Mille Miglia 2011: Brescia to Bologna

We left Brescia at around 6:30pm with 130 Ferraris, en route to Bologna by way of Sirmione, Verona and a countless number of tiny villages far off the tourist path.

It was a genuine car safari.

Formerly a speed race on the narrow, tangential roads connecting Brescia to Rome, a tragic accident in 1957 that claimed the lives of two drives and 10 spectators changed the name of the game. The Mille Miglia has since evolved into a regularity race wherein competitors must complete various parts of the route within time limits that are assigned by the organization, as well as regularity stages.

As a mobile spectator (and often a roadside one as well) I very much appreciate being able to enjoy the beauty and majesty of these amazing cars without having to fear for my personal safety.

Though as a driver I do wish people weren't quite so comfortable spectating this close to the action. You just never know.

Another benefit to a regularity race is that you have a little more time to stop and enjoy pretty things.

Like this random field of poppies.

Admittedly, it was my husband who insisted on stopping to snap these shots.
He knew I would be mad later if we didn't.
He was right.

Sometimes you'll see something amazing at a random petrol station...

Sometimes not.

We hooked up with the Dutch guys we met last year on the side of the road.
Same place we found them last year - though this year their car was actually running.

We decided to skip Sirmione and headed towards Verona. 

Unfortunately, this is all we managed to see of Verona in the 5 minutes it took us to drive through the parade route.

Luckily we went back a couple of weeks later to spend a full day there. But for now, there's no rest for the wicked.

Arrivederci Verona.

At another petrol station we met up with Team Lambo from last year's race.
Happy to see they traded up to this Porsche.

We did some spectating of our own, more listening to than watching the Ferraris trying to break the sound barrier.

One of the best things about the Mille Miglia is stopping at small places along the way that you would otherwise never find.

I've not the slightest idea where this was, but we enjoyed all we could eat and drink for 20 EUR a head. A bit sad that the drivers couldn't take full advantage, but the co-drivers (being finished driving for the night) definitely made up for it.

Plates upon plates of cheese and a constant pipeline of prosciutto, salami, mortadella and other assorted treats came in waves as this lovely lady kept us full of fresh, warm bread-like things.

Eventually we realized that it was 10:30 and we still had at least 2 hours until we reached Bologna. So we had one last round of these yummy lemon sorbetto drinky thingies and hit the road.

We arrived in Bologna sometime around 1am, only to find out that our hotel mistakenly cancelled our reservation. And during the busiest weekend of the year. Naturally.

Luckily they managed to make alternative arrangements with another hotel just off the autostrada so we were able to get to bed by 3. Which was a damn good thing since the call for wheels-rolling was at 7:30 the next morning.

A minor detail that I'm pretty sure was NOT previously discussed with Xander...

Roadside Lemon Sorbetto
Serves 8

I always wanted a lemonade stand. Though I must admit, this tasty grown-up beverage knocks the pants off that CountryTime crap we used to make when I was a kid.

4 cups prosecco, champagne or the sparkling wine of your choosing
2 pints frozen lemon sorbet

In a blender, combine half of the prosecco with half of the sorbet and blend just until the sorbet is soft but not liquefied. It's a slushy texture you're looking for, not a soup. Hence why I like to break it up into two batches to avoid over-mixing it into a fizzy syrup.

Pour into flutes or or parfait glasses (the prettier they are, the better it tastes) and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Cookie crisps, graham crackers or similar light treats make a nice accompaniment.

It's a lovely refreshment to serve after a summer dinner party or a picnic. Use ginger-ale in a non-alcoholic version for anyone who has to drive.

If you want to try making your own lemon sorbet, here's a super simple recipe:

Lemon Sorbet
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, courtesy of this blog

2-1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar (if you prefer a sweeter sorbet, increase the sugar to 1 1/4 cups)
2 lemons
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the water and the sugar. Grate the zest of 2 lemons directly into the sauce. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups of water. Then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Stir the lemon juice into the chilled sugar syrup, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.

Happy summer!

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