Sign and sculpture outside Mille Miglia Museum

The Marvelous Mille Miglia Museum

In an era of modern museums—the Guggenheim and Getty in America, Tate Modern in London, and the Pompidou Center in Paris—the Museo Mille Miglia is a throwback to a much earlier time.

Agricultural equipment outside Miglia Museum

Originally a monastery built more than 1,000 years ago, the modern-day Mille Miglia Museum stands on the grounds of the Sant’Eufemia della Fonte monastery in Brescia, Italy. It seems appropriate for the history of the “most beautiful race in the world” to be housed in this beautiful, pastoral setting.

1929 Fiat 509 Bateau in Mille Miglia Museum

Close up of hood on 1929 Fiat 509 Bateau in Mille Miglia Museum

One of the first cars you encounter is this 1929 Fiat 509 Bateau, capable of hitting 80 kmph/50 mph.

1948 Fiat 1100 Marsala in Mille Miglia Museum

Close-up of 1948 Fiat 1100 Marsala in Mille Miglia MuseumThis 1948 Fiat 1100 Marsala is a direct descendent of the pre-war Fiat 508 C Balilla.

1926 Bentley 4 in Mille Miglia Museum

Close-up of 1926 Bentley 4 in Mille Miglia Museum

The vast majority of the autos you encounter are Italian (of course), but there are a few British beauties, too. Like this 1926 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre.

1952 Maserati A6CGS in Mille Miglia Museum

The imprint of Italian racing heritage can be seen and felt everywhere in the museum. A photo of Enzo Ferrari, at the wheel of his first Ferrari 125 in 1947, looms over a 1952 Maserati A6CGS.

Bust of Enzo Ferrari in Mille Miglia Museum

Nearby, a bust of Signore Ferrari sits next to a photo of the racing icon, both complete with his distinctive sunglasses.

Sign honoring Franco Mazzotti in Mille Miglia Museum

Enzo Ferrari isn’t the only Italian racer recognized at the museum. This weathered sign honors Franco Mazzotti, one of the original organizers of the first Mille Miglia.

1953 Fiat 1100 in special livery at Mille Miglia Museum

Close-up of 1953 Fiat 1100 in special livery at Mille Miglia MuseumA 1953 Fiat 1100, from Carrozzeria Zagato, in special Mille Miglia livery.

Fiat 750 Abarth Zagato in Mille Miglia Museum

Rear of Fiat 750 Abarth Zagato in Mille Miglia Museum

The first Fiat 750 Abarth Zagato raced in 1957, the final year of the initial run of the Mille Miglia. This Fiat 750 Abarth Zagato competed in 2017, the 90th anniversary of the first Mille Miglia.

Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider in Mille Miglia Museum

Close up of Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider in Mille Miglia Museum

This Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider and I were both born in 1955. One has aged better than the other.

1953 Moretti Sport in Marvelous Mille Miglia Museum

Interior of 1953 Moretti Sport in Marvelous Mille Miglia Museum

Giovanni Moretti became known for building motorcycle engines. In 1950, he started making motors for cars, too. The simple instrumentation inside this 1953 Moretti Sport harkens back to his days of minimalist motorcycle controls.

Row of cars near windows of Mille Miglia Museum

It often seems like the autos inside the Museo Mille Miglia are looking out the windows toward the courtyard of the old monastery, hoping they can get back on the road.

You can visit the museum and the monastery for yourself. All the details are here: www.museomillemiglia.it/en/