So, a couple of years ago, my family and I decided to go on a driving holiday. The route took us from the UK through Paris, Chamonix, Genoa, Geneva, Reims and then back to the UK. A 3,000-mile journey where we experienced French motorways, the chaos of driving through Paris, the beautiful winter roads through Chamonix, the Mont Blanc Tunnel, fabulous Italian country roads, the St Bernard Pass through Italy and into Switzerland (in my opinion one of the best roads in Europe) and then country roads back through France.
Whilst in Italy, we decided that we would go and pay homage to the home of one of the greatest supercar manufacturers in the world.
With that decided, we headed to Maranello with the intention of visiting, doing some shopping and looking around the Museo Ferrari de Maranello and generally spotting any and all supercars that we could.
As a city, Maranello is not especially exciting to look at and, if you didn’t know that the centre of the Ferrari world was there, you would probably not give it a second glance. And then you begin to see signs of Ferrari – the prancing horse, supercars just casually driving down the road, the huge Ferrari store and then the factory comes into view and you know that you have arrived somewhere special. You can feel the horsepower in the air and smell the high-performance fuel. It is a great feeling.
We parked up, the family got out to stretch their legs and have a look around and I went to get a parking ticket. It was when I got back to the car that I was approached by a very pretty young Italian lady who welcomed me and the asked the daftest question ever – “would I like to drive a Ferrari today?” Well of course the answer was yes. I mean who wouldn’t want to drive a Ferrari around the hallowed streets of Maranello?
We were whisked away in a minibus to a site not far from the factory and dropped off in a parking lot filled with a variety of Ferraris just begging to be driven. We were checked in and then I had to make a decision – what Ferrari to drive. Had I have been there on my own, it would have been a 458 but I had two kids who wanted a ride as well, so it had to be a California.
We signed all the paperwork and were introduced to our navigator and then to the car. A superb specimen in Rosso Red with a tan leather interior. I sat in the driver’s seat and instantly felt at home. The kids got in the back and then my navigator got in and we were off.
The V8 rumbled away as only a V8 can – my God the noise is intoxicating. We travelled a prescribed route that took us through city streets where you could hear the roar of the engine bouncing off the walls and onto dual carriageways where we could open up the taps and see how quickly we could go. It was very entertaining and I managed to surprise the kids with the acceleration of the California. My favourite part was also the part when I got told off by my navigator – I happened to come across a 458 whose driver had a heavy right foot and, with the petrol pumping in my veins, I decided to have a bit of a race. Had I have been allowed to continue, I would have beaten the 458 hands down. But alas it wasn’t to be.
The drive itself was over all too soon but the memories were immortalised through the video that was taken and the numerous photos that we purchased afterwards.
The afternoon was topped off by a visit to the Museo Ferrari de Maranello where we saw the history of the greatest car manufacturer there is and then some very important shopping for Ferrari memorabilia. All in all, I have to say it was a highly enjoyable and memorable day that, if given the opportunity, I would repeat in a heartbeat.