The name Motor Valley is not very popular in Poland, but has been successful in Italy for many years. This name is given to many companies located approximately along the A1 highway, on the Bologna-Piacenza road. Some even stretch these criteria and Motor Valley also Milan.
It is, in short, a village belt that stretches between the Tuscan Apennines and the Alps. It is here that the best Italian companies related to the automotive industry have gathered. Today I will take you on a journey worth doing if you have a car in this area. You can easily pass the most iconic places in one day, and if you have more time, you can also get behind the wheel.
Motor Valley, home to companies such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Pagani – but not only
I have traveled this area many times and such a trip always gives me great pleasure. However, it is worth knowing a little about the workings of the Motor Valley so that our eyes are constantly caressed by fantastic views.
We can take Modena as a starting point, although two-wheel enthusiasts like to return to Bologna. The Ducati factory and museum is located here. It is worth a visit as the Italians probably collected all the models produced there – and such a view is really impressive.
But if you like to admire these four wheels, then we are back in Modena. Here we can start the fun in two places – Museo Enzo Ferrari and in the Maserati office building.
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This first place is known to many people. A characteristic building with a large inscription “Scuderia Meccanica Alfredo Ferrari” is a facade that protects the visually effective hall, which houses some interesting cars from Maranello.
I can’t say this is the greatest museum I’ve ever visited. We can see some very interesting cars here, but the exhibition is rather modest. After seeing the exhibition, it’s worth taking a short walk to the Maserati office building and factory, literally a few hundred meters away.
Maserati doesn’t have a fancy museum, but it’s worth wandering around the building’s surroundings
In the “showroom”, which is located in the lower glass part of the office building, there are only three cars – the classic 3500 GT Spyder and the current Quattroporte and Levante. However, here we have an overview of interesting souvenirs related to the brand, an exhibition of engines made for boats and a whole room with accessories from the Fuoriserie range.
You will spend several or tens of minutes here. Then I recommend a trip to the viaduct that runs right next to the factory. You will find it without any problem.
It is worth reaching the top of this viaduct via the sidewalk on the right. From here you can see Maserati’s internal parking lot, always full of camouflaged prototypes. Sometimes it’s nice to see what the Italian brand has in store for us – and now robots have a lot!
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Let’s go to Sant’Agata Bolognese from Modena
So we set out on local roads, which are incredibly congested during rush hour – worth making a change for this. Only 22 kilometers separate these places, so the journey will not be too long.
On the way you will pass a village called Nonantola. It just looks and doesn’t attract anything, but it hides a lot of secrets. It is home to some of the best workshops specializing in the restoration of classic Lamborghini and Ferrari. You see such a view under a very ordinary hall.
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Sant’Agata Bolognese is the home of Lamborghini
The first contact with this factory can make a rather surprising impression on you. In my opinion “German Ordnung” can be seen here – everything is orderly and very neat and presents itself exceptionally “sterile”.
Either way, driving past the employee parking lot will remind you who owns the brand. The commercial vehicles are registered in Ingolstadt, so an army of different Audi models revolves around the factory and office building.
There was located next to the office building MUDETEC Museum (Museo delle technique). The entire collection is spread over two small floors, but certainly deserves attention. Lamborghini regularly lists the cars presented and, in addition to classics and production cars, also presents fantastic prototypes, including those from years ago.
After a break at the museum, I recommend taking a car tour of the factory, focusing on the back gate. This is where the produced cars go for road testing. This port also allows prototype drivers to sneak out quietly for testing. With a bit of luck you might see a successor to Aventador, or a freshly made Countach.
The next point of the journey is San Cesario sul Panaro, more specifically Zona Industriale “Graziosa”
The name of this city might be a little confusing, so let me simplify it with one word: Paganic. Here, in a small building, the history of this fantastic Italian manufacture began.
Today Pagani has not only an extensive factory but also a small museum where you can see the cars of customers and Horacio Pagani himself. Entry costs 20 euros and cars are very small, although it is an expense well worth it. With a bit of luck you’ll meet a Masetro walking around the property – you can see that he never leaves his “children” on a step.
Once you get to know Pagani’s current seat, I suggest you drive a few blocks further, to see Via dell’Artigianato. This is where the brand’s old headquarters is located, which currently serves as an additional office and a hall where prototypes or unique models are developed.
With a bit of luck you’ll come across one of these cars in the traffic in the surrounding streets. Trust me – it makes a much bigger impression that Zonda or Huayra are traveling through Warsaw.
The next point of the journey: Maranello
This time the village needs no introduction. Ferrari’s house looks completely different from Sant’Agata Bolognese. Here the whole city lives with this brand, and the kicking horse appears at almost every step.
I would divide my visit to Maranello into three parts. Let’s start with something for the body – a ride. It is worth visiting the whole area of the Ferrari factory as there are many interesting places nearby. The random halls in front of a Ferrari F40 or F50 are nothing out of the ordinary.
The Ferrari factory also attracted many experts in the maintenance and repair of cars of this brand. For example, in several alleys there are really intriguing places, full of fantastic cars.
In addition, camouflaged cars regularly hang around the plant. Currently the most common view is: Ferrari Purosanguewhich looks much smaller and more compact in real life than in all spy photos.
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It’s worth ending the trip under on the Fiorano trackto offer “something for the soul”. In many places holes have been made near the gate, through which you can view the cars tested there. And at the moment there is something to watch as prototypes of a new car with a V12 under the hood appear regularly, as well as a racing Ferrari that will compete in the Hypercar class at Le Mans/FIA WEC.
The third point, something for the eyes – the Ferrari Museum. In my opinion it is very disappointing, although there are some interesting cars here – from F40 and F50, through Enzo and LaFerrari to racing versions of these cars. F1 fans won’t be disappointed to see Michael Schumacher’s cars either.
And for dessert – something for the stomach?
A good dinner is essential after such a journey. And when you are in Maranello there is only one place to eat – St. Ristorante Montana. The real “Tifosi” know very well what I am writing about. It is a place where not only Ferrari bosses eat regularly, but especially the drivers of their F1 team.
The place is filled with memorabilia after the legends of Scuderia Ferrari, fueling the atmosphere even more. Before entering, you will also easily meet some truly unique cars. Attention – without a reservation it is very difficult to find a table!
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Motor Valley isn’t all about these brands
I focused here on the most famous and accessible places, although this is only the beginning of what we will meet in the automotive valley. A company like Ares Design is based in Modena and Dallara has its headquarters near Piacenza.
Two years ago, a must see would be “La Fabbrica Blu”that we were allowed to visit. Unfortunately – now the place has passed into the hands of the new owner and the beautiful inscription “Bugatti Automobili” has disappeared from the gate in Campogalliano. The facility is no longer available for sightseeing.
Motor Valley, or a few notes about the trip
If you want to make the most of this trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all – cars are mainly tested from Monday to Friday, so these days you have the best chance to hunt for an interesting prototype in action.
Second, August is a holiday month in Italy. Many sites are closed for four weeks and brand development departments are slowing down. As a result, the likelihood of seeing interesting cars decreases significantly.
The third point is the accommodation – Modena is a good base for Motor Valley. It is a very pleasant city where it is bustling every night. Great restaurants and a large hotel base encourage you to choose this place. The second option is small towns and local agritourism, although prices here can be very high in season.