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Seasoned frequenters of the Internet can attest to two things, one of which is unprintable on our family-friendly pages. The other of course, is the now infamous snub from Ferrari that birthed Ferrucio Lamborghini’s car production.

But while that tale is now enshrined as automotive lore, another, lesser known snub helped birth one of the most famous endurance races on our congested little planet. You’ll probably be aware that Monza - beautiful, iconic Monza - has been the home of the Italian GP since 1922, and was one of the inaugural races in the Formula One world championship.

But its creation was a course of controversy. Because a year before Monza, the Italian GP was held in Brescia. And Brescians took motor racing’s move from their principality to Monza as a great insult, and conspired to create something more in touch with the people. Something that would help advertise the growing power of the motor car; something that would promote Italy’s burgeoning car production; something that would take in the glory of Italia.

Hence, legend has it the three organisers - or ‘musketeers’ - had a conversation discussing the Brescia-Rome-Brescia race, totalling 1,600km. “Why don’t we call it the Mille Miglia”, said Mazotti, one of the three. “The Romans measured their distances in miles, and we’re following Roman tradition.”

And so, it became the Mille Miglia: a long-distance race for production cars that ran between 1927 and 1957. Since its closure (due to fatal crashes), the route has been revived as a historic parade, and last week, Ferrari were just one of the manufacturers that conscripted many of its models to drive the route.

Here are some rather lovely pictures just released by Ferrari itself…

Got any Mille Miglia stories? Send them in to editor@topgear.com

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