Monday 3rd June 2013
Today was the last leg of our Mille Miglia trip, and we had decided to end our journey at Modena, and visit the Ferrari museum at Maranello. After some discussion about which route to take, we thought we would go fast to get past Florence, then use the mountain roads to Modena.
The view from some of these roads was superbly wonderful and much more mountainous than we had thought. But as we were so high, we were often in the low cloud and could see very little, as the rain had come out to play again, and when it rains in Italy in chucks it down. So these roads which would have been epic in the sunshine, were well…just as epic but for different reasons and the rocks washed into the roads didn’t help, when you can barely see the road for rain and you have a hairpin turn and a 1:3 uphill climb to negotiate. We will have to do it again next time we are in Florence!
As a result we got to the Ferrari Museum at about 2.15, hungry and tired to be accosted by a man trying to sell us a ride in a Ferrari. We declined as we wanted to eat and we had had enough driving by that time! Also, I had a passing thought that the Aston owners might be lurking here to rob us of our lunch again, but no, not this time fortunately.
We spent the afternoon in the Museum and several other Ferrari shops we found nearby. It really is a smashing museum but if I’m honest, as I can never aspire to owning a Ferrari the fascination does not last long. If something is just out of reach, it pushes the boundaries of possibility but when it is not even showing up on the radar then the interest isn’t there. The Mille Miglia museum was different, I saw it as a car museum and loved it for the story it told. Yes this too is a museum but somehow I couldn’t help but see it as a car showroom.
Satiated with Ferraris we then headed to Modena to our hotel, which was again a gem. We did not expect too much from Modena as a town so we had tried a little harder to find a nice hotel and The Castello certainly fits the bill for us.
After checking in to our simply ginormous room we went for a beer in the hotel garden in the sunshine, which turned up a little after us in Modena. I do wish it would keep up, the weather has not always been as good as it should on this trip. The headline on the Italian paper we found on our table in Maranello was “When will summer arrive?” so if all of Europe down to Rome is still stuck in early Spring, who is having our summer and where?
At 7.30 we drove into Modena and quickly found the old centre where we sat down for what turned out to be a lovely meal. A thick slice of suckling pig on a bed of mash and topped with caramelised red onions and crisps for Mr Beastie and crab meat pasta parcels on a bed of puréed asparagus for me. The food, the service and the atmosphere was lovely but we had earned it after today’s drive in the rain!
So back to Port Cogolin tomorrow but we are breaking the journey up with an extended lunch stop in Portofino on the way back. We have always wanted to stop here so now we can check it out for future reference. And as for SilverBeast, he has been terrific all the way and we bought him a little Italian flag to celebrate his 1000 miles in Italy which sits proudly on his bonnet (hiding a large stone dent he had already acquired before our trip began). He is a great car to tour in, lots of space and lots of roar and pop to amuse you on your way. Well done SilverBeast, you are a hero!