August 11, 2022


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Italy’s Car Museums Offer More Than Just Ferrari And Lamborghini

MILAN — Immediately now: What one phrase arrives to head when the subject matter of Italian car museums comes up at a cocktail bash?

Ferrari. Of training course. Or maybe Maserati. Or it’s possible Lamborghini. But for the upcoming thousand phrases or so, put apart all those knee-jerk responses. For now, let us consider out of the auto museum box.

Through a latest check out to the Italian north, I shuttled among Milan and Turin in research of some automotive greatness outside of what is normally located on tourists’ agendas. Locate it I did, at the “other” museums, one particular celebrating the record of Alfa Romeo and the next at the home of Fiat in the correct heartland of the Italian car industry for extra than a century.

You want crimson cars and trucks? Alfa has rosso in much more than a handful of beautiful shades. Technology? Start out with Leonardo da Vinci’s self-propelled automobile from 1478. No time for Porsches? Fantastic. You will not uncover any right here.

Here’s a nearer glance at a pair of places that equally fanatics and un-motor vehicle people can appreciate, as perfectly as a limited prevent at Italy’s iconic tire producer, Pirelli.

MUSEO STORICO ALFA ROMEO, Arese. Set in Arese, a Milan suburb, the Museo Storico is a intimate deep dive into 111 decades of Italian background, as instructed by the prism of one particular of its more fascinating and enduring makes. When the themes of the museum’s structure — Timeline, Attractiveness and Velocity — present a exact, considerate assessment of Alfa’s worth to Italy and its field, the presence of so much attractive sheet metallic in a one constructing is more than enough to excite passions.

The corporation was early “to understand that a museum could be an asset for advertising,” reported Lorenzo Ardizio, the museum’s director. Originally it was opened in 1976 only to friends and journalists, but underneath Sergio Marchionne’s guidance, Storico was refurbished and reopened in 2015 for the introduction of the Giulia sedan. The prior yr, Mr. Marchionne had engineered the merger of Fiat Chrysler Cars. (Fiat experienced taken over Alfa in 1986.) FCA is now element of the Stellantis group. Indeed, it will get challenging.

Pertaining to the Storico, Mr. Ardizio said, “The thought was to produce some thing to bring in a a great deal broader public, for people who may possibly not be notably intrigued in vehicles.” This is a recurring concept for most automotive museums.

All the usual significant-tech goodies of 21st-century exhibit formats are listed here: multimedia panels, unique lighting, a large video wall that traces some of Alfa’s elegiac performances in motorsports. The little 1.5-liter Alfettas won the first Formulation 1 globe championship in 1950, coming in 1st, next and 3rd in that Grand Prix period. Alfa’s next-spot driver was Juan Manuel Fangio, regarded as amongst the most excellent race motorists ever. The benefits were being motives to cheer in this racecar-mad country, whose automobile industry had been decimated in the mid-1940s by the retreating Germans and the advancing Allies.

It was the compact Giulietta coupe, with a structure influenced by Raymond Loewy, that reignited Alfa in showrooms in 1954. Amid the 70 or cars and trucks on lasting display in the suitable museum (there is also a closed-to-the-general public “workshop’’ with many historic Alfas), the tidy Giulietta is an awfully precious exhibit-off. Prompted by its success, Mr. Ardizio explained, the corporation blossomed soon after Globe War II, creating up to 1,000 vehicles a working day not so lengthy following it experienced been turning out only 300 every single calendar year.

Acknowledge that purple convertible in excess of there? Several moviegoers will: It is the 1600 Spider Duetto that Dustin Hoffman drove above the Bay Bridge in “The Graduate.” According to our guide at the Storico, the encyclopedic Eleonora Ventura, the classic 1966 design, built by Pininfarina’s studio, was “booked” — in fact, so ended up a inexperienced a single and a white one particular — on the deck of a luxury liner sailing from Genoa to New York.

“The ship stopped in Cannes at the movie festival and took on some actors and V.I.P.s who experienced the opportunity to travel them on the deck on the trip to New York,” she mentioned. This Alfa — a product that was created for 28 years — subsequently had “bit parts” in a number of movies.

It is value pointing out that pretty much all the data exhibited beside the autos and in the movies is in English. Mr. Ardizio estimates that far more than 130,000 readers handed however the Storico in 2020.

THE National Automobile MUSEUM, Turin. For American readers to Italy, Turin is frequently an afterthought, overshadowed by itineraries major on Rome-Florence-Milan-Venice. But for auto cognoscenti, Turin, Italy’s first money town in advance of Rome, has a rich heritage: Lancia, IVECO, Pininfarina, Bertone, Giugiaro and Ghia, magical names in Italian style and design lore, have been all established here, designed about the dwelling of Turin’s industrial megastar, Fiat.

Not remarkably, the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile is among the world’s biggest dedicated to the auto. With legacies so wealthy crafted close to a selection of about 200 types relationship from 1854, one should to get a bachelor’s diploma in history following paying out an intense number of hours listed here. Founded in 1933, the museum was renovated in 2011 and appeals to about 200,000 website visitors each year, about 50 percent of them from outside the house Italy, explained our guideline, Felipe Vergara.

Science melds with activity at the museum. 1 show highlights Components 1 championship cars and trucks driven by Fangio and Michael Schumacher yet another lights up the 1854 Bordino steam carriage that wowed the Turinese as it cruised sans horsepower by way of the city’s slim streets.

Mr. Vergara becomes animated as effectively about the notably unaerodynamic Italia, a 40-horsepower monster that competed in the infamous 1907 Peking-to-Paris automobile race. The motor vehicle on display, beaten up and war-torn, is inspiring. There are detachable mudguards for water crossings, oversize tanks for gasoline.

“The concept was, is anyone outrageous ample to go from Peking to Paris, a vacation of 16,000 kilometers?” Mr. Vergara questioned. “Five groups showed up.”

The Gobi Desert and Siberia were only two of the obstructions that faced the drivers. Prince Scipione Borghese, a armed forces man, was guiding the wheel of the Italia. He rolled the Italia into Paris right after 61 days the next-area auto arrived a few months later. Information protection was prodigious those people who experienced dismissed the car as a trend were humbled.

The museum, for excellent reason, is inextricably tied to Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana di Vehicle Torino, not “Fix it again, Tony”) and its fantastic but politically divisive founder, Giovanni Agnelli. (At a single point he was aligned with Mussolini and at an additional was place on demo for fraud.)

More than the moment in the previous 120 several years Fiat has tipped towards individual bankruptcy — the brand is basically invisible now in the United States — but its autos are ubiquitous in Turin and at this museum. Especially noteworthy is the startling pink-and-white Turbina from 1954, powered by a gasoline turbine. In other words and phrases, a jet engine. The thought by no means manufactured collection production, but it did make an unforgettable whine at vehicle shows.

In general, the museum’s intelligent format — a chronological journey about several floors — delivers a visual narrative of the car, from the extremely commencing: da Vinci’s windup, spring-loaded “car” to the touchstone Jaguars and Ferraris of the existing working day.

“People arrive in and say, ‘I wasn’t interested in cars’ before they acquired listed here,” Mr. Vergara said, “and just after, they realize how fascinating it gets.”

PIRELLI Foundation MUSEUM, Milan. Who realized that tires could foster a museum? But, somewhat than sheet metallic and fuel injection, the Fondazione Pirelli in the heart of Milan is sustained by rubber.

An Italian establishment, Pirelli traces its influence though decades (it turns 150 upcoming year) and over and above just tires, while motorsports lovers are familiar with the brand for the reason that Pirellis are the only tires permitted in Method 1 racing. The shows at the basis, which include paintings, movies and Pirelli’s collection of ultrasophisticated promotion posters, emphasize the company’s get the job done to propagate art and lifestyle between its get the job done drive. (In 2017, the Orchestra da Digital camera Italiana carried out a concert inside of a Pirelli plant.)

There’s pleasure of location in this article as very well for the notorious Pirelli Calendar. The complete-colour, oversize calendars — referred to as “the Cal” — turned cult things in the 1960s and ’70s, featuring glamorous females in several states of undress. When effortless nudity fell out of favor afterwards, the calendars turned extra art and less Playboy.

There’s also an substantial archive of historic files and content articles if your fascination in Pirelli is far more educational. College students and scientists are permitted entry by arrangement.