At 1.30 pm yesterday, the pedal was put to the metal for the first time, starting from Viale Venezia in Brescia. Enthusiasm, frenzy and speed go side by side with the feeling that time has stood still.
Indeed, the route, this year counterclockwise – the race will arrive in Rome from along the Tyrrhenian Sea, then return to Brescia from the Adriatic – feels like an allegory of a journey back in time. But one of the many engaging aspects of the historical re-enactment is the coexistence on the streets of models from different eras, all united by charm and beauty. Back in 1927, the journalist Giuseppe Tonelli wrote that the 1000 Miglia was "something undefined, with a touch of the supernatural, which recalls old fairy tales [...] and now indicates the progress of vehicles and human daring.” But time has not truly stood still, progress is inevitable and clear, especially with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia, the models of the official fleet following the race.
Statement by Stellantis Chairman John Elkann and his wife Lavinia Borromeo
“Returning to the 1000 Miglia has given us a great feeling: it’s been really exciting to cross the packed squares and experience all the fans' enthusiasm. The performance of our Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint has also been amazing: we held nothing back to get to the Parma time check on time. Then, on the Cisa Pass, we witnessed some of the most breathtaking views and the most enjoyable roads; arriving on the Viareggio seafront was incredible too. It’s the most beautiful race in the world in the most beautiful country in the world: we like to think that the great turnout is a sign of optimism and the recovery, as well as one of passion for Alfa Romeo.”
The warm welcome of the public, the iconic locations, the ticking of the clock in the time trials
Meanwhile, the roads along the route are filling up: the convoy enters Emilia-Romagna to pay tribute to the birthplace of Giuseppe Verdi in Roncole di Busseto (Parma province): a due homage to the renowned composer, the 120th anniversary of whose death is commemorated this year. This serves as further proof that the 1000 Miglia is an authentic cultural event in all respects. To break up the journey on its way to its final destination will be a series of timing and stamping checks. Each competitor receives a timetable at the start, which must be stamped at certain times according to their starting number. This seems complex, but becomes more and more spontaneous as the race goes on. Along the way, time trials are then set, according to a road book. These involve sections to be run over a given period of time, at a specific average time. Which is more fun, pure speed or regularity? An unanswered question that raises conflicting opinions, although shared by all the drivers is the fervor produced when the competition kicks off.
Stage 1, second sector: arrival on the Versilia Riviera
The Cisa Pass marks the border between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, and after the challenging mountain roads and their unforgettable panoramas, the altitude drops on the way down to the sea. With its eyes facing west, the convoy will enjoy the gradual sunset of these days of early summer. From Sarzana onwards, the beach resorts splay out: Marina di Massa and Marina di Carrara begin the Versilia Riviera, a spit of land between the Apuan Alps and the Parco di San Rossore, renowned for its fine sands and coastal dunes. As it moves on, the convoy will pass the exclusive resort of Forte dei Marmi, followed by Pietrasanta and Camaiore. Night will have fallen by the time it arrives in Viareggio: the rough roads driven will be felt, yet the tiredness will be alleviated by the lapping of the waves in one of the most evocative locations on the Tuscan coast. The bathing season is coming alive with warmth and numbers of visitors. Even here, a “traveling museum unique in the world”, as Enzo Ferrari put it, is the star of the night.