to the highest level of the participating riders, many of which are real Olympic champions. The total prize fund of Coppa degli Assi is 154000 €. This year horse racing will start in Palermo on September 30, and although the city is quite large and has many hotels and motels, it is better to book a room near the hippodrome in advance.
The races will take place in the famous park Parco della Favorita. The park was constructed in 1799 by the order of Ferdinand I, the King of the Two Sicilies. Its area is 400 hectares and today Parco della Favorita is one of the largest parks in Europe. In addition to the hippodrome it has such interesting tourist sites as the Chinese Palace (also built in 1799), which was a summer royal residence, ethnographic and ecological museums and art gallery with a rich collection of works of the Italian artists.
Located on the northern coast of Sicily Palermo is a symbol of the island. It is also called the "open-air museum", because during three thousand years the city streets absorbed the best architectural ornaments of the Greeks, Arabs, Romans and Normans. And despite the fact that the city was badly damaged during World War II, its streets are full of unique historical monuments. The city has 295 churches and cathedrals, the most popular of which is the Cathedral of St. Rosalia (Palermo patron) built in the Gothic style by the Norman King William II in 1169.
Photo: Valeriy Sazonov