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Mille Miglia

Giarratana’s statement


In any case, during the first few months of 1927, the two found themselves at the peak of their careers, so Giarratana's story appears particularly relevant: «... in those early times, if the idea had hit the people's fancy, those who should have followed through with this dream should have felt it as more like a nightmare, rather than sweet dreams, since difficulties were arising everywhere, and not only financial ones, to which Chino Mazzotti1 generously obliged.

What is more surprising is the fact of having gone from saying it to doing it, in less than two months; which means that even from useless chatter2, men of character know how to come up with facts that are and remain amazing. With great enthusiasm, Maggi and Mazzotti accepted Castagneto's idea (the father of the idea) that began to spread quickly by word of mouth. (...)

Half of Italy would have to be mobilitized in the attempt to win over the natural resistance of the so-called authorities, who were used to closing a small race circuit without being capable of eliminating the misfortunes. They certainly didn't feel like giving their authorization so easily.

In waiting for the ruling, it was established that Chino Mazzotti and I would have gone round spreading propaganda, not because we wanted to get a sense of the route3 but listen to the men and the ideas brought forth by the authorities. I won't hide the fact that with my leaving I also thought of provoking such clamour, with the help of my Italian media colleagues, so as to force the hand of he who was to decide.

And so, one morning Mazzotti arrived to pick me up in his Isotta Fraschini. We did in eight days what the participants would have done in one single go, having searched for directors of the various newspapers, presidents of the automobile clubs and state leaders, whom we were particularly interested in, just like those who, when needed, could have helped with the placing of surveillance patrols along the route. In fact, the main spirit behind our propaganda and the incentives we used were of a political nature: we wanted to show how this race would demonstrate that the Italian people are disciplined, not only at the level of sports, and conclude by saying that discipline is strength.

Before arriving to the city we did not try to involve the Prefects because we were sure that the only practical result would have been obtained with the orders given by Rome».4


Note

1 Chino, or better yet, Kino (but the "k" could not be used), was Franco Mazzotti's nickname.

2 Giarratana refers to the many talks held during the evenings in Milan.

3 This task was given to two technicians, Castagneto and Cougnet.

4 Historical courses and recourses: the strategy of the "political stimulus" adopted by Giarratana, a true pretext as to how he himself suggests it to be, which will be the same tactic used to start up the Mille Miglia after the war, in 1947. Castagneto and Bruno Boni, the mayor of the "Mille Miglia", appealed to the authorities of the new Italian Republic, asserting just the opposite: that the democratic political ordinance could prove to be superior to the Fascist one.