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23 June 2014 Caterina Pomini 3761

Maranello, the Ferrari Mecca

"It is my opinion that there are innate gifts that are a peculiarity of certain regions and that, transferred into industry, these propensities may at times acquire an exceptional importance… In Modena, where I was born and set up my own works, there is a species of psychosis for racing cars." - Enzo Ferrari

Included in the Emilia-Romagna region, Maranello lies approximately 16 km south of Modena and 140 km north west of Florence; best known for being the home of world famous Ferrari S.p.A. and the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 racing team, the town also houses the Official Ferrari Museum which attracts over 240.000 visitors each year. Besides the largest collection of Ferraris, the Galleria also boasts publications, films, huge screens and interactive tools such as the opportunity to turn into a Formula 1 driver on board of a semi-professional simulator. The exhibition area is spread over 6 halls and includes the official Ferrari store, two professional driving simulators, a café, a photo point and a temporary exhibition space. In addition to all the awesome things mentioned above, the Museum gives you the opportunity to take an exclusive guided tour inside the Fiorano test-track proving grounds and the Ferrari factory.

Enzo Ferrari and the Red Cars myth

"Everyone dreams of driving a Ferrari, it was my intent from the start." - Enzo Ferrari

The founding father of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and the Ferrari automobile brand was born in Modena in 1898 and decided to become a racing driver at the age of 10, after going to the races in Bologna. In 1919, he started working for a small car manufacturer and took part as a racing driver in the first post-war competition.

One year later, Ferrari earned a job at Alfa Romeo and began racing in higher profile events as a full factory driver. Alfa gave him the opportunity to take part in more prestigious competitions; however, his interest in the technical dimension of cars made him supposedly reject the offer. Enzo retired from racing in 1929 but continued to assist in designing race car machinery. He was also able to start the Scuderia Ferrari as the racing team for Alfa; however, the company won few victories and he was soon reduced to Director of Sports under Alfa's engineering executive.

Ferrari submitted his resignation in 1937-38 and established its own firm – Auto Avio Costruzioni – which supplied parts to other racing teams; during World War II - as an unfortunate consequence of being forced to supply Mussolini's fascist government with goods - the factory was bombed by the Allies and relocated from Modena to Maranello.

Today's Ferrari S.p.A was founded in 1947 and won the first Grand Prix with José Froilán González at Silverstone, UK in 1951; the first F1 Championship came in the 1952-53 season, however, the greatest victories were enjoyed at Le Mans and in Formula One in the 1950s and 1960s. Due to economic reasons, the company's fortunes declined and 50% of it was sold to Fiat between 1965 and 1969. Enzo Ferrari stood down as president two years later, but remained deeply involved until his death in 1988.

Did you know that...

In 1923, Enzo Ferrari won a race at the Circuit of Sivocci in Ravenna and was being given by Francesco Baracca's mother the Prancing Horse badge that decorated the fuselage of her son's SPAD S.XIII fighter aircraft. This unmistakable icon would have to wait until 1932 to be displayed on a racing car.

“Ferrari” – a touching movie based on the book by Enzo Biagi - was released in 2003 and depicts Enzo Ferrari's rise from a successful racing driver to one of the most famous businessmen of all time.

If you are visiting Florence and you feel like going on a group tour to the Ferrari Museum, contact www.ciaoflorence.it for details. The Maranello full day tour also includes a visit to a famous “acetaia” (where the best traditional balsamic vinegar is produced), a delicious lunch in a typical restaurant and a visit to a cheese farm (where the best Parmigiano Reggiano is produced).

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