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Terra di Motori 2020 - Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Gods - Richard Heseltine

February 29, 2020

Terra di Motori 2020

What constitutes heaven? If you love cars, particularly ones that are exotic, rare and built with singular passion, the Emilia-Romagna, region of Northern Italy, is a close approximation. Widely referred to as ‘Motor Valley’, it comprises Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Bologna and so much more, with names such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Dallara, Pagani and Ducati to the fore. And this is before you factor in the many museums and globally-renowned private collections of historic cars and motorcycles in the area. Let’s not forget, either, storied race tracks located in Imola and Misano.

It is doubtful that such a constellation could exist anywhere else in the world. This is a region which orbits around high-performance vehicles and craftsmanship, cutting-edge research and development and old-world artistry. It is a land of boutique brands and artisans, the seemingly effortless melding of these disparate elements captivating visitors from around the world. And no marque is more significant and revered as Ferrari, the Museo Enzo Ferrari in northeast Modena comprising in part the farmhouse in which ‘Il Commendatore’ was born. It also includes a mouth-watering selection of important road and race cars and assorted memorabilia.

Lamborghini, a marque that is now deemed historic but once considered an upstart, also has an amazing backstory. The legend may have been embellished over time, but Ferruccio Lamborghini famously became a motor manufacturer after being slighted by Enzo Ferrari. There are many versions of this story, but the location of Lamborghini Automobili in Sant’Agata Bolognese remains the same, even if the factory looks somewhat different. The MUDETEC Museum, also on the same site, offering visitors a change to see a collection of models spanning the entire arc of the company’s history, including unique prototypes. Both marques offer factory tours, as indeed does Maserati which has been making cars in the area for more than ninety years. Similarly, Dallara – which makes most of the world’s single-seater racing cars, from Formula 3 to IndyCar – has the fantastic Academy which offers visitors an insight into how racing cars are made and the science behind their conception. And if you want to see truly hand-made cars being fashioned, the Pagani factory tour is a must. If your tastes are more in the direction of motorcycles, a visit to the Ducati factory and works museum will make your eyes widen.

The area’s glorious heritage of two- and four-wheel artistry is honoured in great style at the famous Collezione Umberto Panini museum. Here, you can marvel at some of the finest Italian motorcycles ever made, plus thirteen historically-significant Maseratis. These include the gorgeous A6GCS 53 Berlinetta Pinin Farina and the ex-Tazio Nuvolari 6C 34. With plenty of smaller restoration workshops and high-end collector car dealerships in the locale, there are more than a few reasons to visit this scenic area.

What follows is a selection of two- and four-wheeled classics both new and old; vehicles that established the region as the centre of the universe for anyone with a passion for speed and craftsmanship.

 

Richard Heseltine

Valley of the Gods - Terra di Motori N.5