In 2014 I was in Tuscany for a wedding. While visiting Lucca one afternoon (after seeing it featured on an episode of Top Gear) my wife and I came across a perplexing sight. The medieval city was silly with phenomenal cars. Every piazza was filled with classic Fiats and modern marvels from Ferrari and Mercedes. People were handing out pennants with “1000 Miglia” on them. I had no idea what it meant, but it was a pretty cool interlude.
When leaving Lucca to head back to our hotel in the Tuscan hills we ended up on a cordoned-off road lined with thousands of people and escorted by Italian police on motorcycles. I was urged by them and the crowd to drive at speed with some of the top performance cars on the planet through the hills of Tuscany.
For 15km I unwittingly experienced the fabled Mille Miglia. To be specific, I experienced the tribute races for Mercedes and Ferrari as they passed through ahead of the main race.
Upon returning home I devoured everything I could on the history of this event and it’s current iteration as a rally event. I wondered if it would be possible to replicate those 15 km of absolute automotive freedom, showered with adulation from the Italian masses, for the full 1000 miles of the race. Could someone who could not possibly afford to participate in a period authentic car in the actual event follow along like I did on those roads outside of Lucca?
I sure as shit didn’t know. But I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I saved every penny I could, rented an M4, and flew to Italy for my 40th birthday with my brother in to to see if I could recapture the feeling of those 20 minutes across the full 4 days and 1000 miles of the race.
My intention is to recount that experience through a series of posts. I hope you find this interesting at minimum and inspiring at best. The Mille Miglia is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and you do not have to pilot a quarter million dollar classic to be a part of it.
Besides which we are going back in 2019 and would love to find some other regular fools to split a few (dozen) bottles of wine with along the route.