Tuesday, July 18, 2017

May 19th, Part Two: Mille Miglia Parade

We had a bit of driving ahead of us, and it only took about ten minutes to get stuck in ridiculous traffic.

Like, not moving, three cars trying to be in the same place at the same time type traffic. Turns out there was construction up ahead jamming things up, but we eventually snaked our way through the streets of Ercolano and back out to the highway. We took a short break at a rest stop for some snacks, then eventually made our way back to Fiumicino Airport, turned in the rental car, took a train into the city, and found our hotel. Time to explore Rome!

We explored our way right to a gelato shop to start. Priorities...   :)

Actually, our real destination was...

...Porta Pinciana. We staked out a spot by the side of the road, along with a number of other people, and waited. A little while later...

...it was time to see the cars from the Mille Miglia! The Mille Miglia is a race from Brescia to Rome and back again, but it's the cars that make this race really special. They started the parade with all sorts of fancy Mercedes. (Mercedeses? Mercedi? I'll let you decide what the plural should be.)

We had a pretty good view of them as they snaked through the arch.

I have no idea what kind of Mercedes this one was. It looked like a monster; I bet it's a lot of fun to drive.

This 1957 Porsche snuck through after the last Mercedes. It was a little taste of what was to come later, but first...

...Ferarris! These got lots of cheers, of course.  :)

It took a little while for all of the Ferraris to make their way down the street, and it started to get dark after a bit. A few cars would snake through the arch, get backed up waiting for their turn on the showcase stage further down the block, rev their engines at each other to pass the time, then eventually make their way down the road. There would be a gap for a while, then another batch of cars would come through and do the same thing. We wound up spending part of the downtime talking to the guy you can just see on the right side of the frame; he was from Luxembourg and on vacation with his wife. They just happened to hear about the event and came to check it out. He was impressed to hear that Mark and I had planned our entire trip around making sure we were in Rome on this specific night to see all the cars.

The Ferraris eventually wrapped up and the real show began. Time for the classics!

A 1957 Porsche 356 A 1600 was one of the first to come through. Thankfully, their website had a list of all of the racers by number, which made it a lot easier to figure out what each car was when I went back through the pictures later. (I think I got them all right, but if I mixed anything up, I'm sorry! I'm not exactly a classic car expert.)

1928 Bugatti Type 40. I love this style of car.  :)

1926 Amilcar GCSS; Amilcar was a French company that made cars from 1921 to 1940. I'm sure it's real easy to find parts for this one.

There were an incredible array of cars taking part in the race; it was really cool to see so many classic cars actually on the road.

1925 Bugatti Type 23.

1927 Bugatti Type 38 Grand Sport.

The noise was great coming from the classics, too. Some of them would rev their engines and honk at each other, others had brakes that squealed like nails on a chalkboard (and just barely worked), still others backfired and popped as they rolled by.

1949 Lancia Aprilia 1500 in front; I'm not sure what the others were.

1939 BMW 328 Spider Mille Miglia.

1947 Stanguellini 1100 Sport in front, 1948 Fiat 1100 S Berlinetta "Gobbone" following behind.

At one point, one of the classics pulled out of the lineup and parked right in front of us. Turns out it was a 1952 S.I.A.T.A. Saina GS Stabilimenti Farina driven by two people from the US, which was pretty cool. I have no idea how they got their hands on a classic car in Europe, but good for them! (That's a 1952 Jaguar C Type in the background.) After a couple minutes, we could see raindrops start to speckle the hood and windshield in front of us.

That didn't slow down the parade, though. The drivers were quick to adapt.

This guy got some cheers once the crowd realized what he was doing.   :)

The driver of this 1955 Mercedes 300 SL stopped for a couple minutes to put his side windows back in.

The rain started to pick up a bit, but the cars kept coming...

...even as the lightning started to get closer. Mark and I had been standing under a tree for a while and didn't realize how much the rain had picked up until the string of cars started to slow down a bit. We decided that maybe it was time to call it a night and head back toward the hotel (which was about a 20 minute walk away).

We passed the stage as we made our way down the street. The announcers (and drivers) were real troopers and weren't about to let a little rain stop them.

 We took a couple last looks at the last few cars coming through, then started off toward the hotel. We tried to duck under trees and building overhangs as much as we could, and I was trying to cradle my camera in a plastic bag jammed under my jacket, but it didn't take long to realize we were going to get soaked. We couldn't find a taxi to save our lives, and after a few minutes it started POURING. Like, rivers running down the street pouring.

Thank goodness for pizza places that are still open at 11:30pm! We ducked inside, split a pizza, had a glass of wine, and waited out the storm. Or more like, we tried to wait out the storm. It was pouring just as hard when we finished our pizza as it had been when we initially ducked inside. There were still no taxis in sight, so we finally gave up and power walked the rest of the way back to the hotel (and between the two of us, somehow managed to keep my good camera mostly dry). We both took hot showers when we eventually made it back to the room, and I finally fell into bed somewhere around 2am.

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