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The Millemiglia was an important road racing competition, which was disputed from 1927 to 1957. The start and finish were set in Brescia, passing through Rome. The race took place on a total route of 1600 kilometers, or about one thousand imperial miles.
Since 1977, the race has been revived, but dedicated to vintage cars, produced prior to 1957 and originally registered or participants in the original competition.
It is not easy to accurately reconstruct the beginning of the “most beautiful race in the world”, as it was renamed in its golden age. The date of birth of the car event dates back to 2 December 1926, according to the indications given by one of its creators, Giovanni Canestrini, who in 1967 published the book Mille Miglia. Date indicating the arrival of a group of Brescians in Milan and a meeting from which the “Mille Miglia Cup” was born. The race was organized as a single race by Aymo Maggi and Renzo Castagneto, with the support of the financier Franco Mazzotti and the journalist Giovanni Canestrini. The formula was an immediate success, so much so as to push the organizing committee to repeat the event in the following years. The first edition saw the participation of 67 crews, who took to the starting line on March 26, 1927, while only 55 cars were able to reach the finish line. Ferdinando Minoia and Giuseppe Morandi, leading an OM were the first winners of the Millemiglia, taking 21 hours, 4 minutes and 48 seconds to finish the race.
In most of the editions, the Millemiglia was disputed following the Brescia-Rome-Brescia route, although with variations applied from year to year. The hourly average, around 77 km / h in 1927, rose to 157 km / h in 1955, which remained in the history of the race as a record average speed.
In 1938 the race was marked by a very serious accident. Shortly after Bologna, a racing car went off the road, knocking down and killing10 spectators and injuring 23 others. Benito Mussolini revoked the authorization for racing on public roads. From 1941 to 1946, then, the race was not disputed due to the war. It resumed in June 1947. The speed record of the event was conquered by Stirling Moss, who in 1955 traveled 1600 kilometers in 10 hours and 8 minutes driving a Mercedes-Benz 300. A second serious accident occurred in 1957, when the car of Alfonso de Portago went off the road due to the explosion of a tire, killing nine specters. It was for this reason that the race was canceled and the automobile manufacturer, Enzo Ferrari, was subjected to trial from which he was released. Among the participants and the winners of the Millemiglia appear, among others, some great champions of Italian and international motoring such as Tazio Nuvolari, Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari. The first three racers for number of victories were Clemente Biondetti, Tazio Nuvolari and Giuseppe Campari. Among the car manufacturer, on the other hand, the Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz stand out in the first three positions respectively.
In 2004 the Museum of the Mille Miglia was inaugurated. The Museum, located in Sant’Eufemia, in the province of Brescia, was born with the aim of making the history of this great car race known to the public, thanks to 9 sections, ordered chronologically, which reconstruct the entire history of the race, and showcasing – among other things – some historic cars that took part in the most beautiful race of the world.