Earlier this year, with the longest car show in the world hitting Milano, Luxury News selected a handful of museums across the country to visit as a quick respite from all that’s so irresistibly horsey about Italy. And, given their size and historical importance, it seems like the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese was the right choice — since it’s right next to Ferrari World. Though it’s still work in progress, this hasn’t stopped it from being the place to see Italy’s zippy classics.
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Here are a few of the exhibitions to see if you want to drop $4.5 million for a Ferrari 250 GT California or $2.5 million for a McLaren 650S, as well as the exhibits that complement each of them, near and far.
This exhibition pays special tribute to the Blue Series, which celebrated the centenary of the original Ferrari brand in 2014. Modern automobiles, first and foremost, are on display as are photographs documenting the life of the man in charge of the production line: Enzo Ferrari, who, if you believe the documentary Unrivaled, threatened bankruptcy after one less expensive engine than his original expectations.
Located near Pisa, the Ferrari museum holds so many automobiles and posters it takes up two stories, in the former Fiat factory, which is open daily for both passengers and a guided tour. The museum is located inside a complex of buildings named after famous Italian motor men and designers.
The Villa Mosaico, which hosts the Lamborghini and Martini museums, is located in Florence’s chic Pucci neighborhood. Sitting high on a hill, it feels a little like an elephant’s temple. There’s a private museum in the ground floor of the museum, and up in the attic of the main building, one can find the Green Acres — a film museum dating back to the ’80s that features a retrospective of Lamborghini’s productions. Take a self-guided tour of the multi-level museum, or buy tickets online.
Arguably the best way to experience Ferrari is through the 1212 Grand Sport. Ferrari, which is known for its calm, corporate personalities, got religion in the ’60s when it opened the Dallara, a sort of human-engineered race track, which was subsequently renamed the Testarossa. The Ferrari Museum and Conservatoria is located on Testarossa. During the winter, it’s technically closed, but one can take a tour of the factory at the end of March and the beginning of September and even ride one of the performance cars there during the day.
Visitors to the Lamborghini museum can take advantage of the Google simulator, which simulates a drive of the different sports cars in Lamborghini, with a 360-degree view of the factory below. Meanwhile, the Villa Mosaico can be opened to the public throughout the year. Check the opening date on the schedule, and then check into the hotel nearby. The Phanuela, a hotel that’s part of the Lamborghini complex, has a very good restaurant, so the lunchtime traffic is likely to overwhelm the room.
About 15 minutes away is Pisa, where the Villa Quattro Fontanelle has an open-air, Venetian-style courtyard; a huge Renaissance villa once owned by Niccolo Machiavelli; and a modern building where an exhibition of cars, motorcycles, and other gadgetry will be on display. The mall further out of town is also home to the oldest museum in the world dedicated to cars. The Repubblicano della Motorsport, which features one of the biggest collections of cars outside of the United States, was designed in 1909, and still preserves the original architectural layout.
Many of the museums also have after-hours tours, so if you’re looking for a non-fashion-week night out, you don’t need to go into the city to find culture.