Every year in mid-May, motoring enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Italy for the Mille Miglia, or "thousand miles" race, which many aficionados consider the most beautiful race in the world. This scenic road race was first started by the "Four Musketeers" of Italian automobile sports: Count Aymo Maggi, Count Franco Mazzotti, Giovanni Canestrini, and Renzo Castagneto. These visionary automobile enthusiasts organized the first Mille Miglia in 1927, and the racing event continued for 30 successful years until it was banned in 1957 after a tragic accident took the lives of eleven people. After the event was reborn in 1977, it was no longer a speed race, but rather a historic competition based on a points system and regulated with time checkpoints and legal speed limits.
Despite the changes the race has undergone, the Mille Miglia has not lost any popularity over the years. Spectators gather in Brescia in the days before the race for pre-event exhibitions of participating cars and sealing ceremonies, the latter of which involves attaching seals to the steering columns; the seals are given to commemorate participation and to ensure that the same car is used throughout the whole race.
The most anticipated event for most spectators is the exhibition before the ceremony, which extends into various squares in Brescia, including Piazza Della Loggia, Piazza Paolo VI, Piazza Della Vittoria, and Via Dieci Giornate. Vehicles are on display to the public, and they attract many car lovers over the course of the day. At the start of the race, eager spectators line the streets to watch the cars depart.
This year, the event will run from Thursday, May 14, until Sunday, May 17, with exhibitions and administrative events taking place on May 12 and 13. Each day's route is as follows:
Thursday, May 14: Brescia - Rimini (Mille Miglia cars depart from Viale Venezia)
Friday, May 15: Rimini - Roma
Saturday, May 16: Roma - Parma
Sunday, May 17: Parma - Brescia
The Mille Miglia 2015 promises another year of excellence in international vintage motoring, and if you're looking for an unforgettable experience, you can follow the race in your own Italian rental car. Most of the Mille Miglia route is open to the public and normal traffic during the race, so it is possible to follow the historic cars on their beautiful tour of Italy.
Official entrants pay around €8,500 to participate in the Mille Miglia, and there are strict regulations regarding what motor vehicles are eligible. Accepted cars are models that participated or were entered in the historic Mille Miglia speed races between 1927 and 1957, so you can expect to see models such as the Cisitalia 204, Fiat 750 Coupe, Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Monza, Austin Healey 100, Aston Martin Ulster, BMW 328 Berlinetta, and a wide variety of models by Bugatti, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lancia, and many more. The winner is decided by a complex points-accumulation system based on completing certain stretches of the route in pre-determined times and arriving at checkpoints on time.
If you'd like to join the Mille Miglia cars on their scenic journey, remember these three rules:
1. Never overtake a Mille Miglia entrant.
2. Always give way to a Mille Miglia entrant.
3. Stick to the speed limit, and enjoy the drive!