Italy’s Automobile Museums Supply Extra Than Simply Ferrari And Lamborghini

MILAN — Rapidly now: What single phrase involves thoughts when the topic of Italian vehicle museums comes up at a cocktail get together?

Ferrari. In fact. Or maybe Maserati. Or perhaps Lamborghini. However for the following thousand phrases or so, put apart these knee-jerk responses. For now, let’s suppose out of the auto museum field.

Throughout a current go to to the Italian north, I shuttled between Milan and Turin looking for some automotive greatness past what’s normally discovered on vacationers’ agendas. Discover it I did, on the “different” museums, one celebrating the historical past of Alfa Romeo and the second on the residence of Fiat within the true heartland of the Italian auto business for greater than a century.

You need pink automobiles? Alfa has rosso in quite a lot of beautiful shades. Expertise? Begin with Leonardo da Vinci’s self-propelled automobile from 1478. No time for Porsches? Good. You gained’t discover any right here.

Right here’s a better take a look at a pair of locations that each fans and un-car folks can admire, in addition to a brief cease at Italy’s iconic tire producer, Pirelli.

MUSEO STORICO ALFA ROMEO, Arese. Set in Arese, a Milan suburb, the Museo Storico is a romantic deep dive into 111 years of Italian historical past, as informed by the prism of one in all its extra fascinating and enduring manufacturers. Whereas the themes of the museum’s format — Timeline, Magnificence and Pace — supply a exact, considerate evaluation of Alfa’s significance to Italy and its business, the presence of a lot attractive sheet metallic in a single constructing is sufficient to excite passions.

The corporate was early “to understand {that a} museum might be an asset for advertising and marketing,” stated Lorenzo Ardizio, the museum’s director. Initially it was opened in 1976 solely to company and journalists, however beneath Sergio Marchionne’s steering, Storico was refurbished and reopened in 2015 for the introduction of the Giulia sedan. The earlier 12 months, Mr. Marchionne had engineered the merger of Fiat Chrysler Vehicles. (Fiat had taken over Alfa in 1986.) FCA is now a part of the Stellantis group. Sure, it will get difficult.

Relating to the Storico, Mr. Ardizio stated, “The concept was to create one thing to draw a a lot wider public, for individuals who won’t be significantly fascinated by vehicles.” It is a recurring theme for many automotive museums.

All the standard high-tech goodies of Twenty first-century show codecs are right here: multimedia panels, unique lighting, an enormous video wall that traces a few of Alfa’s elegiac performances in motorsports. The small 1.5-liter Alfettas gained the primary System 1 world championship in 1950, coming in first, second and third in that Grand Prix season. Alfa’s second-place driver was Juan Manuel Fangio, thought of among the many most good race drivers ever. The outcomes have been causes to cheer on this racecar-mad nation, whose auto business had been decimated within the mid-Forties by the retreating Germans and the advancing Allies.

It was the compact Giulietta coupe, with a design influenced by Raymond Loewy, that reignited Alfa in showrooms in 1954. Among the many 70 or automobiles on everlasting show within the correct museum (there’s additionally a closed-to-the-public “workshop’’ with many historic Alfas), the tidy Giulietta is an awfully treasured show-off. Prompted by its success, Mr. Ardizio stated, the corporate blossomed after World Warfare II, constructing as much as 1,000 automobiles a day not so lengthy after it had been turning out solely 300 every year.

Acknowledge that pink convertible over there? Many moviegoers will: It’s the 1600 Spider Duetto that Dustin Hoffman drove over the Bay Bridge in “The Graduate.” In keeping with our information on the Storico, the encyclopedic Eleonora Ventura, the traditional 1966 mannequin, designed by Pininfarina’s studio, was “booked” — really, so have been a inexperienced one and a white one — on the deck of a luxurious liner crusing from Genoa to New York.

“The ship stopped in Cannes on the movie pageant and took on some actors and V.I.P.s who had the chance to drive them on the deck on the journey to New York,” she stated. This Alfa — a mannequin that was produced for 28 years — subsequently had “bit elements” in quite a few movies.

It’s price stating that the majority the data displayed beside the automobiles and within the movies is in English. Mr. Ardizio estimates that greater than 130,000 guests handed although the Storico in 2020.

THE NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM, Turin. For American guests to Italy, Turin is usually an afterthought, overshadowed by itineraries heavy on Rome-Florence-Milan-Venice. However for vehicle cognoscenti, Turin, Italy’s first capital metropolis earlier than Rome, has a wealthy historical past: Lancia, IVECO, Pininfarina, Bertone, Giugiaro and Ghia, magical names in Italian design lore, have been all based right here, constructed across the residence of Turin’s industrial megastar, Fiat.

Not surprisingly, the Museo Nazionale dell’Vehicle is among the many world’s largest devoted to the automobile. With legacies so wealthy constructed round a set of about 200 fashions courting from 1854, one should obtain a bachelor’s diploma in historical past after spending an intense few hours right here. Based in 1933, the museum was renovated in 2011 and attracts about 200,000 guests yearly, about half of them from exterior Italy, stated our information, Felipe Vergara.

Science melds with sport on the museum. One show highlights System 1 championship automobiles pushed by Fangio and Michael Schumacher; one other lights up the 1854 Bordino steam carriage that wowed the Turinese because it cruised sans horsepower by the town’s slim streets.

Mr. Vergara turns into animated as properly in regards to the notably unaerodynamic Italia, a 40-horsepower monster that competed within the infamous 1907 Peking-to-Paris vehicle race. The automobile on show, overwhelmed up and war-torn, is inspiring. There are detachable mudguards for water crossings, oversize tanks for gasoline.

“The concept was, is anyone loopy sufficient to go from Peking to Paris, a visit of 16,000 kilometers?” Mr. Vergara requested. “5 groups confirmed up.”

The Gobi Desert and Siberia have been solely two of the obstacles that confronted the drivers. Prince Scipione Borghese, a navy man, was behind the wheel of the Italia. He rolled the Italia into Paris after 61 days; the second-place automobile arrived three weeks later. Information protection was prodigious; those that had dismissed the auto as a fad have been humbled.

The museum, for good motive, is inextricably tied to Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana di Vehicle Torino, not “Repair it once more, Tony”) and its good however politically divisive founder, Giovanni Agnelli. (At one level he was aligned with Mussolini and at one other was placed on trial for fraud.)

Greater than as soon as within the final 120 years Fiat has tipped towards chapter — the model is virtually invisible now in the USA — however its automobiles are ubiquitous in Turin and at this museum. Significantly notable is the startling red-and-white Turbina from 1954, powered by a gasoline turbine. In different phrases, a jet engine. The idea by no means made collection manufacturing, but it surely did make an unforgettable whine at auto reveals.

Total, the museum’s clever format — a chronological journey over a number of flooring — presents a visible narrative of the auto, from the very starting: da Vinci’s windup, spring-loaded “automobile” to the touchstone Jaguars and Ferraris of the current day.

“Folks are available and say, ‘I wasn’t fascinated by automobiles’ earlier than they obtained right here,” Mr. Vergara stated, “and after, they notice how fascinating it will get.”

PIRELLI FOUNDATION MUSEUM, Milan. Who knew that tires might foster a museum? However, quite than sheet metallic and gas injection, the Fondazione Pirelli within the heart of Milan is sustained by rubber.

An Italian establishment, Pirelli traces its affect although many years (it turns 150 subsequent 12 months) and past simply tires, though motorsports followers are aware of the model as a result of Pirellis are the one tires allowed in System 1 racing. The shows on the basis, together with work, movies and Pirelli’s assortment of ultrasophisticated promoting posters, emphasize the corporate’s work to propagate artwork and tradition amongst its work pressure. (In 2017, the Orchestra da Digital camera Italiana carried out a live performance inside a Pirelli plant.)

There’s delight of place right here as properly for the infamous Pirelli Calendar. The complete-color, oversize calendars — known as “the Cal” — turned cult objects within the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s, that includes glamorous ladies in varied states of undress. When straightforward nudity fell out of favor later, the calendars turned extra artwork and fewer Playboy.

There’s additionally an in depth archive of historic paperwork and articles in case your curiosity in Pirelli is extra educational. College students and researchers are allowed entry by association.

Italy’s Automobile Museums Supply Extra Than Simply Ferrari And Lamborghini – Information by


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