The original Mille Miglia was staggeringly dangerous: dangerous enough for Mussolini to find time to ban it in 1939 when he was about to help start a world war. But its influence was immense. “In my opinion, the Mille Miglia was an epoch-making event,” said Enzo Ferrari. “The Miglia created our cars and the Italian automobile industry.”

In 1977 it was resurrected as a gentle ‘historic rally’, but while the organizers stress that it isn’t a race, I can tell you that it is. I first competed in the Mille in 2008, but I haven't read an article on it that really captures just how hard and borderline-terrifying it is to drive in. It is insane. It is a convoy of the world’s most valuable, least-replaceable classic cars, many being driven with zero regard to their safety or their occupants’, on open public roads, flat-out through towns and villages and normal daily traffic, all actively encouraged by the police, who even compete themselves. Of course it’s a privilege to take part in the Mille Miglia, but it’s not actually much fun while it's happening. You get a couple of hours’ sleep each night and spend all three days in constant fear of wiping out a piece of automotive history or trying to figure out the rules, which the organizers make utterly incomprehensible. It is not that much less dangerous than the original race, and it is impossible to imagine this happening anywhere other than Italy.