Museo Alfa Romeo

 

Ferrari. Lamborghini. Pagani. Maserati. Fashionable Italy is, unsurprisingly, home to many a fashionable luxury car manufacturer. But luxury isn’t the only automobile option in il bel paese, “the beautiful country.” Somewhere between a sleek 488 GTB and a fun-sized Fiat, Alfa Romeo finds its high-end market.

Remember those model cars you played with as child?

 

 

Imagine entering a building full of them — life-sized. That’s what it’s like being inside Arese’s Museo Alfa Romeo, not far outside one of the world’s fashion capitals, Milan. Let’s walk down memory lane. (And by “memory,” I don’t mean mine; many of these collectibles are much, much…much…much older than I.)

 

 

It’s 1955: What’s parked in your driveway? Better yet, what’s playing at the drive-in? Hand me a maltshake!

 

 

Fun fact: Enzo Ferrari (yes, that Ferrari) was a car tester-turned-racer at Alfa Romeo —once the country’s leading auto manufacturer— before he founded the company that produces those iconic red sports cars. You’ll find an allusion to this bit of history in one of the museo‘s lower levels.

 

 

Speaking of history, did you know Alfa Romeo got its start in the aviation industry? Its engines powered bomber planes and fighter jets during WWI and WWII.

 

 

Shifting to cars, trucks, and buses after wartime, Alfa has gone on to produce countless winners in prominent motorsport competitions like Formula One and Grand Prix. In fact, it was the winner of the first F1 championship and the first World Automobile Championship.

 

 

Care to take a test drive and feel the horsepower behind a Giulia Quadrifoglio?

 

 

If you enjoy the wind in your hair, but prefer not to speed on a motorway, fear not! The museum boasts a theater that rivals that of one in a theme park. At attendant ushers you into the “movie theater,” for what you think might be a documentary. But then… Racing seats vibrating, cold air rushing against your face, you feel as though you’re speeding through an actual race course. The hall looks a little futurist. Or like a secret lab studying extraterrestrials.

 

 

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground (but why?), you may enjoy the privacy of some very futuristic pods where you can sport a VR headset during a virtual race.

 

 

Museo Alfa Romeo is a study on innovation, speed, history, and beauty. What else do I need to say to sell you on visiting?

 

 

Ok, I’m off to the races! Or, at least, back to the theater. Ciao!