Events: Historic cars on display on Nob Hill in salute to Italy’s Mille Miglia

South for Four Days of Back Roads Adventure

Red Mille cars on the road.

(SAN FRANCISCO) — The 26th annual celebration of Italy’s most-famous, open-road race, the Mille Miglia, will visit the small towns and see the big vistas of coastal California.

Cars that could have qualified for Italy’s thousand mile event that ran from 1927-1957, will arrive at San Francisco’s Nob Hill from a dozen states and two foreign countries on Sunday, April 24. The public is invited to see the cars and meet the drivers from 11 AM- 6 PM on Mason between California and Sacramento streets.

Co-directors David and Howard Swig will host a special presentation beginning at 1:30 PM on Sunday, recalling how their father Martin Swig introduced the Mille to America after noting that “Northern California looks more like Italy than…Italy.”


Italian Consul General Mauro Battocchi will greet the fans and highlight significant events in the Mille Miglia’s history.

The Swigs will take a roving microphone to Mason Street to detail production, styling and racing milestones, illustrated by the California Mille cars, while Ron Borelli’s Italian Band will entertain with appropriate music.

On Monday morning at 8:45, April 25, Italian Cultural Affairs director Paolo Barlera will wave the Italian flag at the Partenza (departure) arch spanning Mason Street at Cal-ifornia, to officially start the four-day event.

A 2016 Ferrari will lead the historic vehicles down Nob Hill and into the Presidio where the Mille will cruise to the Pacific Coast, drive through Half Moon Bay and end Day 1 in Carmel Valley.

Tuesday, April 26, will see the Mille maneuvering rarely-used back roads toward San Simeon and the Heart Castle, over one-lane bridges, through Paso Robles, by Mission San Miguel Arcangel, by the the James Dean memorial (where the actor was killed in his Porsche 550 in 1955), ending the 247-mile drive in Morro Bay.

On Day 3, April 27, the California will head north toward the community of Adelaida, Paicines and Tres Pinos (population 456), stopping for lunch at Leal Vineyards in Hollister.

That afternoon, the Mille will drive through historic San Juan Bautista and overnight in Carmel Valley.

PHOTOS: Mille cars hit the road

The final day of the thousand-mile drive (not a race!) will take the California Mille through Greenfield, King City, Oil City, and to Harris Ranch in Coalinga for lunch.

The Mille will end the drive in Carmel Valley for an awards dinner and farewell cere-mony.

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