1000 MILES TO ROME AND BACK
Mille Miglia Vintage Sports Car Race in Italy
The classic Italian motoring event which runs from Brescia, Lombardy to Rome and back again takes place over a 4 day weekend with the driving taking 3 days. Born in 1927 the Mille Miglia was billed as the most beautiful road race in the world and a long cherished Italian tradition, immortalized by Federico Fellini and movies like “The Racers”. With Italian greats like Nuvolari and Ascari tearing through 1000 miles of Italian country roads and town squares in Bugatti's, Maserati's, Mercedes and Ferrari’s. The race was also the most dangerous road race in the world and ended in 1957 with a terrible accident. The event was revitalized as a timed rally and has grown into one of the world's premiere gatherings of vintage sports and touring cars. Almost 400 cars enter for the 3 day car party of classic million dollar machines following the famous “Red Arrow” from Piazza del Loggia to Ferrara, Rome and back across the Apennines of Tuscany.
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For car enthusiasts, the Mille Miglia is perhaps unique among modern day road racing events in that it is absolutely free to watch. Walk through the plaza during the all-day long Thursday check-in and safety inspection of the cars and get as close to museum quality auto art as you want, short of getting in the driver’s seat. Talk with the owners and drivers who will gladly tell you about their cars, with a twinkle of pride in the eyes.
Get an early seat at the outdoor café tables around the Piazza, or just stand on the street curb as dusk nears to watch 60 years of car history roar past on the way out of town, with the aroma of pure gasoline filling your nostrils and the echo of throaty pipes bouncing off the Cathedral square.
But you don’t have to follow the cars on the three day round trip journey. After watching the departure, take two days to enjoy Northern Italy. Visit Italy’s largest fresh water body (see Italy's Big Lake Playland) visit the many castles of the wine regions of Trentino (see Castles of Trentino) go cheese tasting in Parma or wine tasting in Franciacorta. On Sunday when the cars return, find a spot along the route in Modena or Reggio Nell'Emilia (see Taste of Italy Tours) or Casalmaggiore and catch the parade of cars as they pass through the city streets (see also Mille Miglia Museum).
It takes 3 or 4 hours for the full compliment of cars to pass so you still have time to get back up to Brescia for the finish, as the cars come through the viewing and award stands until almost midnight and the partying begins at clubs around Brescia.
Brescia is about an hour from Milan by motorway or about a half hour by train from Verona. Montichiari Airport is served by RyanAir (see Discount Airlines). To stay in Brescia, it is a good idea to reserve a room early for Wednesday or Thursday night. The train station in Bresica is unfortunately not in the center of the old town as other European cities and the streets are a bit confusing to drive around. Coming by car many hotels have signs posted as you enter town from the motorway, but it’s still easy to get a little lost. But you can always follow the Red Arrow. © Bargain Travel Europe
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