Targa Florio Sicilia

MixedMedia / Acrylic on Canvas
on 45 mm Wooden Museum Frame
160 x 110 cm

Were they heroes or just insane, those men who every year made their way to Sicily in search of fame and glory? “Lock up your children and animals!” was the self-preserving call that pervaded the legendary Targa Florio as residents were encouraged to close up their homes along the route. The first Targa Florio was held as early as 1906, the creation of the automobile enthusiast, Vincenzo Florio. This makes it even older than the venerable Indianapolis 500. The circuit, the Grande Madonie, was 148 km long at that time, but this was shortened to 108 km in 1919 and yet again at a later date.


The Targa Florio was the most important sports car race in the 1920’s (when it covered a distance of 108 km). Le Mans and the Mille Miglia had not yet become established in racing at this time, and the Solitude (22 km) in Stuttgart was even dubbed the “Swabian Targa Florio”. A Bugatti Type 35 won this competition an amazing five times (1925 – 1929), with subsequent years being dominated by the Alfas. This is especially true with regard to the Scuderia Ferrari. Until the construc- tion of its own vehicles, Alfa sports cars were the exclusive choice of the Scuderia Ferrari team (founded in 1929). When a Ferrari sports car first defeated an Alfa production model, Enzo Ferrari was heard to comment: “I have murdered my mother”.


Victors of the Targa Florio include Bartolomeo Costantini (twice) and Albert Divo (twice) with Bugatti, Tarzio Nuvolari (twice) and Achille Varzi (twice) with Alfa, Stirling Moss with the 300SLR, von Trips with the Ferrari and Nino Vaccarella (three times) with Ferrari and Alfa. The Targa Florio was held until 1977, after which it was continued as a rally.