We set out from Venezia to Firenze, with a stop in Maranello. Maronella is not featured in many guide books, but it is the home of Ferrari. This is one of the stops Andrew has been looking forward to the entire trip. It’s a little off the beaten track and it is a very unassuming town.
Although you can’t tour the factory (unless you’re picking up your new car), they have set up a museum that contains a great history of Ferrari as well as many of these classic vehicles.
As we came out of the Museum there was a squeal of tires as someone was taking a Ferrari for a short test drive. After a look in the official Ferrari store, where every person passing through the door is greeted by the sound of a screaming Ferrari engine, we continued on to Firenze.
In the parking lot for the Ferrari museum we spotted our winner of the “least attractive car” of our tour. The Fiat Multipla model pictured reminded us of the proverbial “muffin top” where there’s a little bulge over the top.
As we drove to Firenze we managed to snap a picture of an Autogrill. On many of the Autoroutes in Europe the rest stops will include a gas station and a place to grab a bite to eat.
Instead of building two restaurants, they build the one overtop of the highway and provides access to travellers in both directions and therefore not subject to predominantly heavy traffic in one direction at either end of a long weekend.
Our hotel was in the old part of the city down a narrow street that even our GPS wasn’t up to date on. This was one of the few times on the entire trip that “Jane” (our Tom Tom voice with a British accent) wasn’t able to guide us accurately to our objective. We finally had to just find the street and navigate our way there the old fashioned way. The hotel was a little short on air conditioning under the sweltering 33 C temperatures but we finally managed to get a room that was a little tight on space, but did include access to a small patio.
It turned out that the restaurant recommended to us in Paris by the American woman was just a couple of blocks from our hotel. We enjoyed and excellent dinner and then walked the streets. We happened on the ornate Duomo (church) and Bapistre then came upon an orchestra playing to a piazza full of people from the steps of a church.
Like Venezia, and so many other european cities, the downtown core is just as vibrant in the night as it is in the daytime. Of course in the evening there are a few more vendors with Dolce Gabana knock-off bags displayed on sheets over the cobblestones. It’s also really easy to find a genuine imitation copy of Mona Lisa or the Birth of Venice. Jeff managed to accidentally step on one of these rare works of art as he was looking for the night’s Gelato score.