Visits to Maranello and Arese

Troopie in front of the famous factory gates


Christian has always been a car buff and has a weakness for Italian cars, especially if they have a little "cavallino rampante" or prancing horse on them. As a adolescent, Christian would collect sales literature and purchase and resell old Ferrari owner manuals. He had been dreaming about visiting Ferrari and Alfa Romeo for some time. So on our way up from Southern Italy we just had to stop in the small town of Maranello famous around the world with fans of the famous Ferrari brand ! The sheer fact of being there was special for Christian. We drove in from the South over fresh green hills on small roads that are often used by motoring journalists testing the latest models. As we drove into town, all of a sudden we were following a howling F40 that Christian tried to photograph as it if was a undisclosed new model ! 


How often do you see an F40 in the street ? (left), lunch break at Ferrari (right)


The factory isn't open to visitors except if they're (very) special or if you come and take delivery of a shiny red car ! There is a large souvenir shop with a few interesting F1 bits and pieces for sale (at F1 prices) as well as a "Galleria" or Ferrari museum. We had lunch in the "official" restaurant opposite the factory hoping to see Rubens Barichello or Mauro Forghieri sketching his latest model on the table corner.


Some of the more interesting items in the Ferrari souvenir shop opposite the factory. The F1 gearbox piece and steering wheel were for sale (just in case you haven't found anything for Christian's next birthday)


The back of a modern Ferrari (left), how cars were made before we had computers (centre) and a 1950s F1


A thing of beauty...


A very happy Christian and Kathleen then drove to Parma for a short visit to this beautiful city. Did you know that the city is famous for both its ham (Parma ham) and its cheese (Parmesan) ? We stocked up on both ! The North of Italy is more populated than the South and we weren't sure where to sleep. We ended up parking Troopie in front of a church ! 



Less people know of the little village of Arese, North of Milan where Alfa Romeo started. Christian had driven there a few years back only to find the "Museo Storico" closed. We had better luck this time. There are so few people who visit that there are no tickets to the museum. One receives a badge as if visiting offices. Christian was totally alone and had the museum totally for himself : no attendants, no other visitors ! There are more than a hundred cars covering nearly a century of Italian Pininfarina style !





Christian came out of the museum with a big grin on his face and a full digital camera ! We had planned to drive North West to the Aosta valley and camp there. As we left the busy Milan area, we started thinking of surprising Kathleen's parents in Geneva by arriving a day early which is exactly what we did !


Here are our extra pages on Italy

Naples's classical sites

Ferrari & Alfa Romeo 


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