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Michelin guide, more than a hundred years on the road and not hearing them

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The more than one hundred-year-old relationship between Michelin and the road begins in the zero year of the twentieth century when leaving by car was an action as uncertain as it was pioneering; the brass cars of the time shone with copper and zinc but certainly not for reliability and many routes were transformed into mule tracks and then ended up in nothing. Hence the idea of ​​the brothers Édouard and André Michelin – founders of the French company and tire manufacturers since 1895 – to help the haggard motorists of the early twentieth century, with a small brochure given away with the purchase of tires and containing a series of important suggestions to better face the journey.

The red guide ante litteram had already identified the indispensable information with the directory of shelters, workshops and places to refuel or change tires, to which was added the list of suggested stops and refreshments for eating and sleeping along the way. The public approval obtained by the joint service of tires, guides and road maps convinces Michelin to introduce the distinction that still identifies gastronomic excellence. It is the year 1926 and together with the growth of the automobile industry, the famous star arrives. In 1931 the macaron symbol acquires its own scale of merit (1, 2 or 3 stars) and five years later, the award criteria still used by the inspectors are published.

In Italy the first Michelin Guide dates back to 1956 and driven by the European economic boom immediately after the war, the red vademecum associated with the little man Bibendum, acquires more and more relevance with the exponential increase in road travel. Trips in which the Italian peninsula, which following the presentation of the Michelin 2022 Guide which took place yesterday in Franciacorta has 378 starred brands, increasingly represents one of the main attractions for the gourmand tourist. The present has also brought with it a digitized use for red and green guides as well as for maps and road maps which, when consulted online, perform the function of a search engine for restaurants and hotels. Today as then, the goal is to help motorists to identify the most scenic, appetizing, direct or ecological route. A theme, that of environmental protection, which Michelin has been tackling since 1992 (when it advised customers not to change tires before the end of their life cycle) with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality in 2050, and halving emissions by 2030. In this sense, the Cuneo and Alessandria plants are a particularly virtuous example as the above objective is already a reality. As a reality and of a certain rarity, are the 99.4% of permanent contracts for Michelin Italia employees and the millions of hours and euros, donated each year to training programs, welfare, community support and social works. Globally Michelin is the first tire manufacturer in the world present in 170 countries with 123,600 employees operating in 71 production sites. In 2020, the Clermont-Ferrand-based company reached 170 million tires with specific and highly specialized compounds, intended for trucks, industrial vehicles, cars of all power and propulsion, motorcycles, single-seaters and racing prototypes.

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