The Mille Miglia as it is held in 2014 has a long history. In the mid-1920s, dictator Benito Mussolini drastically curtailed political freedom in Italy. During this difficult time it was an enormous strain to hold a 1600 kilometre-long car race across Italy. But there were hopes that the prestigious car race would pave the way for an economic upturn. The organisers made a virtue out of necessity: they held the race on the major roads of northern Italy rather than on a remote race track, thus creating more publicity. The starting point, which was also the finishing line of the route, was in Brescia. But before the first car could cross the finishing line, there was a long journey to be made – and both politically and literally, it had to go via Rome.