When it comes to motorized vehicles, I have to admit that my knowledge is limited. I mean, I can drive; but just as long as it’s not with manual transmission, and only if there’s no one else to do the job. Plus, if given the choice, I’d pick a bicycle over a car in almost any situation. On the other hand, I love road trips and I’m a pretty solid copilot and navigator. So I can understand the passion that some drivers have for their machines.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to witness this passion first-hand and at high level during Italy’s Mille Miglia, a classic race reserved only for historic cars that runs from Brescia to Rome and back. Dubbed as the world’s most beautiful car race, the route passes through some of Italy’s most stunning cities: Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Ferrara, Spoleto, Siena, Florence, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, and Rome, among others.
This year, the race began on May 17th in Brescia, stopping in Ferrara at the end of the day; the next morning, competitors headed to Rome, arriving at Castel Sant’Angelo. On Saturday May 19th, they left Rome for the last stretch of the race, which is probably the most intense; since they had to make it back to Brescia in one go. During the race, they covered a total of 1600 kilometers! There were 384 cars participating in this year’s edition with drivers coming from almost 30 countries. Most of the drivers were male, but there were also some female drivers and even all female teams.
However, the most impressive of them all, in my opinion was the amazing Sylvia Oberti, one of only 2 drivers riding solo! When Sylvia drove to the control station in Bologna, she was greeted with a whole lot of clapping and exclamations of “Brava! Bravissima!”. All that commotion was enough to stir up my curiosity and made me want to know more about her. It turns out, that she first gained recognition a few years back for being the first woman to drive and finish Italy’s Mille Miglia while going solo. And that’s not the only accomplishment that makes Sylvia Oberti a remarkable woman, what makes her even more special is that she has turned her racing passion into a way to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer.
So how did I end up there? Placing Bologna’s control stamp on Sylvia Oberti’s card as she raced past the crowds making her way through yet another edition of the Mille Miglia? Well, it was all thanks to BlogVille, the project that brought me to Bologna in the first place. The Tourism Board of the Emilia Romagna region has invited bloggers to come and stay for a few days in an apartment and experience firsthand what their region has to offer.
During my stay in Bologna I got to do and see some pretty amazing things, and my experience at the Mille Miglia was another highlight of my trip to this wonderful red city. For more information about the Mille Miglia, check out their website. And if you’d like to see more photos about my time in Bologna, please visit my SmugMug gallery.
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