If you are in northern Italy this week, then you might want to keep your eyes peeled for competitors in the “most beautiful race in the world” – the Mille Miglia Storica, or as they call it now, the 1000 Miglia.
These days it’s not really a race; more a spectacular procession of vintage racing cars, from the city of Brescia near Lake Garda, to Rome and back.
It has its roots in the annual Mille Miglia (‘Thousand Mile’) open road race which began in 1927. It later became a rally but was banned permanently in 1957 after a spate of road crashes that killed drivers and spectators.
In 1977 the Automobile Club of Brescia resurrected the event as a Time-Speed-Distance controlled endurance ‘race’ for pre-1957 classic cars that had been in the original race.
The route to & from Rome changes. Last year they went via Bologna.
This year the 425 participants will set off tomorrow (15 June) and drive a clockwise route nearly 2,000 kilometres long, in four days, through 250 municipalities.
They will set off in the afternoon towards Lake Garda, pass through Desenzano, Salò and Sirmione before heading south and descending to the Adriatic coast. From Parco Giardino Sigurtà they will continue on to Mantua and Ferrara. Here the race dinner is scheduled in the Teatro Comunale, and will be the prelude to the approach to the Comacchio coast. The leg will end in Cervia-Milano Marittima for the first overnight stop.
The morning of Thursday, 16 June will be all about climbs and descents. After Forlì and Gambettola, the cars will climb the hairpin bends leading to Mount Titano in the micro state of San Marino. From here they descend to cross the Marche region and head to the historic city of Urbino. After stopping for lunch in Passignano sul Trasimeno, the journey will resume to arrive at the Autodromo dell’Umbria and then in Norcia, the easternmost point of the race. From here the return to central Italy, with descent over Terni and Rieti to the arrival in Rome and the Via Veneto parade.
On Friday 17th, the ascent from the capital to Parma will cross four regions. The race will leave Lazio via Ronciglione and Marta. Then Tuscany to Siena, with a stop for lunch in Piazza del Campo. The Siena refreshment stop will be a prelude to the passages of San Miniato, Pontedera and Cascina, then on to Viareggio and Versilia. After Sarzana will start the climb to the impressive Passo della Cisa, the last effort before the arrival in Parma.
Saturday 18th will see the drivers pass through Varano De’ Melegari and Salsomaggiore and on to Stradella and Pavia. From the Autodromo di Monza, the race will head to Bergamo, then Chiari and Travagliato before arriving back in Brescia.
Get your camera out.