A Month in Bologna

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Road Trip

This week, it was time to break out of Bologna and start exploring some of the other places in the vicinity. One of them was Maranello, known to car fans as the home of Ferrari. My plan was to visit the factory, which I figured would be fantastic. Upon further investigation, I found out that there are certain requirements that have to be fulfilled before a tour could be arranged. First is that you have to ask for an appointment in advance. I figured that was fair, seeing that many California wineries request that also. The second requirement is that you must already own a Ferrari. Maranello, we have a problem! If I already owned one, I'd be driving it, not visiting their stupid factory. So, we settled for a backup plan, which was to visit the Ferrari Museum there. Now, Maranello is a little ways South of Modena, so I figured we needed a car. (Check out the location on the map found on the Welcome page.) I made arrangements online and picked up our black Fiat Punto at the airport. Off we went in our little compact. Funny, even though you may not be going very fast in a small car, it just seems faster, until you can't get out of the way of a big semi.

The visit to the auto museum was a mixed blessing. As we parked, we were approached by a very attractive Italian girl, who wanted to know if we'd like to test drive a Ferrari. For only 50 Euros, that is. That's about 75 bucks. She would even take my picture at the steering wheel of one, which was included in the price. A better model Ferrari would cost 85 Euros. Lord knows what you might get for 100 Euros. We told her we might consider her proposition after we toured the museum.

As expected, the building was packed with gorgeous examples of Italian styling and performance. Most car companies race their products to help market them. Enzo Ferrari started building and selling cars so he could afford to go racing. The company has been very successful at both. There is a small lift in the middle of the building to get exhibits to the upper floor. It was being used to move a silver convertible into it's assigned space when we were there. It took three or four employees to push it into location and it was interesting to see that they all wore gloves.

To net out the visit, the cars are fabulous, but could be presented better. To see an auto museum which really does a great job at that, see the Mercedes Benz exhibit in Boeblingen, south of Stuttgart, near Ronnie's home town of Pforzheim. (When I was stationed there, the GI's called Boeblingen "Bubble Gum".)


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