The Mille Miglia is more than ‘just’ a race; It’s a culture. An event that, even the mere mention of, instantly evokes a sense of nostalgia, romance, adventure and prestige. Once more Ferrari has paid its own spectacular tribute.
This year’s five-day, 2000 km 1000 Miglia Ferrari Tribute was once again witness to a spectacular array of Prancing Horses hailing from all four corners of the world.
Cars on display during the grand tour ranged from hallowed icons including a 1972 Dino 246 GT and a 1992 Ferrari F40, to more modern Maranello supercars like F12 Berlinettas, Californias and a striking 812 Competizione Aperta.
Almost a century has passed since the Mille Miglia began; 96 years in fact, since those first brave competitors encompassed the spirit of motor racing by designing a thousand-mile circuit from Brescia to Rome and back in the fastest cars they could find.
The 2023 Ferrari Tribute followed loosely in the steps of the original Brescia-to-Rome-and-back loop, split over the course of five days. Day One started on the shores of Lake Garda in the elegant town of Desenzano del Garda, then wound south through to the historic Ferrari heartland at Imola. With the streets echoing to the sound of powerful Ferrari engines, the namesakes of the famous circuit here – the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino – would have been proud of how their legacy lives on.
The first day ended at the resort town of Milano Marittima on the Adriatic sea with an overnight stop in Rimini. Day 2 saw the Ferrari Tribute drivers continuing down Italy’s Adriatic coast, before winging through the airy vistas around Fermo, and lunching in Ascoli Piceno and finishing – as all roads apparently do – in Rome.
The 1000 Miglia tribute is always a flick-book of postcard moments brought to life, but this coastal leg was breathtaking in the extreme with Ferraris old and new bringing even more life and atmosphere to the majestic scenery.
Much espresso was needed for the 5am start of Day 3, which saw the longest leg of the Ferrari Tribute. Running over 300 miles, the drivers ribboned out of Rome – the SF90 ethereally beautiful as it silently crept through Rome’s ancient cityscape on electric power; a stark contrast to the banks of six, eight and twelve cylinders that surrounded it.
Rapid progress was then made up into the Tuscan heartland of medieval Siena and past the unmistakable skyline of Florence, before pointing into the mountains and towards the winding Abetone Pass. One of the finest driving roads in Italy, the pass offered tight switchbacks and exhilarating views as the Tribute climbed upwards and onwards, with echoing cliff faces and top-of-the-world exhilaration to spare.
In this long day of epic locations, few were as evocative as Modena. The hometown of Enzo Ferrari and – since 1929 – the base for Scuderia Ferrari and all that the Ferrari brand would become.
Day three’s route was both historic, beautiful and a real endurance test, starting as it did at 5am and not finishing until 9pm in Salsomaggiore Terme, near Parma. It was nothing to the original Mille Miglia competitors, of course. Piero Taruffi famously won the 1957 Mille Miglia in a Ferrari 315 S, completing the 993 miles in 10hrs, 27mins and 47sec. Even so, the drivers were tired yet happy as they reached the stopover.
Day 4 set off apace, with the Ferrari Tribute cars spearing west on a winding route through the Lombardy region that went all the way out to Asti – almost close enough to feel the Alpine breeze off the mountains beyond Turin – before the route looped northeast and back towards the Milan finishing point.
With the majority of the loop completed, Day 5 was a finishing flourish with a short drive from the gothic arches of Milan and on to the finishing point in beautiful, historic Brescia – the hometown of the original group of aristocrats that started the Mille Miglia, and that has remained the home of the fabled road race ever since.
The 1000 Miglia Ferrari Tribute cars are a resplendent array of more than fifty years of Ferrari evolution. A riotous, achingly beautiful display of mechanical artistry, over a route that epitomises Italian automotive fervour. There’s no better event to truly revel and delight in the purist joy of the Ferrari brand; past, present and future.