Italy's rolling museum

Ferrari and Mercedes put on stunning displays in the Mille Miglia, but a BMW hits the top spot

It was 10 times lucky for husband and wife team Giuliano Cané and Lucia Gallian, who stopped the clocks in Brescia as repeat winners of the 2010 Mille Miglia in the aerodynamic BMW 328 MM coupé, 70 years on from the German marque’s first win. Behind them, three-time winner Luciano Viaro navigated American Alfa collector Mark Gessler to second place in his rare Testa Fissa 6C 1500 GS Alfa Romeo.

This year’s route (actually only 870 miles) twice took in Bologna, which the MM hasn’t visited since WWII, and the historic hilltop town of Urbino on its traffic-stopping loop around the country. Celebrities abounded, including Jay Kay in his Maserati A6G54 and Nick Mason in a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica.

The event is often called a rolling museum; well, this year the museum got a new wing devoted to Ferrari. Some 130 of Enzo’s finest built post-MM from 1958 to today ran ahead of the 375 cars in the rally itself, making the annual automotive circus an even bigger spectacle.

Mercedes too had a strong presence, with its biggest squad ever – 15 cars, including nine Gullwings, three SSKs and the unique and wonderful Uhlenhaut 300SLR coupé with our own Doug Nye aboard. Read more about his trip next month. He had Mika Häkkinen, Jochen Mass and David Coulthard as team-mates, too.