Today I would like to celebrate the first 50 ‘likes’ on my Facebook page by telling you about a unique experience that I had recently. It begins with a journey into the past of car racing to the roots of modern racing, and anyone can undertake this experience by visiting the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, Italy near Milan. When you first arrive, the building appears quite anonymous from the outside. It looks like it has offices, but when I arrived in the parking lot I was greeted by a long and winding path. This to me represented the fluidity with which Fiat is reintroducing the Alfa brand. The building inside is brand new and the architecture is very modern. Just near the entrance you are welcomed with one of the latest models of their convertible. The visit begins with a brief history of the car manufacturer that was founded in 1910 and developed along with the history of Italy up to today. It explains the change of logo and name, from ALFA (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) Alfa Romeo Milano up to the latest Alfa Romeo production started also in the south. The first models of the period 1910-15 had some success, however with the arrival of the war the company was reconverted to the production of aircraft engines (the first gigantic pieces are the ones on display at the museum as one enters). At the end of the war, the company was undergoing a big financial crisis because of low sales and was eventually taken over by the state. Meanwhile, the brand had made its way in motor racing by winning the first Targa Florio and soon gathered fans. It is said that one of them was Benito Mussolini, who, considering the prestige the company gave Italy with all its victories, decided to save the company when it reached the edge of bankruptcy. The visit continues with models from the 30s and 40s, and the premium models released during the economic boom. It continues with the concept cars from the biggest names in Italian design, and then the tour ends with the most famous models that have made the racing history in Italy and around the world. I, however, am not writing this piece to be a guide of the museum for you. I would like instead to pass my experience on to you. If you walk into the museum, not only do you buy a ticket to see the cars on display, you buy a ticket to experience the history of Italy through one of its biggest icons (do not forget that the Ferrari team was born as a division of Alfa Romeo racing unit). Through these cars, in fact, you can see the trends, the ideas and extravagances that animated every decade of the 1900’s, starting from the beginning of the century to present day. You can see the courage of the pioneers of the sport motors, the strength of what could have become an industrial Italian giant if it had not been badly administered. You can especially admire the work of talented craftsmen and designers who carved in clay curves and edges that only the patience of the hammers of the masters of aluminum have been able to achieve. The racing department then is really a jump into the past because you are completely surrounded by three walls with giant screens showing videos of the story of cars of the past. It is a spectacle of really exciting lights and sounds that ends with an explanation of the impossible races and the miracles performed by the pilots of the past on board of an Alfa Romeo.
In conclusion, the museum at Arese is considered more an experience than a visit because the level of involvement is very high. If you are like me and also have a passion for cars, the Alfa will win a place in your heart. I can only recommend that you head to the very nice cafe, (the food is very good), and take a tour of all the showrooms. You will see that Fiat is bringing the company back to its origins – that of a brand born from the races and for the races. The company that has inflamed the hearts of generations of Italians and the rest of the world with his follies and especially with its victories.