by Luigi Barzini, Sr.
Luigi Barzini wrote Peking to Paris, An Account of Prince Borghese’s Journey Across Two Continents in a Motor-Car in 1907, shortly after returning from one of the most exciting and demanding automotive adventures that has ever been undertaken. The idea of driving from Peking to Paris, proposed by France’s leading newspaper Le Matin was initially viewed as folly. In 1907, the automobile was scarcely a decade old and traveling from one town to the next by automobile was far from a sure thing. To travel thousands of miles, across two continents, where no roads existed and in an age without gasoline stations or even reliable maps was inconceivable to all but a few rugged adventurers who took on the challenge. Barzini was already an accomplished and recognized journalist when he joined Prince Scipione Borghese’s Itala team. Borghese was single-minded in his determination to complete the journey, win the race and bring glory to Italy. That he was successful makes Luigi Barzini’s reports of their struggles and triumphs even more compelling. Peking to Paris became an overnight success, translated into 11 languages and published all over the world.