The Mille Miglia usually drags into our town of Vicenza in the late afternoon, cars creep through the Piazza Signori, then roar out of town via the Corso Palladio.
This year we decided to do it differently and went to where the action starts, Brescia, early in the day, a university town about 100km northeast of Milan, to get a look at over 400 vintage gas-guzzlers on their way to Rome and back.
We navigated crowds through the narrow old lanes, finally coming out to a group of open plazas where the vehicles assemble.
It’s positively medieval, pageantry reigns, not to mention the constant roar of finely-tuned engines and the omnipresent scent of perfect fuel mix.
The great spectator sport is trying to figure out who’s driving, textile heir, retired industrialist, movie star, corporate executive, tech millionaire, classy collector? And who’s sitting in the passenger seat?
Business partner, significant other, weekend lover, paid navigator, person you’re trying to impress?
This sport requires more than a large sum of cash and the appropriate costuming and headgear.
The prizes don’t amount to anything much, and the goal is simply to say, I did it.
One can only sympathize with the singular thrill of waving to the assembled masses as you put the pedal to the metal and motor into the Italian hinterlands, land of fantasy and recollection, for a particular moment in time, lost in the way things used to be and never will be again.
Photos by Paula Sweet
Stanley Moss is a brand guru, philosopher, global gypsy, writer, and artist whose novel, The Hacker, was published in India. He’s Founder of The Club of Venice,a private conversation on brands and branding. He is also a faculty member at Verona’s Academia di Belle Arti Cignaroli, and Travel Editor for a New Zealand fashion magazine. Based in Vicenza, he thrives on food, conversation and multiple cups of Italian coffee. Stanley is travel editor and writes for Lucire and also has his own blog.
Concierge tip: Why not arrange your own bespoke Mille Miglia itinerary by booking the Baglioni Tour? We’ll help you design an unforgettable Italian journey to take in as many inspiring stops as you want!