GET ON BOARD
Not only about fashion and gastronomic delights. Car enthusiasts rejoice! If you're lucky enough to be visiting Milan in the spring, you'll be spoilt for choice. This season's calendar features historic re-enactments, test drives on professional race circ
This season's calendar features historic re-enactments, tours on vintage cars and a few tips for shopping and dining…
Italy has given a lot to the motor industry; innovation, design and professional racing. A key driver of Italy's economy, it has contributed significantly to the country. Like the rest of Italy, in Milan, Italians' love of cars is shown by numerous races, museums, and events, as well as iconic circuits filled with history that enthusiasts should visit at least once in their lifetime. So, get on board and we'll take you on a journey to discover some of the city's must-visit places, events, curiosities and gems, and some out-of-town treats.
VINTAGE CAR EVENTS Have you planned a trip to Milan after the middle of May? On Saturday 19 May, if you stroll through the streets of the centre, you might see a procession of vintage cars, cheered on by enthusiastic spectators. This is the Mille Miglia, the historic re-enactment of a race held between 1927 and 1957. From 16 to 19 May, this not-to-be-missed event will feature 72 vintage cars from different automotive companies. According to tradition, the drivers competing in this exciting four-day rally will cover the 1,000 miles from Brescia to Rome and back again, passing through several of Italy's most beautiful cities en route. This 36th edition will be a particularly significant for the Milanese. After a hiatus of several years, these vintage cars will once again be revving their engines in the shadow of the Madonnina. On 19 May, the race will make a stopover in Milan's breathtaking piazza Duomo, one of the final checkpoints. It will then continue on to Arese, with a stopover at the Historic Alfa Romeo Museum, en route to the Monza racetrack (www.millemiglia.it).
As far as vintage cars are concerned, and only a few kilometers from Milan, on the shores of Lake Como, a visit to the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is an absolute must. This event is held from 25 to 27 May at the Villa d'Este Hotel. The motto of this year's spectacular
A fun, unique way to say hello to the city: Luca Tafuni, the brainchild behind Vintage Tour Milano, organizes small thematic tours with his timeless Fiat 500. www.vintagetour.it
event, featuring 50 historic cars from different categories, is ‘Hollywood on the Lake'. (concorsodeleganzavilladeste.com).
In just over an hour from Milan, you can reach Turin where the paths of the city's Parco del Valentino will act as a striking backdrop to the Salone dell’Auto di Torino Parco Valentino (The Turin Parco Valentino Car Show), from 6 to 9 June. The show will see the participation of 40 automotive companies including the FCA group, the Volkswagen group, MercedesBenz, Smart, Suzuki and Mazda. Innovations at this year's edition – a reference point for Italy's
calendar of automotive events – include the involvement of the entire city of Turin, which will be transformed into citywide car show. The squares and streets of the city's historic centre will become showcases for unique models, prototypes, historic cars and supercars (www.parcovalentino.com).
ITALY'S MOTOR MUSEUMS Italy boasts several car museums, most of which are located in the so-called ‘Motor Valley', an area that runs largely between the provinces of Modena and Bologna and is easily accessible from Milan in just a few hours, either by train or car. On the outskirts of Milan, the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, also known as ‘The Time Machine', tells the story of the historic Milanese car company founded in 1910. The museum explores the evolution of motoring with 70 of its most representative models. After touring the museum, visitors can access an immersive room where they can watch a series of short 4D films dedicated to Alfa's legendary successes (www.museoalfaromeo.com).
Another example of Italians' enthusiasm for the aptly named ‘House of the Snake' is the Fratelli Cozzi Museum. This historic Alfa Romeo dealership in Legnano (20 km north of Milan) now features more than 50 fourwheeled gems of design and is open for public viewing (www.museofratellicozzi.com). In the restructured monastic complex of Sant'Eufemia in Brescia, the Mille Miglia Museum explores the history of this extraordinary race, with a display of the cars that participated in the race over the years (www.museomillemiglia.it).
Finally, an important reference point for car engineering and design can be found at the National Automobile Museum, in Turin: an exhibition space featuring a display of more than 200 cars from 80 different makers and
Explore the best of Italian and international car design in some of the city's must-visit places and out-of-town treats. Below the new Pilota Chronograph Watch by Ferrari.
countries that will captivate even those who are recent aficionados (www.museoauto.it).
Those wishing to venture into the real ‘Land of Motor's should visit the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, in the province of Modena (190 km from Milan). Here, you can admire 40 iconic models of the ‘Prancing Horse' including legendary F1 grand prix cars, sports prototypes and unique concept cars. Apart from viewing the fabulous car collection, there's an opportunity to try an F1 simulator and experience the thrill of driving a Ferrari single-seater like a real pro (musei.ferrari. com/it/maranello).
POWER, PASSION, PERFORMANCE Not far from the Lombardy capital, you'll find three of Italy's most prestigious racing circuits, that are well worth an out-of-town trip. Some host celebrated national and international car and motorbike races, while others are used to test racing cars and newly developed vehicles. Some offer sports and safety driving courses as well as free test-drives. The Monza
Racetrack, situated about 15km from Milan, is especially renowned for its four straightways and its famous parabolic curve. One of the oldest circuits in the world, it has hosted the Italian Gran Prix for years. This event is one of the races of the Formula 1 World Championship, traditionally held on the first or second weekend of September. This year, the race will be held from 31 August to 2 September. The circuit is also used for events and concerts and, on some occasions, as a leg of the Giro d'Italia (www.monzanet.it).
Not far from Brescia, about 100 km from Milan, the Franciacorta Daniel Bonara circuit features 3 speedways and 13 curves of varying difficulty. From 18 to 20 May it will host the only Italian leg of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (www.autodromodifranciacorta.it).
At Imola, on the outskirts of Bologna, about 250 km from Milan, the International Enzo and Dino Ferrari Autodrome is a highly technical and difficult circuit, characterized by complex corners. In 1980, it hosted the Italian Formula 1 Gran Prix and from 1981 to 2006, the San Marino Gran Prix, as well as several editions of Motomondiale. Today, the autodrome is used to host the Italian Gran Prix Superbike, as well as other world-class motorbike and car races. Here aspiring racing drivers can get behind the wheel of a Ferrari or Porsche and test their driving skills on the racetrack (www.autodromoimola.it).
SHOPPING & LEISURE Shopping is generally a ‘woman's thing', but in this case we suspect that it's the ladies who will be waiting outside the shop for hours. Here's a roundup of Milanese stores that will delight car enthusiasts. Just steps from the Duomo, in additition to ‘Prancing Horse' apparel for men, women and children, the Ferrari Store stocks accessories, gadgets, toys and a collection of memorabilia that celebrate the success of the company. In addition to browsing the store's wares, visitors can experience the thrill of driving on a racetrack thanks to four F1 simulators (store.ferrari.com).
In the heart of the ‘Quadrilatero della moda', at the Porsche Design Store, customers can find all the merchandise of the German automotive company. The store carries the complete range of Porsche Design readyto-wear for men, women and children, accessories, small leather goods, luggage, sunglasses, watches, pens, state-of-the-art electronics and, naturally, a range of vehicle accessories (www.porsche-design.com).
Alternately, the Mercedes Me Store is located inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. This space, owned by the German car brand, takes customers on a thrilling journey into the real and virtual world of Mercedes-Benz. It also offers an array of interactive services that allows enthusiasts to interact directly with the parent company. In addition to the above, the store carries apparel, watches, small leather
Alfa Romeo Museum
Porsche Design Store
Vintage Tour Milano PHOTO: FABIO MANTEGNA; COPYRIGHT: VINTAGE TOUR MILANO
Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este