ITALY, FRANCE, GERMANY & ENGLAND
This is one tour for the car enthusiast’s bucket list
ITALY Part 1
This tour is not for the faint hearted, you are on the move every day and the days can
be long. The benefit of this tour is you do not have worry about how to get to the
various museums and factories, cities, hotels, or where to have a meal. A range of
moderately priced restaurants are recommended by the tour manager, all are of high
quality, all the hotels are of a high standard.
You must accept before make a booking that this is specialised tour and it is not a
sightseeing holiday. You can relax on your air-conditioned coach and take in the
scenery as you travel through different countries between the factory and museum
You arrive at Milan Airport early in the morning and hit the ground running, a stop for
Coffee at arrivals, then into your coach and off to pick up your fellow tourists at a
nearby airport hotel and then straight to newly re-opened Alpha Romeo Museum in
Turin around 40 minutes from the airport.
Part 1 Milan to Modena via Turin
The Alfa Romeo Museum (re-opened Late 2015)
The Panini Collection (mainly Maserati’s)
The Lamborghini Museum and Factory (Just south of Bologna)
ALPHA ROMEO MUSEUM
The museum was re-opened in late 2015 after an extensive refurbishment; it catalogues the history of one of the world’s most iconic marques, it shows the visitor the complete history of Alpha Romeo up to the present day and includes racing and road cars.
The original museum was opened in 1976 and closed in 2011. In 2013 the company commissioned Architetto Benedetto Camerana to design and redevelop the museum.
The brief was to integrate the office complex and historical collection into a focal point for the Alfa Romeo brand.
You enter the museum from the car park walking along a pathway covered by a modern Red Canopy and enter the building through the lower ground floor; the area opens up with a display of Alpha Romeo milestones. There is also a Café and Gift Shop.
You then take the escalator to level 1, you’re walk through history begins. The cars are displayed by type and era, storyboards, photographs and memorabilia tell the story with some exhibits enhanced with sound effects.
Alfa’s origins go back to 1904, its destiny was aligned to Darracq & Co. a bicycle manufacturer who changed direction and commenced building motorcars, and it established branches in London, Naples and Bordeaux.
In 1906 problems forced the company to move to Portello a preferential district near Milan and a plan to produce 600 cars a year. Early in 1909 the company was placed in liquidation.
In September 1909 at a meeting at the Automobile Club in Milan Cavaliere Ugo Stella met with designer Giuseppe Merosi and they came to an agreement that Merosi would design two cars to fall within the 12 and 24hp taxation range. The new Technical Director presented the drawings to Technical Office on the 1st January 1910 for further development.
On the 24th June 1910 the Managing Director Cavaliere Ugo Stella established a new company registering the name A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica di Automobili). A.L.F.A. took over the Darracq factory and employed its 200 employees.
The company badge was also designed early, the story goes that a young draftsman Romano Cattaneo (the younger brother of the Isotta Fraschini designer Guistino Cattaneo) told Giuseppe Merosi that while waiting for a tram on the way to work in the Piazza Castello he was taken by Visconti serpent on the Filarete Tower.
Merosi sketched the serpent and added a Red Cross on a white background, the symbol of Milan, he enclosed it in a blue disc with the scripts A.L.F.A. and Milan in Gold separated by Sabaudian knots.
Cavaliere Ugo Stella approved the final badge design and directed that drawings be prepared and the badge be put into production.
The elegant and fast 24hp model was successful as was the 12hp model and contributed the company reaching profitability by 1913.
Customers were so impressed they ask for a car that would be suitable for competition; a 40-60HP model was produced and was soon winning races. The legend begins.
When you have finished your stroll around the museum take in the 3D movie presentation before you leave, it really completes the visit to the Alpha Romeo museum.
This museum is a must for any car enthusiast,
Report by Alan Page