The one who a few days ago became King Charles III of England, in the eighties united two great passions: polo and Tuscany. He was playing in Punta Ala, King Charles, on a field that just in the days when England mourns the disappearance of Queen Elizabeth returns to be set in the splendid Maremma fresco. From Wednesday 14 to Saturday 17 September, Punta Ala, a ‘daughter’ fraction of the municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia, will host the “Punta Ala Polo Cup”, an event that marks the restart of the great polo in a location that has its roots in the equestrian tradition and of equestrian sports in our country. The “Polo Cup” will lead the way to the great event that the International Polo Federation has assigned to the Fise (Italian Federation of Equestrian Sports), the women’s European Championship scheduled for next year in Punta Ala, with the Italy team on the field as champion in load.
The idea of giving a new horizon to the great polo in this jewel of the Maremma came from Gaia Bulgari, president of the organizing committee of the Punta Ala Polo Cup, who with her proactive spirit, combined with her passion for sport and horses decided, 30 years after the last matches, to rebuild the historic polo field, restoring the Punta Ala Equestrian Club with valuable interventions and in line with the strictest principles in respect of biodiversity. Thanks to this exciting work of recovery, restoration and reconstruction, Gaia Bulgari has given new life to the camp – improving its technical and structural solutions – which, in addition to the King of England, was frequented in the past by the legendary brothers Piero and Raimondo D’Inzeo, by the Argentine ‘fathers’ of polo and by great players from the Old Continent.
“The emotion is very strong, because we have always considered horses here a natural fact for tradition and love for equestrian sports. Up to 30 years ago, the Centro Ippico Punta Ala was a point of reference for polo in Italy, but more generally of all horse riding – explains Bulgari-. The goal we have set ourselves since 2019, the year in which we began to renovate the facility, is to restore it to its ancient splendor, returning it to the community of Punta Ala and all those who, like us, deeply love equestrian sports “.
Polo, in Italy, is on the rise, due to the charm of the union between the horse and its rider or its rider, but also because the FISE through various projects and initiatives is guiding its relaunch, in places that enhance the nature, sustainability, biodiversity and of course sport. In everyone’s eyes there is still the success of Italia Polo Challenge, a tour that took place between Cortina d’Ampezzo (Belluno Dolomites), Rome (Villa Borghese) and Arzachena (Sassari): a triumph of sport and worldliness and a engine for the restart of tourism after two years of pandemic. “Knowing that a historic place for the Italian polo such as Punta Ala will return to host events is extraordinary news – commented Alessandro Giachetti, coordinator of the polo department of Fise -. Through the polo arena, we have set ourselves the goal of making to know this discipline to the youngest and to those who may have never heard of polo, and the response has been enormous. With events like this, built in the name of sustainability and immersion in nature, we launch ourselves towards another splendid adventure like that of the 2023 European Championship, where we will be able to defend the title at home. My thanks go to Gaia Bulgari and all the Punta Ala Polo Club for the passion and for all the efforts made in recent months “.
If the Italia Polo Challenge has focused on the Arena Polo formula – reduced field and three riders per team instead of four – to allow practice even in smaller spaces such as the Villa Borghese Galoppatoio or the Abbiadori football field in Sardinia, traditional polo will be played in Punta Ala. It will therefore be an extraordinary and breathtaking spectacle for those who have never attended a polo match and for all those who love it. The teams will compete on a field of 260 meters in length by 140 in width which, even in the choice of grass, has been studied in detail. Designed by engineer Alejandro Battro, the greatest expert in polo fields in the world, the lawn of the Punta Ala Polo Club, theater of this week’s tournament and also of next year’s European Championship, was made using paspalum, a genetically modified grass grass that is particularly resistant. to land where there is water with a high level of salinity, such as the one that flows in the Punta Ala area.
There will be four teams at the start, formed with the same handicap coefficient (8) based on the list of players, from Argentina, United States, France and Germany: US Polo Polo Team, Podernuovo Polo Team, Hotel Gallia Polo Team and Battistoni Polo Team. The traditional parade of teams on horseback at the Marina of Punta Ala will open the Punta Ala Polo Cup on Wednesday at 6 pm, with the participation of the musical band of the city of Grosseto and vintage cars. The first matches of the tournament are scheduled for Thursday, at 5 pm and 6 pm, which will decide the pairing of the semifinals on Friday 16th. The final for third place will be played on Saturday at 5 pm, while the final will begin at 6 pm. Four Italians on the pitch: Riccardo Paganelli and Franco Mancini with the US Polo, Goffredo Cutinelli Rendina with Podernuovo and Alexander Aggravi with the Hotel Gallia.