The Hidden (Vintage) car museums of Modena

Visit Italy for cathedrals, cuisine and culture, but stay in Modena for vintage cars. Most importantly, visit the vintage museums such as Stanguellini and Museo Umberto Panini. The later displays a variety of racing cars and bikes, while Stanguellini has different vintage vehicles.

Stanguellini Car Museum in Modena

Who are they?

 

At 72 years of age, in 1981 Dec 4th, Vittorio Stanguellini passed on. He had a great spirit for racing, which he passed to his junior – Francesco. Hence, as a cautious car driver, Francesco’s children have inherited his enthusiasm. The car museum has a name, tradition and flag that need to be secured. Thus Francesca had not option other than adapt great motivation. Therefore, both Francesca and Simone have kept that legacy.

Stanguellini FJ

Where is it?

Stanguellini is a car museum located in Modena, Italy. Currently run by Francesco Stanguellini, it has a collection of different car models. These vintage cars include Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini, among others.

Most visitors do acknowledge the honor to tour in this museum with the Arturo Vicario – a Stanguellini curator. The museum has a vintage machine store downstairs. Arturo is a precious trove in the history of automotive. He shares his experience with a reputable museum such as Stanguellini and others.

When to visit

Stanguellini museum operates from 9 am to noon, and 3 to 6 pm. It is open from Monday to Saturday and closes on Sundays. However, it would be great and convenient to get a reservation before visiting. The Modena museum opens only by appointment.
This is not the kind of museum to miss especially if you love vintage cars or anything related to it. It has a really interesting collection, as we will discuss in the next point.

What to see

Stanguellini 1

The museum displays top cars such as Colibri, 750 Sport Internazionale, and 750 Corsa. It has a well-displayed collection of these cars and more. Inside, you will learn lots of history about Stanguellini origin, yes more than you have learned from this article. Also, you will view a nice variety of vehicles such as Carrera Panamerica and Mile Miglia, just to mention but a few.

Another thing you will love about Stanguellini museum is its great presentation. The personals are willing to spend whatever amount of time with you. Just to ensure you capture everything you want. They will ensure you see the entire car collection.

Definitely, you should make an effort to visit. However, you should book before a visit and teach yourself some Italian language – would you? Nevertheless, this Modena museum is located on a great atmosphere.

Motors tradition

Back then, engineering degrees never existed. So, Francesco’s dad had to teach himself about cars. In fact, Ferrari himself attained his degree in engineering at the age of 62. According to Francesco, they produced these cars from their heart. Also, Enzo Ferrari and Francesco’s dad exchanged advice and opinions.

After work, they used to meet at a trattoria, have few glasses of wine and allow ideas to flow. Eventually, they discovered world-breaking ideas such as Stanguellini Guzzi Colobri. Such a model had a 250 cc engine, which helped it to break 6 world records (at 1963 Monza).

How to book

This is a small workshop and its founders are pioneers of all the racing vehicles. Today, you must visit this museum whenever you visit Italy. You can book by email. Alternatively, you can make a phone call through +39 059 361105.

Museo Umberto Panini

Galleria

Who are they?

Umberto Panini is one of the members of a successful business family in Italy. He took a step to invest in car collection. Unfortunately, he passed on in 2013. However, his legacy is still ongoing to-date. Initially, Maserati brothers established the Maserati Collection. Later on, Omar Orsi expanded it.

Since its expansion, the collection has kept intact. The Umberto Panini motorcycles and cars collection is still free to anyone. So far, the collection has 60 motorcycles and 40 cars.

Where is it?

Museo Umberto Panini is in Cittanova di Modena, Italy. It belongs to the most elegant Maseratis collections situated in a farmhouse.

What to see

The 1953 Maserati A6 GCS Pininfarina is a highlight from Panini collection. Besides showing cars and motorcycles, people know the farm for the rich Parmigiano Reggiano. This is an Italian cheese. Some people think this museum is just for food. Some people visit the museum just for its cheese, but they find themselves staying for its vehicles. Well, they are wrong because they can find more like cars, tractors, and motorbikes.

Stirling Moss

In addition, the museum displays the Tipo 61 Birdcage. This collection has an extraordinary frame with 200 tubes made of alloy. It has a frame weighing 38 kilograms and a unique Drogo bodywork. More so, you will come across Maserati 420M58, which is an Eldorado. Stirling Moss used this Maserati to participate in Monza 500 Miglia spots.

When to visit

Museo Emberto Panini operates on Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm. It also opens on Monday to Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm, Italian time. It closes on Sundays. This time is really flexible to suit all customers.

You can reach Museo Emberto Panini by car. When on the exit of Modena Nord, take the Via Emilia and turn on the direction to Reggio Emilia. Alternatively, you can use Google map. It will take you only 20 minutes from Modena city to reach this museum.

How to book

You can visit the collection individually or as a group. However, you can only do so via a reservation. Most importantly, a guide should accompany you. If you want to visit as a group, then you must not exceed 50 persons. The family groups should be a maximum of five persons. You can visit as a family in absence of a guide, but you need permission. You can get authorization via email at west@hombre.it.

The bottom line

Italy has great cultural events, which you can visit when done with their vintage museums. You should not worry about where to spend because the city has many nearby restaurants. In addition, you will find many places to dine and wine such as restaurants, canteens or holiday farms. If you love nature, you can go to the parks, botanical gardens or natural reserves. Either way, just make a point to visit either Museo Emberto Panini or Stanguellini museum.

History And Art Tour Of Ravenna (Half Day Itinerary)

Welcome to Ravenna, a quaint town that lies in the Italian province of Emilia Romagna. This city, known as the mosaic capital of the world, has more than enough to offer to a curious traveller. If you are an art or a history lover, this is the place to be. This town with its rich heritage was the capital of Western Roman Empire for three centuries. It is home to the famous Italian Poet Dante, who spent the last years of his life here. You can see the churches and baptisteries adorned with beautiful mosaics, which is the work of skilled craftsmen that gave their best to beautify this town. Eight of the world’s UNESCO heritage sites are housed here. The historic Christian monuments, its proximity to Adriatic Riviera, the food and the art make it a place worth visiting once and again.
The city is very popular with tourists who are looking for a day excursion from other towns of the country such as Venice, Bologna and Rome.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Mausoleum di Galla Placida

On this tour, we will visit four of the significant Christian monuments in the city of Ravenna. It will take us back in time to as early as the 5th century. We will begin the tour of this ancient and artistic city with a visit to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. With it, enter the Roman Empire in the 5th century. We will also visit Basilica  of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Basilica of San Vitale and visit Basilica of Saint Francis and Tomb of Dante Alighieri. We will end our tour with a visit to Piazza del Popolo, the city’s town hall.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: Galla Placidia was a talented and a
religious woman who was the daughter of Emperor Theodocius I the Great. Her father was the ruler of both the western and eastern empires. Galla Placidia lived from AD 392 to AD 450 and ruled the city of Ravenna.

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia was erected by Galla during her reign in Ravenna along with her other grand building projects in Rome, Jerusalem and Ravenna. It was constructed to bury the empress and other noble family members’ remains. The structure is known for the most impressive mosaics in the entire city. The UNESCO documents list these mosaics as artistically perfect as compared to the others in the town. The mausoleum is situated behind the Basilica de San Vitale and is approximately 100 years older than the Basilica. From outside, the building looks small and simple. However, the interiors are entirely covered in mosaic artwork, which can be dated back to the 5th century. The entry to the building is through the corridors that lead to National Museum. One batch of visitors is allowed to stay for five minutes. You can quickly go for the next five minutes viewing on a non-rush day.

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo: Next we go to see the Basilica of
Sant’Apollinare Nuovo to explore the Theodoric empire in the 5-6th centuries.
It was built as a Palatine church of Arian religion next to the palace of
Theodoric who lived from AD 493 to AD 526. Here you can admire the Byzantine wall mosaics and see how those evolved in style, ideology and iconography. The mosaics depict tales of Jesus and showcase the crucial areas in the historic city of Ravenna. You can see the original mosaic work that illustrates the New Testament in the 26 scenes from the Theodoric empire. You can see the two side pilasters and mullioned windows adorning the façade of the Basilica. The original four-sided porch was renovated with a marble porch in the 16th century. Towards the right of the façade lies a cylindrical structure that dates back to the 9th century.

Basilica of San Vitale

Basilica di San Vitale

Basilica of San Vitale: It is one of the most important examples of
Christian art in the entire country. The church is not architecturally a
basilica. But this honourable title was given to it by the Roman Catholic
Church; it is a title bestowed to buildings of significant historical and
religious significance. It was started by Bishop Ecclesius and completed in AD 548 by Archbishop Maximian. The mosaics in the Basilica represent the
ideological and religious beliefs of the empire of Justinian who reigned from
527 to 565. These are the best preserved Byzantine mosaics outside
Constantinople. Once you enter the octagonal Basilica, you will be mesmerised by the width and elevation of the spaces and the beautiful frescoes of the cupola that were painted by the Bolognese painters. The structure is made of marble with the dome made of terra-cotta, which lies on eight pilasters. You can see the merger of eastern and western art, which represents the oriental art influence. It was marked as a UNESCO world heritage site in the year 1996.

Basilica of Saint Francis and Tomb of Dante Alighieri: We now visit the Italian poet’s area where we pay homage and discover Italians love for him. We also go back in history and learn how his remains were stolen to be kept in Ravenna.
The original church was built in AD 450 by Bishop Neone and almost replaced in 9th  century by a more massive structure. From the ground plan, it looks like a smaller version of Old St. Peters in Rome. This is Dante’s last church and is the place where Dante’s funeral took place in the year 1321. The church was again renovated in the 17th and 18th century.

We conclude the historic tour with a visit to the city’s town hall square Piazza del Popolo. It was built by Venetians and has a resemblance to St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Here you can enjoy some ice cream, have a hot cup of coffee or dine at any of the restaurants. You can roam around the Piazza and also visit the many mosaic workshops that sell mosaic art pieces.

There is no better way to explore the city than this guided tour that shares the secrets and treasures of Ravenna’s with the travellers. The duration of this walking tour is approximately three hours. Please ensure to
wear suitable clothing as you are going to visit places of worship. Also, it
would be advisable to wear comfortable footwear to ease your walking while you peek into the historical past of the city.

Ferrara – the forgotten gem of the Italian Renaissance

Lovely Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the North East of Italy, did not just happen to be a beautiful city; it was planned that way! Designed to be both beautiful to look at and at the same time functional – fulfilling the Humanist concept of the “Ideal City” where all the needs of all the residents would be met, it is the only planned Renaissance town in Italy that was completed and the town planning principles that were used back then in the 13th century are still in existence today. Under the patronage of the ruling Este family, Ferrara became a centre for art and culture and attracted some of the greatest artists of the time, many of whom have left their mark in the city. There is a lot to see in Ferrara, but the following 3 examples should be at the top of your list:

FERRARA 2006
Ferrara castle of the Ducal family – source

1. The Estense Castle.

This very imposing structure, half palace and half medieval fortified castle complete with a moat, was the home of the Este family. It started life as a defensive structure, the Castello di San Michele and the first phase was the construction of the Lion’s Tower (Torre dei Leoni). Following a particularly violent peoples’ uprising, the Este family commissioned the architect Batolino da Novara to improve the fortifications and build a palace worthy of the Este family . Three additional towers were built to form a rectangle with the original tower and then connecting blocks were constructed enclosing a huge inner courtyard. The moat was fed by the river Po, on whose banks the castle stands. The Estense Castle is right in the centre of Ferrara and guided tours are available several times a day: there is a lot to see from kitchens and dungeons to the Ducal Chapel and the Garden of the Oranges. A climb to the top of the Lion’s Tower provides a great view of the surrounding walls and countryside.

2. Palazzo Diamanti (Palace of the diamonds)

The Palazzo Diamanti is named after the amazing marble blocks which clad the outside of the building; each of the over 8000 blocks of while marble has been carved to resemble a polished diamond, and their placement has been carefully considered to maximise the light reflected off the walls. The outer walls enclose a Renaissance courtyard with a marble well at the centre – very characteristic of the gardens of this city. Today the Palace houses the National Gallery of Art, home of some excellent examples of Italian Renaissance art and many of the artists who were drawn to Ferrara as a centre of the Arts in the 15th century are represented here.

3. The City Walls

Only Ferrara and Lucca have such intact Renaissance city walls! Ferrara boasts over 9 kilometres of walls built mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries, completely surrounding the historic centre. This is a great place to walk or cycle and observe the locals who come there to relax under the trees and meet friends. Along the way you will be able to see towers, gates, passages and battlements, one after the next; a walk around the wall is an excellent way to work up an appetite for some of the fabulous food to be had in the town.

It is easy to get to Ferrara – it is on the main railway line from Venice, Florence or Ravenna and just 30 min from Bologna. Once you reach the city centre, which is strictly car-free, walking or cycling like the locals is your best way to get around and see all the attractions of this delightful town.

 

 

 

 

The Food, Wine And Architecture Of Mantua, Italy

Mantua, or Mantova in its native form, is the shy, but beautiful neighbour to popular cities like Parma, Verona and Venice. Considered to be the finest city in Lombardy, Mantua is an important cultural gateway to a rich Renaissance heritage.

Perched gloriously on the banks of the River Mincio, the city is further surrounded by three beautiful man-made lakes that just add to the attraction of this glorious Italian city. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, Mantua is a living testament to the powerful Gonzaga family who ruled the city and surrounding towns during the Renaissance.

With breath taking architecture, religious sites, palaces, summer houses, villas and even an 11th century Rotunda, visitors have an up close and personal chance to get an idea what life must have been like under the rule of the Gonzaga family during the Renaissance. Much of the extension of the city is owed to the Gonzaga family who had a pinnacle role to play.

The family were pioneers in the conservation and promotion of the arts and culture, and the city played host to many a famous artist, composer and musician in its heyday, and Mantua is indelibly linked with the history of opera. The family’s opulent home, the Palazzo Ducale, is an extravagant estate, boasting more than 500 rooms with a massive complex of gardens, courtyards and gardens, and complete with frescoes painted by Mantega in 1474.

Right in the heart of the city brings you to the piazzas, where some of the most beautiful buildings can be found. Four impressive squares converge to create the city centre, with Piazza Sordello possibly the most majestic. Each piazza seems to have at least one most-magnificent building, so lovers of architecture will be awed by the examples of Palazzo Vescovile, Torre della Gabia (Cage Tower), the Tazi Nuvolari Museum in the Palazzo del Podesta, Rotunda di San Lorenzo, and the clock tower in the Palazzo della Ragione. Of course, no Italian city worth its salt is without a stunner in the church department, and in Mantua the finest examples are the Duomo and the Basilica Sant’Andrea.

Winding around the squares are cobbled streets filled with bustling sidewalk cafes and excellent restaurants. This is where visitors have a chance to experience the other big attraction of Mantua – the food and wine.

Northern Italian cuisine is all in a class of its own, and Lombardy is known for a region that is famous for its typical country dishes, like risotto and freshly made filled pasta. A favourite on the menu is tortelli pasta stuffed with pumpkin topped with the special local delicacy – shaved white truffles. Washed down with a mouthful of the region’s most popular, the Lambrusco Mantovano DOC, which comes from the local vineyards just to the north of the city, it makes the perfect taste of Mantua and Lombardy.

The city’s River Mincio provides other popular local dishes – shrimps and freshwater pike but, the predominant factor here is that all Mantuan cuisine is prepared with serious care, and only the freshest, seasonal and simple ingredients are used.

Family run restaurants seeped in traditions can be found everywhere, from the humble bakery to the elaborate world class restaurants. The atmosphere and the friendly charisma pervade all eateries in Mantua, and spills onto the sidewalk tables and chairs. Families that run restaurants do so with a serious passion for food, and the preservation of local culinary history, often bringing old, traditional recipes back to life.

So if you are visiting the city, even for just a few days, put on those walking shoes or pick up a bicycle and cruise the cobbled streets like a local, with surroundings that will whisk you right back into time.