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The sight of newly polished vintage cars winding their way through the quintessential Italian highlights: rolling green hills, mountain passes, coastal views, ancient castles and medieval villages as they complete the famous ‘Terre di Canossa’ classic car race is an unforgettable vision. If you’re a car enthusiast, or even if you’re not, there’s something so redolent of times past about the vintage procession, paired with Italy’s most beautiful sights, that you can’t help but enjoy it.
Not to mention the legendary status of this race, which journeys through the ancient roads of the Matilde di Canossa, Great Countess of Matilda, the 12th century queen of Italy. Starting in Emilia-Romagna’s Motor Valley – so called because it was the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari and home to car brands Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati, Dallara Energica and Pagani – the race travels 600km along southwest Italy passing famed Tuscan towns of Pisa and Lucca.
However, like most travel, the joy is in the journey. In Emilia, the classic cars travel on fortified roads built by the Roman Army 2,000 years ago, cruising past the cultural cities of Italy’s central heartland such as Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma and Piacenza. Mountain passes cut through the Apennines offering dramatic scenery before the greenery of Tuscany greets drivers until you meet the coastline of Versilia and the upmarket seaside resort of Forte dei Marmi.
The race is made up of several legs, so there’s time in between legs to enjoy the hospitality of Emilia-Romagna and beyond, and foodie experiences from each region. There’s also a fair amount of pomp and ceremony attached to the event – expect gala dinners, Michelin-starred dining, lunches at beach clubs and glitzy awards ceremonies.
If you’re an owner of classic car and fancy having a go, your vehicle needs to be dated between 1919 and 1976 and with only a small number of cars permitted in the race, it’s sure to be an intimate and unforgettable journey.