Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari

Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari. “The Flaying Matuan” or “Il Diabolico Mantovano Volante” was born on 18 November 1892 in Castel d’Ario, situated 20 kilometres from Mantua, Italy. Nuvolari began his career on motorcycles, winning most of the 300 he entered.

The 5-5, 130 pounds driver, known as “Mantovano Volante” didn’t win a race  until he was 32.  He won 70 races and among them were 12 World Championship races and 49 Grand Prix.  He drove an ambulance in the Italian Army during the WWI.

His first race was in 1921 in the Circuit of Garda.  He drove an Ansaldo to second in class and fourth overall and his first win was in 1924 at Tigulho, driving a Bianchi.  That same year he won the Italian Motorcycle Championship.

Nuvolari dominated European auto racing for the next decade.  He won the famous “Mille Miglia” three times, and Le Mans in 1933. His biggest career victory was the German Grand Prix (Nurburgring) in 1935.  The 300,000 Germans on hand expected one of their own to win, in either a Mercedes-Benz or an Auto Union. 

But Nuvolari took he lead from Manfred von Brauchitsch on the last
lap and won the race in an Alfa Romeo.

Tazio Nuvolari also drove for Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Auto Union and Maserati.  Additionally, he won the Yugoslavian Grand Prix on September 3, 1939, the day Europa plunged into World War II.  It was the last international Grand Prix in Europe for seven years, and when racing resumed in 1946, Nuvolari was 54 year old.  His last win was at Monte Pellegrino on April 20, 1950.

During his career, Nuvolari had most major bones in his body broken in racing accidents, lost an index finger, and wound up with one leg an inch and a half shorter than the other.  Tazio died in the arms of his wife Carolina Perina Nuvolari, in the Viale Rimembranze at six-thirty on 11 August, 1953. The night before he died, he expressed a last wish: ‘Bury me in my uniform’.

Posted in MEMOIRS.

Emilio Lezcano

Journalist - Editor - Photographer
Professional Race Car Driver