The sports-related character of Mantua is closely connected to the myth of speed of both the body and the machine.

One of the most important sports personalities who belonged to Mantua is Learco Guerra, born in 1902, who earned the nickname of Human Locomotive due to his racing technique and impressive physical strength. Learco Guerra was the first rider to wear the pink jersey in 1931 Tour of Italy, winning the opening stage of Milan-Mantua.

Another sporting hero is Tazio Nuvolari, an Italian legend of international and national motor racing. Born in Castel d’Ario in 1892, Nuvolari was called Il Mantovano Volante ( The Flying Mantuan) or Nuvola (Cloud) as a result of his great propensity for dynamism and speed. He began his career as a cyclist but soon shifted to car racing, competing in over three hundred races during his career. He won two Targa Fiorio, two Mille Miglia, the Vanderbilt Cup, the Grand Prix of Tripoli, two Grand Prix of Italy and the Gran Prix of Germany. The Tazio Nuvolari Museum, established in the former Church of Carmelino, houses awards and personal memorabilia of the champion such as helmets, gloves, glasses, tracksuits and the inseparable yellow jersey.

The image of the Flying Mantuan evokes the key principles of the futurist movement and his founder, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who presented his famous Futurist Manifesto exalting the myth of speed, dynamism and flight, in Mantua on April 6, 1911, 12 days before his Paris release.

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