Walking through the historic city center of Modena, Italy, cobblestone streets dating back centuries meander away from the main square, lined with boutiques, cafes and gelato shops. Couples walk arm-in-arm, laughing groups of friends and window shoppers stroll underneath the arcades. Noticeably absent from the scene are cars – the rules are that only those who live within the city center’s boundaries are permitted to drive its streets.
What’s ironic about the lack of cars in its city center is that Modena lies within Northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, or better known to car enthusiasts as Motor Valley. It’s here, in the midst of vineyards, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese farms and traditional Balsamic vinegar villas, that some of the biggest names in luxury car brands make their homes, too: Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Dallara and Pagani, plus Ducati motorcycles. Enthusiasts aren’t too surprised, however, considering that these names associated with luxury and speed come from humble, agricultural beginnings.
Case in point: Hombre Farm, which specializes in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production yet is just as well-known for its impressive Umberto Panini Collection of vintage cars, mostly Maseratis. It was here on a recent visit that I was surprised to see an antique tractor with the name Lamborghini tacked onto the side. Indeed, Lamborghini made tractors to meet agricultural needs before it veered into luxury automobiles.
The vast collection of vintage vehicles on display at Hombre Farm spans decades of Maserati production, including one of four Maserati A6GCS/53 ever made, and the 1957 Maserati 250F. We joined a local car club perusing the collection, further indication that this collection is not to be missed.
Next stop was a visit to the Maserati facility in Modena; the company moved to the city in 1939. The hour-and-a-half tour became available on a regular basis to the public in September; it was previously an insider’s look available exclusively to existing and (serious) prospective Maserati clients.
The Maserati tour, available Monday through…