Connect with Firenze Made in Tuscany

Sign up our newsletter

Get more inspiration, tips and exclusive itineraries in Florence

Mille Miglia Val d'Orcia

text Gianni Mercatali

December 21, 2009

The history of Italy by car

From a heated national competition to an elegant re-enactment. The Mille Miglie is back

The automobile is freedom. So said Enzo Ferrari. It’s the possibility to move around, to travel. To discover the beauty of places. With this was born, at the beginning of the last century, speed and its myth. It was at this time that the auto, together with new technological discoveries in communication such as the telegraph, the radio, airplanes, came to change completely the perception of distance and time, both bringing people nearer to one another. The beginning of the 20th century was invaded by a new wind which brought a new reality to human beings: speed, exactly. Marinetti, Boccioni, Carrà, Balla, Severini and Russolo had already, in 1910, signed the futurist painter’s manifesto. And it’s fitting that at the beginning of that century myth became reality by way of racing. In Brescia in 1929 the 1000 Miglia was born, from where the race took off and in the form of a figure eight, going to Rome and back, for a distance of exactly 1000 miles. A unique race, without stops, exploring Italy along the way.

But if the automobile in its daily use represents one of the principal elements with which to do tourism, with which to go and discover the beauty of nature, of the country and the city, itself, with its esthetic characteristics, becomes a thing of beauty which blends with the surroundings. And also for the historic commemoration of the 1000 Miglia Tuscany represented—with its roads, its landscape, and its art locales—a unique itinerary where the harmony of place is melded perfectly with the design of the 382 automobiles in competition. From Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, San Giovanni d’Asso, Buonconvento, to the Piazza del Campo in Siena where there were unleashed not the horses of the Palio but those of motors. And then Monteriggioni, crossing the Chianti to San Casciano Val di Pesa where the participants stopped for refreshment. A course whose curves were made famous by many duels between the car racing champions.

Returning on the Cassia after five years of absence in the historic commemoration editions. And then Florence, passing over the Ponte alle Grazia, with the Ponte Vecchio in the background, heading to the Bolognese and arriving in Bologna by way of the Futa pass. The Florentine crews were ten, among which Stefano Ricci with Filippo Scarpelli, Gilberto and Andrea Focardi, Mauro Lotti, Ermini, Massimo Massai and Lisa Ragionieri, Claudia Tagliaferri and Elisa Panzeri, Marcello Fratini with the champion Roberto Benelli. First classification for the Florentines was Niccolò Ricci with Elisabetta Bardelli on board a 1933 Aston Martin Les Mans, 46th in the general classification. Among the stars, Matthias Müller, president of Porsche, with a 1954 car from the house of Stuttgart; Adrian Hallmark, general director of Jaguar Cars Limited; Dieder Zetsche, president of Mercedes Benz Cars in a 1955 “seagull’s wing”; Kark Scheufele, president of Chopard and world sponsor of the race; and Alberto Bombassei ,Vice-president of Confindustria. Defending the Italian flag as both pilot and maker was the president of the Fiat Group, John Elkann, who with his wife Lavinia Borromeo as navigating co-pilot, traveled the 1600 kilometers on board a Fiat 8V, a small sporty sedan built in limited series between 195 and 1954. This first experience of theirs was recounted interestingly via real-time Twitter posts. 

You may be interested

Samuele Bersani 2022 ph paolo de francesco
What to do this week in Florence and surroundings

Events, exhibitions and appointments not to be missed from 26 April to 1 May 2022

Chef Vito Mollica
Vito Mollica returns to Florence and tells us about his new project Chic Nonna

From 15 April, the Michelin-starred chef will coordinate the food and wine offer of Salotto Portinari Bar & Bistrot, and from June he will be at the helm of the Chic Nonna restaurant.

Crostini di Fegatini
The foolproof recipe for chicken livers croutons

Would you like to rediscover the Florentine tradition in the kitchen with a simple recipe? We will help you with the ingredients and the procedure of the Florentine starter par excellence.

Dantedì 2022. All the appointments in Florence

Exhibitions, conferences and walks in the calendar on March 25, the national day dedicated to Dante

four seasons ph. Dario Garofalo
Duco Travel in Florence from 21 to 25 March

The international event dedicated to high-end tourism is back in Tuscany

villa medicea poggio a caiano
Fai Spring Days 2022: March 26th and 27th in Tuscany

Our mini-guide to choose which FAI visits to book province by province

sartoria-vestrucci 11
On his feast day, surprise him with a unique gift just like your Dad

The artisans of Florence perfect for a tailor-made idea for Him

Donatello a Palazzo Strozzi ©photo Ela Bialkowska OKNO studio
Donatello in exhibition in Florence

At Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello Museums, the artist who changed the history of art and kicked off the Florentine Renaissance

Marchese Giuseppe Paternò Castello di San Giuliano
Our Exclusive interview with Giuseppe Paternò Castello di San Giuliano

In his Florentine residence, Marchese Giuseppe di San Giuliano, is sharing family stories, passions and his model trains


Connect with Firenze Made in Tuscany