Climbing aboard the motor coach with the rest of the groggy-eyed “band of merry media” — journalists and photographers invited by Insight Vacations to sample an abbreviated version of its fabulous Country Roads of Italy itinerary that races you through Umbria and Tuscany — I’m trying desperately to clear my head after yesterday’s “dark and foodie night” of eating way too much and over imbibing, and this morning’s early wake-up call. Yawn.

Carlo, our experienced charioteer, puts the big fella in gear as we bid Arrivederci! to Borgo San Luigi, the sprawling Tuscan villa where we spent two memorable nights, mostly at the bar.

As Tuscany, with all of its picturesque rolling hills filled with vineyards and olive groves, fades away in the rearview mirror, I can think of only one thing now: Redheads.

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

Not the Super Tuscan wines we just left behind, nor the flowing locks of Nicole Kidman, Rita Hayworth and Lucille Ball, or the curly pate of Carrot Top.

No, I’m thinking about the sleek, fast-to-the-finish line redheads designed, engineered and built by the late Persol sunglasses-wearing Enzo Ferrari: the Testa Rossa (redhead).

We’ll get a good look at a bevy of Il Commendatore‘s redheads shortly when Insight’s sleek Mercedes coach pulls into the parking lot fronting the Museo Ferrari in Maranello.

You know the drill. Roll the “R” and repeat after me: mah-rah-NEL-oh. Outstanding!

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

To get to the museum, we have to motor up the A1 autostrada (tollway), leaving the rays of the Tuscan sun for the flatter, more industrialized region of the Emilia-Romagna, the manufacturing hub of fast cars — Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lamborghini and, of course, Ferrari — and home to regional foodie favorites like mortadella, tortellini, lasagne and ragu’ alla bolognese (meat sauce). 

We, however, won’t we picking up any calories along the way, just ideas, like fancying the wind at our faces as we negotiate another hairpin turn behind the wheel of one of Scuderia Ferrari’s rocket rides. Vroom-vroom!

Rounding the corner, we eye the large black stallion. We’ve arrived.

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

Like a well-tuned pit crew, we’re off the motor coach and inside the museum in a flash, and pick up headsets for English language narration while we wait on our Ferrari girl, a guide assigned to us for the VIP tour.

Sorry. I can’t wait for the guide, curvaceous as she may be. I’ve got to get ahead of this media pack, like Lauda in ’75 when he flew across the finish line at Monte Carlo in a 312/T. So, off I go in search of Enzo’s curvaceous redheads.

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

With over 3,500 square meters of surface space — including a Formula 1 simulator that lets you strap yourself in and give it a go — more than 250,000 visitors pass through the turnstiles of the Museo Ferrari annually to walk among the legendary stable of cars with the prancing horse logo that has won 31 Formula 1 World Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles and counting.

The industrial gray floors and white walls and ceilings, coupled with excellent lighting, make the museum the perfect photo shoot studio. Living up to what Cavaliere Ferrari once said, Sono uno che ha sognato (I am one who has dreamed), this place is a true auto racing afficiondo’s dream come true.

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

Buffed to the nines, Enzo’s redheads, along with a few of his white and blue creations, just lie in wait to pose for the camera. Every buxom speedster is so willing and able.

Close up, low, wide and overhead, I’m going orgasmic, like Selleck in Magnum, P.I., crawling, kneeling and lying on my back to frame these red-hot beauties with my lens the best I can. Both batteries now spent on the DSLR, I switch over to the iPhone 5 for a few panoramic shots.

With everything to see, seen, I pack up my gear and take the proverbial checkered flag as I walk out of Enzo’s historic gasoline alley. I gotta tell you, it’s a real pity to have to leave all of these gorgeous redheads behind.

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

Back on board the motor coach, now just a “slow boat to China” ride compared to what’s inside Museo Ferrari, Belinda, Insight’s tour director/concierge/storyteller, gives out our new GPS coordinates.

We’ll double back a bit and stop in Bologna for a short stroll and then a quick lunch on your own euro. She adds, By the way, Bologna is affectionately known as “La Grassa,” or “Fatso,” because of all of her great cuisine. What do think of that?

All together now: Fatso! Fatso! Fatso!

For complete information on Insight Vacations’ 12 Italian premium and luxury-escorted itineraries and over 100 journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free (888) 680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

I’ll see you in a little bit when we gather in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore to chew the fat.

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

7 comments

      1. Ever since ’05, when Fernando Alonso won the F1 World Championship and I won €5 from my father who said he hadn’t a hope, Senor Fernando has been on my radar! 🙂

        Like

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