Construction on Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the longtime home of the Italian Grand Prix and synonymous with European motor racing, begins on May 15, 1922.
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was the brainchild of Arturo Mercanti, a war hero, pilot and director of the Automobile Club of Milan beginning in 1919. In 1921, Mercanti staged the first Italian Grand Prix at Montichiari, in the Italian province of Brescia, but quickly hatched plans for a new, purpose-built racing circuit on the wooded grounds of the Monza Royal Palace.
The projected was supported and endorsed by various Italian car constructors looking for a permanent site to test different kinds of vehicles and their mechanical parts.
The famed Monza racing circuit is the third-oldest racetrack in the world, behind Brooklands in Britain and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Engineer Piero Puricelli was commissioned to build the track and, with the help of some 3,500 workers, finished the project in an astonishingly quick 110 days.
With a fast, predominantly long-straight layout, sweeping corners and just a few braking areas, it is called the Temple of Speed and has become a modern proving ground for the latest braking technology and tire development for race teams and even automakers.
The high-speed track was a simple oval but also was designed to link to the Formula One race circuit, allowing both to be used together if required. The curves were, in the early days, conservatively banked at about 20 percent, but in 1955, they were rebuilt with banking at just under 40 degrees -- equivalent to an 80 percent gradient.
The track has hosted more Grand Prix races than any other venue: Since 1950, the Italian Grand Prix has been run there every year except 1980, when it was staged in Imola.
For Formula One teams, drivers and fans, Monza's greatest distinction is simple glory: It's the fastest track of the season.