The Mille Miglia as a Solo Woman

When it comes to motorised 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. However, I do 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.

Hans-Joachim Bender at the 2012 MIlle Miglia in Italy
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.

Jaguar from 1950 at Italy's Mille Miglia 2012 in Bologna
This year, the race began on May 17th in Brescia and 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.

Michael Haentjes driving a Bentley (1937) in the Mille Miglia

[vc_separator color=”custom” style=”dashed” accent_color=”#d1d1d1″][td_block_7 custom_title=”” category_id=”368″ limit=”2″][vc_separator color=”custom” style=”dashed” accent_color=”#d1d1d1″]

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 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.

Giuseppe Ambrosi driving an Alfa Romeo from 1931 at the Mille Miglia
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.

Stamping away at the MIlle Miglia in Bologna, Italy
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 gallery.

[smugmug url=”″ imagecount=”8″ start=”1″ num=”8″ thumbsize=”Th” link=”smugmug” captions=”false” sort=”false” window=”true” smugmug=”false” size=”M”]

[vc_text_separator title=”❤︎ Italy ❤︎” color=”black” border_width=”2″][td_block_3 custom_title=”” category_id=”368″ limit=”2″ offset=”2″ ajax_pagination=”next_prev”]
720 478 Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She's now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

All stories by : Bianca Bauza
  • Ah wicked post! Lovely to relive a great experience and the photos are fab – will try to send you some of mine ASAP x

    • Frankie!!! Thanks you! It was so nice to share this experience with you girls! I’ll also send you the link to the album with the rest of the photos soon. And btw, thanks again for taking my photos while I was going crazy with the stamping! Enjoy the rest of your stay in Bologna!

  • It seems you had a fabulous time … happy for you !!! Fantastic cars and the pics are great !!! I’ve never seen a flowering artichoke nor asparagus as thick as those…. Mmmmmmm!!!! XOXO

  • Megan @ Roamancing

    I’ve never been one for cars, but those are some gorgeous old cars! Looks like you had a great time!

    • Oh, yes I did! It was quite an experience and sort of unexpected too! Also, there is a lot of love for vintage cars around here; so it’s hard not to get excited as well :)

  • Love this article! You must have had a divine time!
    I will be meeting Sylvia Oberti this coming week, and can’t wait to ask her about her experience at Mille Miglia.
    Wish I had been there!

    • Thanks Wendy! Yes, I had a great time that day! If you post about your meeting with pilotessa Oberti, please do send me the link; I’d love to read it!

  • Love those old cars.

  • My Best 12 Posts of 2012 | nomadbiba | nomadbiba

    […] The Post I’m Most Proud Of: The Mille Miglia as a Solo Woman Before going to Italy, I didn’t know anything about the Mille Miglia, a classic cars race […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Start Typing