Mille Miglia: History And Legend
Enzo Ferrari called it "the most beautiful race in the world". Due to its distinctive signs, which pointed out the way to the drivers as there were no satellite navigators back then, it was known as "the red arrow".
Its historical reconstruction is referred to as a "travelling museum". Without a doubt it is the most impressive classic car event in the world: the Mille Miglia. A proper legend, emblematic of a passion for cars, challenges and adventure.
85 years since its debut, 375 cars built between 1927 and 1957 will follow the historical Brescia-Rome-Brescia route passing through six regions and the Republic of San Marino, taking in some of the loveliest scenery in Italy.
Tuscany has always had a special role to play in the event.
After all, Barsanti and Matteucci, the inventors of the internal combustion engine, hail from this region.
Without taking anything away from Emilia and its people's love of cars and from Brescia, where this competition actually comes from, Tuscany has nevertheless been the scene of some glorious moments with stars like Clemente Biondetti and Pasquino Ermini.
The former picked up four victories in 1938 and 1947 with Alfa Romeo and in 1948 and 1949 with Ferrari. His amazing experiences as a driver and a real car connoisseur led to him creating a Jaguar Biondetti Special in 1950 and a Ferrari Jaguar Biondetti the following year, cars that are still unique today.
Pasquale Ermini, who everyone called Pasquino, had started out as a mechanic and driver in the Twenties and Thirties. However, it was in the early years after the war that Officine Ermini opened up in Viale Matteotti, in Florence, a garage where the top drivers at the time had their racing cars manufactured, capable of matching up to Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Mercedes.
Its 'Siluro' cars, the small 'Frua' saloon and 357 Scaglietti have gone down in history as true masterpieces of engineering and mechanics. In the history of motorcars, Ermini has the same values as a boat: they are basic and spartan cars, yet possessing unmistakable lines and personalities.
Biondetti and Ermini were part of Allegri al Volante (literally, "happy at the wheel] since its foundation in Florence in 1949. It was a drivers' association that brought an air of Florence to the Mille Miglia.
Dissolved in 1953, it was re-founded in 2006 by a few enthusiastic drivers and gentlemen, who were all strictly Florentine car collectors. Il Club Allegri del Volante now has twelve members, nine of whom will take place in the next competition.
They all share a sporting spirit, determination, rigour, real passion and a pinch of romanticism.
The classic cars will pass through our region on Saturday 19th May for the third and final Rome-Brescia stage, preceded by a line of 150 Ferraris built from 1957 onwards.
The Siena transit will take place from 10:35 am to 2:10 pm, whereas from Florence, where they'll also be a time check, it'll be from 12:30 to 4 pm. The lunch break for all the crews, however, is expected to take place in San Casciano Val di Pesa.
"We are happy, said Sandro Binelli, General Secretary of Mille Miglia and Chairman of Mac Group, which organises the event with Meet, "that Prime Minister Mario Monti wanted to be a member of the Honorary Committee, alongside the Presidents of the Senate and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economic Development, and Tourism and Sport."