Giro di Sicilia 2015

by Ron Miriello

As we motored slowly through the town of Enna, Sicily I spotted a boy holding his father’s hand, grasping a model racing car in the other. One of many images I have from the Giro di Sicilia classic race around the island. In Sicily, it is not simply an auto race, it’s a tradition, a symbol, a celebration.

Since 1912, Sicily has been host to the Giro di Sicilia and then the Targa Florio, storied events started by the beloved Vicenzo Florio. The races helped put Sicilia on the world stage as automobile constructors tested their most powerful prototype cars on these open roads. The Sicilian became a part of the race, serving as an unofficial pit crew, and offering unsolicited team support.

I was invited to co-drive a 1959 Fiat 1200, by a soon-to-be new best friend, Isidoro from Palermo. We toured for four days together, collecting applause from small villages, gifts from mayors, being honored by local bands. I had waited for years for the perfect occasion to experience Sicily in all its intensity and passion, this was it. Now, I was racing through Campobello di Mazara, Piazza Amerina, Pergusa, Leonforte, Etna, Cerda, four beautiful days of intense beauty, magic and machines. Learning race lore, eating too well, making friends (a serious responsibility in Sicily), and driving the very same circuits as Nuvolari, Fangio and Vaccarella. The Giro di Sicilia, with my new friends from the Auto Club Panormus, brought me to remember my model car days of yester-year and the faded dreams of being an auto racer. Bella Sicilia invited me to live the dream that is their Giro di Sicilia.

Photos © Ron Miriello

August 10, 2015