Our abroad trip, UA in Europe: Climate and Water, has two free days built into our schedule. One of these was out of Trento, Italy, on the 19th of May. This happened to be the same day that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (a Formula 1 race) in Imola, Italy, was occurring. Seeing that this was happening, a small chunk of our abroad group decided to attend. When would any of us be able to see a live F1 race in Italy again anyway?

We took an early train about three hours south to Imola, landing us there around 10:30. As we walked to the event, we traveled through the streets, getting to see the town’s charm. The actual race was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just the sounds of the cars speeding by sent chills up our bodies. In addition to the main event, many other races took place that day. There was even a memorial lap taken for Ayrton Senna, who had previously died racing on that track. Post-race, we got the chance to step onto the track and watch the awards being presented. Leaving the event was worse than trying to leave Tuscaloosa after a football game, in my opinion. Crowds swarmed the train station, and people packed like sardines into the regional commuters. Many people missed their scheduled trains because of this. We were lucky enough to make all of our trains back to Trento, even though each one was late to its destination.

By far, the craziest part was the number of Ferrari fans in attendance. In retrospect, it makes sense. Imola is like Ferrari’s home court, being an Italian brand with its factory around 50 miles away. It definitely showed through the sea of red in the crowd. Everywhere I turned would be a new Ferrari fan, with a couple of other teams scattered throughout the mix. To go along with that, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc placed third. When he was announced on the podium, everyone went crazy. Their fans really showed how much pride they have in their team and country, which was also a good cultural takeaway from the event.