How the 1000 Miglia began

During the past 10 years, there have been many, more or less faithful, reconstructions as to how the extraordinary epic adventure began, for what would come to be known as “the most beautiful race in the world”. The highly considered and obviously most credible version is without a doubt that stated by one of its founders, Giovanni Canestrini, written up in his very famous book “Mille Miglia”, edited in 1967. Throughout these pages, -also discussed in Giovannino Lurani’s equally famous 1978 book, “The History of 1000 Miglia”- is a description of the memorable incident that occurred on December 2, 1926, the day that has since been officially recognized as the birth of the Mille Miglia. Canestrini, tinged with a hint of ill-conceived irony, narrates how a group of Brescians arrived to his home in Milan on Via Bonaventura Cavalieri, which included Franco Mazzotti, Aymo Maggi, Renzo Castagnet, (the other three musketeers) and his friend, Flaminio Monti. The rest of the story is history, until Franco Mazzotti declares the words: “Mille Miglia Cup”.


Although having stuck to the facts, Giovanni Canestrini’s commentary has been considered partial and conditioned both by the desire of not wanting to rehash old politics and by the period in which he writes, a little more than two decades after the tragic events that saw the end of the fascist regime, after the World War.

The reading of a similar article by the same Canestrini, published in “numero unico” of the Mille Miglia in 1930, offers a more complex vision, without a single modification to the narration of the events told thirty-seven years later, and is more true to the reality of the times of how the real facts unfolded at autumn’s end, in 1926.

To better understand how the meeting took place in Canestrini’s home one must go back some years to immediately following the First World War.