Mille Miglia

People with a strong vision can create something big – even under the worst conditions. In the mid-1920s, the difficult economic situation forced the major Italian car manufacturers, such as Bianchi, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, to rethink their commitment to motorsports. The town of Brescia, which had a long tradition of racing, came under additional pressure by the opening of the Monza course near Milan in 1922.

Starting the legend

The Musketeers from Brescia: Three young enthusiasts from the automobile club of Brescia, Conte Aymo Maggi, Conte Franco Mazzotti and Renzo Castagneto, joined forces to put Brescia back on the map by developing a spectacular event. Their vision was very bold: a 1,600-km race from Brescia to Rome and back. Motorsport journalist Giovanni Canestrini noted that this was about 1,000 miles, and realized that this could give the race a memorable name – Mille Miglia. In those days, a race that long was a huge challenge, given that many cars had to change oil every 600 km and tires were not made to cope with the many obstacles to be found on the bad roads. However, the bold men from Brescia managed to organize the first race in less than four months; and started a legend…

Icons of the race

From 1927 to 1957 Mille Miglia became the birthplace of legends and transformed drivers including Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Caracciola and Stirling Moss into unforgettable heroes. Carmakers such as Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ferrari and Porsche drove themselves into the hearts of car lovers all around the world. The appeal of Mille Miglia was so strong that in its heyday the race attracted an estimated five million spectators each year.

Learn more about the Mille Miglia in our news archive.

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