The Mille Miglia Museum, telling the history of the most beautiful race in the world
Brescia’s Mille Miglia Museum tells the story of the most beautiful race in the world, which was first held in May 1927 over a 1,628-kilometer itinerary from Brescia to Rome and back.
Only 54 of the 77 participants reached the finish line in the inaugural edition. One of them was 35-year-old Tazio Nuvolari, who would go on to win the competition in 1930 and 1933.
In 1977, the Mille Miglia became a regularity race reserved for vintage cars made up until 1957, and since 2004 the cars that made this spectacular racing event so famous have been on display in the halls of the early-11th-century Monastery of Santa Eufemia della Fonte.
Many of the vehicles were immortalized by journalists, writer, and even songwriters over the decades. In “Mille Miglia, prima” by poet Roberto Roversi, for example, Lucio Dalla sings:
Partivano di notte / arrivavano di sera / lungo mille chilometri / di una fantastica carrera. // Quando facevano ritorno / il cielo scendeva basso / colpiva la terra al cuore come un sasso […] // Mille Miglia di un anno ormai lontano, / il giorno dà le sue prime boccate / quando sulle strade verdi e in piano / urlano le grosse cilindrate. // Ultime partenze al mattino / quando l’alba non è ancora sfumata, / zaffate di gomma e di polvere, / tutta l’Italia è risvegliata… (“They left in the night / arrived in the evening / after a thousand kilometers / of a fantastic race. // When they went back / the sky was low, / and hit the earth in the heart like a rock […] // Mille Miglia of a now faraway year, / the day was just coming up for air / when across green and level streets / the high-powered engines roared. // The last started in the morning / when dawn had not faded yet, / and with a waft of rubber and dust / all of Italy awakened…”).
Rev up your engines!