Ferrari, Maserati, Ducati, Lamborghini and more – Emilia-Romagna’s Motor Valley makes for a unique holiday destination for motor enthusiasts. Home to two world-class motor racing circuits (Misano World Circuit near Rimini, and Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Autodrome), more than 8 world famous brands and factories, and 9 dedicated museums all within short motoring distance, the Motor Valley is fast becoming one of the major tourist attractions in Northern Italy.
If you’re motoring from Northern Europe, you’ll aim to arrive in either Modena or Bologna, which are the central points for the attractions. If you’re flying into Italy your best destination is Bologna’s Marconi Airport.
When to visit
Most of the attractions that make up the Motor Valley are open all year round. Keep in mind that places like Bologna and Modena get very hot during the summer, while winter can be quite wet/foggy. If you visit in Spring or Autumn you should get good weather to enjoy driving around the countryside.
During the summer, though, there is the world-famous Riviera di Rimini and San Marino GP, which is a great event (even for non enthusiasts!). Basing yourself in Rimini or Riccione for the GP, you can easily take in other sites (Modena is just over two hours from Rimini).
What to See:
There are a host of great museums to visit.
The Ducati Museum in Bologna, a small but well curated museum, with all the famous motorcycles – from the initial Cucciolo through to the latest superbikes. The museum visits are by appointment only, monday to friday (Tel. +39 051 6413111)
There are two separate Ferrari museums to visit in and near Modena.
The Enzo Ferrari Museum was innaugurated in 2012, and hosts up to 2500m2 of exhibition space, and a restored workshop where Enzo Ferrari started his career.
If the Enzo Ferrari Museum concentrates on Ferrari’s history, the Ferrari Museum at Maranello is more dedicated to the current company, with exhibitions dedicated to Formula 1, and can offer Factory visits. The museums are linked by shuttle buses, and many of the hotels in Modena and nearby Bologna offer specific packages to bring you to the museums.
In the small town of Coriano, in the hills above Rimini, there’s a new museum dedicated to the tragic story of Marco ‘Sic’ Simoncelli, one of this region’s great racing heroes. Emilia-Romagna is racing-crazy, in particular in the hilly border regions between Romagna, the Marche, and Tuscany, and Sic was one of the local heroes to emerge on the Moto GP Circuit. On the 23rd of October, 2011 he died tragically during the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Museum comemorates him, and gives you a great insight into how important motor sports are to this region.
Between Bologna and Modena you’ll find the Lamborghini factory and museum, in the town of Sant’Agata Bolognese. At this point it’s worth pointing out that the whole region of Emilia-Romagna is home to some of the best food in the country, so when travelling to these museums it’s worth looking for out of town restaurants where you’ll get spectacular home-style cooking.
This is all just a brief introduction to Emilia-Romagna’s Motor Valley. You can get more information at the official tourist office site – and check back here for updates as we dedicate articles to individual attractions.