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A Ferrari Adventure

As a father of three sons, I hope to have as many memorable experiences with them as possible. Some experiences I’ll observe and I’ll take part in others. Some experiences the whole family will be a part of and others will be one on one. This is one of the experiences I’m fortunate to have had with my oldest son.

A new Tifosi member

Each year at the local elementary school there is a book fair. In the early years, our kids were all readers and begged to buy books at the fair. I’m not sure if it was 4th or 5th grade but, our oldest son came home from one fair with a La Ferrari super car poster.

The Poster

In the years that followed the poster purchase, he acquired Ferrari RC cars, Lego cars and even a Ferrari hat. Fast forward to early 2019 and we were planning a family trip to Europe. There were many milestone birthdays and a big wedding anniversary prompting the trip. In particular, I turned 50 and my oldest son turned 16. The trip started in Rome followed by a stay in Umbria, a move to the Cinque Terre and then on to Switzerland with a final stop in Paris.

While planning the trip my son wondered aloud (asked) if we could visit the Ferrari museum while in Italy. He made a valid point that he may never be that close to visit such a special place. I agreed and promised a trip to see the birth place of the prancing horses.

It’s important to note that there are two Ferrari museums. The Enzo Ferrari Musuem is in Modena and dedicated to the history of the company and to Enzo. The Ferrari museum in Maranello is more about the racing team and the modern cars. Both museums are worth a visit.

The groundwork

It’s important to point out that the summer of 2019 was sweltering in continental Europe. Hitting 100 degrees was common and overnight temps seldom fell much into the 70’s in lower Italy.

Our base of operations for a good part of our stay in Italy was a beautiful, ancient estate in the town of Umbertide, Umbria. While a convenient location for touring the local area, Umbertide is tricky to get in and out of by train. The town’s train station does not connect much to the north. To head north, one must travel about an hour by car to the town of Arezzo. Once at Arezzo’s station we were looking at 2 hours to Modena via Florence and Bologna.

Our initial plan was for our family of five to go. When we realized the logistical web we had to weave, we decided for me and my oldest son to make the trek.

The adventure – Modena

It must be dedication to a cause to get up with the sun during vacation. With sleep still in our eyes, we slipped into our VW Tiguan rental and drove through the sleepy Italian countryside. After the hour long drive to Arezzo, we had little time before our train was set to leave. So, we grabbed a few pastries and coffee near the train station and we were off.

Although long, and clocking in at over 2 hours of travel time, the train ride was pleasant. We changed trains in Florence with little delay. After passing through Bologna, we pulled into Modena central station around 10:15am. We were both thankful that the Enzo Ferrari Museum is a 10 minute walk from the train station. We took our first pictures as we approached the museum at 10:30am and were both looking for shade already. This museum is in two buildings – the main museum and a small annex building. We started in the main building where the AC was already a welcome relief. Although not a large museum, it’s stocked with beautiful cars. As well, there was a periodic, immersive video about Enzo projected on the walls. The real beauty of our visit was there was hardly another soul around.

We took our time roaming around photographing the cars and reading the displays. We had a quick bite to eat in the relaxing cafe and moved onto the annex building. The annex building is small but has some beautiful cars including an Alain Prost F1 car and a blue Dino. As well, there is a recreation of Enzo’s office with some authentic pieces from his office.

The adventure – Maranello

To get both museums in one day, we walked across the street to a small office where we arranged a bus trip to Maranello. The 20-minute ride was in a comfortable coach that shuttled us to the front door of the Maranello museum. Maranello is Ferrari as this is the location of the offices and factories. This museum is much larger with many exhibits. As luck would have it, we were there at a time when the super car exhibit was in house (La Ferrari, F40, Enzo Ferrari, FXXK).

There is an awesome display dedicated to the F1 team that has the many cars through the years. As well, there is a brilliant trophy display. We were both smitten with the display of every F1 car in miniature. We topped off our visit with rides in the F1 simulators that the actual F1 teams use for training. We got to drive a few laps of the Spa Francorchamps circuit.
With it getting later in the day, we headed a few blocks away to the flagship Ferrari store. Although nice stuff, we passed on buying anything and got back to grab the bus back to Modena. The 10 minute walk back to the Modena train station was sweltering.

The adventure – getting back

By 3:30pm the thermometer was reading 101 degrees. Our delayed train meant we got sizzle a little longer on the train platform. When the train finally arrived, half of the cars did not have operating air conditioning and were boiling hot. We made our way though the cars to find people in our seats. As expected, all passengers were trying to pile into the seats of the few cars with AC. We found two couples sitting together in the four facing seats. Two of the seats were ours. I did not feel right booting the ladies so I asked one of the men to move so my son could sit, which he did. I stood at the end of the car for the hour plus ride to Florence. Thankfully, our train from Florence back to Arezzo was cooler.

Once back to Arezzo, we opened the car to let the hot air rush out and cranked the AC until we were both actually chilly.

Good day

Memory catalogued

Realtime recognition must come with age or life experience. As this particular day unfolded, I tried to soak it in for all that it was. I have many fond memories with my sons. But, it’s special when we can carve meaningful one on one time for memorable experiences. Our Ferrari adventure was one of those memorable experiences.

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