a passion for classic wheels
Forte dei Marmi and Versilia are a favored territory for car buffs. Most of all in the spring
Words Cristina Conti - Photography courtesy of Canossa Events
Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, MG, Aston Martin, Bugatti . . . and more yet: 500, Appia 1100, Mini Cooper. Sleek racers worth a million or ordinary family cars going for a few thousand – or simply salvaged from grandfather’s garage. And all of them, cars with histories, all ready and able to tell us stories not just about Italian motoring, but also about Italy, period.
The passion for classic cars is hard to explain. It’s certainly something shared by thousands of collectors in Italy alone. It fuels a seemingly crisis-proof market. “Car collectors are not just the super-rich. The first requisite for aspiring aficionados is culture, a passion for beautiful things, not just for precious or pricey ones.” Thoughts from a true sector pioneer in Italy: Valerio Luzzago of Brescia, who in 1968 came home from England with his “Number One”: a 1951 MG TD. Seven years later he launched the world’s first company specialized in classic wheels: Luzzago, where he still works alongside his sons Ottavio and Nicolò.
The classic car sector is different from any other branch of the collecting universe. As in few others, some collectors personally rebuild their finds, piece by piece: they’ll start with a body or dashboard detail, they’ll hunt down parts online and at specialized shows, until they have – not rarely with maniacal precision – recreated a perfect car. But it’s a different sort of collecting mainly because a car is not a knick-knack, or a painting. It’s a vehicle, made for enjoyment, for travel, for vacationing. It’s also something to show off, to be seen in and admired (or envied) by others. “Passive collecting by people who keep their cars garaged, museum-style, is on its way out. Today’s collector is active, and wants a car they can use,” Luzzago explains.
Use (also) at the many events now dedicated to classic rides. And the occasions for sharing one’s passion with one’s fellows are multiplying: rallies and competitions offer opportunities to try one’s mettle as a driver – and to visit magnificent locations in Italy or abroad, to make friends, to participate in fairs and meets.
From this point of view, Forte dei Marmi and Versilia are a favored territory for car buffs. Most of all in the spring, with such events as the Mille Miglia (17 June), the Coppa Toscana (from 22 to 24 April), and the Terre di Canossa (23 April). The participants in the latter challenge (by now a standing date in Versilia) are almost all foreigners – on a route planned so that the teams wend their ways along breathtaking roads: a perfect mix of competition and tourism. Seasoned with pure fun, dinners, and gala evenings.
And if someone, before making a purchase, wants to experience the heady thrill of vacationing aboard a classic machine, many specialized agencies await them. Often, with ready-made itineraries planned not only to take in landscapes and art and culture, but also to savor the very best of Italian food and wine.
...on a route planned so that the teams wend their ways along breathtaking roads: a perfect mix of competition and tourism