Monday October 27: This morning first stop is a cycle museum (the Museo Dei Campionissimi) 15 miles away. It has some amazing exhibits and some cycles carved out of wood that are almost works of art, they were so beautiful. Even those of us who prefer four wheels to two could see the attraction. The next stop was the Villa Sparina just five miles away through pretty countryside… and the demon road book tried its best to send us off the beaten track.
As we approached the Villa via a pretty country road we spied a classic Mini ahead with its bonnet up… a sure sign that something’s up, so Steve, who’s a bit handy with a Mini engine stopped to see if we could help. The car stank of petrol… there was a leak somewhere but Steve managed to fix it with a bit of jiggery-pokery, much to the amusement of a chap who was doing some gardening. By this time about three other classic Minis
had stopped to offer moral support and we enjoyed a bit of banter together with our new-found Italian friend.
The Villa Sparina is a vineyard that makes a wine called Gavi, which you can buy in England, I recommend you look out for it as it is delicious. The scenery around here is magnificent and well worth a visit if you’re touring this part of northern Italy.
Lunch was scheduled for another vineyard (such a hard life!) La Battistina… and the journey there provided us with some of the best fun we’d had on the road so far. It was only six miles away, a doddle, surely? Following the road book we were surprised to see a line of Minis driving back along the road we were heading for, all drivers and passengers gestic
ulating to say the road was blocked (no signs of course!) It was quite a narrow road, so impossible to turn around until we got almost to the end where there was the biggest concrete bollard across the road to block our path. Good thing a classic Mini is easy to manoeuvre. We joined the line of Minis when our friends, Jonathan and Malcolm, indicated to us to follow them… Jonathan had somehow managed to understand some directions to our destination from one of the locals so we put our foot down.
By now the road book was useless… so we drove blindly on not knowing if we were vaguely in the right direction until we eventually saw some of the red caps of Italian Job organisers waving at us to indicate that we should take a sharp right on to some rough ground. The reason soon became clear… a concrete bridge had collapsed ahead of us, so there was nothing for it but for us to ford a stream (quite fast flowing and a bit unnerving as Peach was already letting in water!) but of course the classic Minis made light work of it and we then drove straight ahead to the most beautiful vineyard where we had a magical al fresco lunch.
As we were among the first to arrive… Kent pioneers leading the way… there was time for some banter with the catering staff who all came outside to admire our car(s) – a waiter and then a rather amply proportioned chef both vied for the chance to sit in our tiny car. They thought the fact that we had to wear ear defenders was hilarious! We spent a few hours in the beautiful courtyard overlooking the vineyards, soaking up the sun and generallly enjoying life.
Tomorrow we’re really looking forward to… it’s Monza where we’ll be allowed to drive on the famous F1 circuit. Wonder if they’ll let us anywhere near the fabled banking?