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By Shereen Shabnam
After travelling to different parts of the world (Africa, Europe, Middle East and the Americas) the last few years to look at classic and historical cars, the highlight of my journey has to be my recent visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo which is the dedicated Alfa Romeo’s official museum, located in Arese displaying a permanent collection of Alfa Romeo cars and engines.
More than just a museum, the eclectic building has a bookshop, a store, a café, events centre and is an immersive experience centre designed to impress visitors after going through a major restoration and opening again in 2015. Located a few kilometers away from Milan, the museum is the perfect link between past, present and future in a modern and an elegant venue.
The museum journey highlights the Gran Turismo in the past, the present and the future showcasing projects that came into being, images of the team who led the company, who designed the cars and created history with their inventions.
The Alfa Romeo DNA is evident throughout Alfa Romeo’s historic collection of memorabilia and models. From the very first A.L.F.A. car, the 24 HP, to the legendary Mille Miglia winners such as the 6C 1750 Gran Sport driven by Tazio Nuvolari.
Our tour revealed the Gran Premio 159 “Alfetta 159” world Formula 1 winner driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, the Giulietta iconic 1950s car and the Championship 33 TT 12.
Each of the three floors represented the essence of the brand condensed into three principles: Timeline, which represents industrial continuity of the brand, Bellezza(beauty), which combines style with design and Velocità (speed) which sums up technology and light weight.
The Timeline section features a selection of 19 cars representing the evolvement of the brand, complete with a multimedia information panel and a smart-tech station where visitors can access an interactive system for more details about the history of each model.
For instance, the “Quelli dell’Alfa Romeo” installation recounts how a legend was formed in over 100 years thanks to the work of thousands of people who contributing to the company’s growth: from the workers to the mechanics, testers and designers, engineers and white collar workers.
The ground floor section layout called Bellezza features several themed areas and is designed with dynamic and smooth lines that recall the style of the major Italian coachbuilders. It reveals 9 major design examples from each era, displaying cars built by the Touring bodyshop under the Superleggera brand in the 1930s and 40s.
This floor has the Alfa Romeo nel cinema” (Alfa Romeo in the movies). This is followed by “Il Fenomeno Giulietta” (The Giulietta Phenomenon) and “Giulia: disegnata dal vento” (Giulia: designed by the wind), with models that accompany the growth of the economy and of Italian taste in the 1950s and 60s.
Another section dedicated to Speed features the stars of Alfa Romeo’s major victories in a spectacular multi-media space which groups together the stars of the epic competitions, highlights racing in Alfa Romeo’s DNA and a dedicated space with pictures, sounds and film footage of the 10 biggest triumphs in the history of Alfa Romeo.
Visitors can experience the Alfa Romeo world with 360° virtual reality film footage, enjoy a full-immersion room sitting in interactive armchairs and watching 4D films dedicated to the legendary successes of Alfa Romeo.
We ended our journey with some retail therapy at the museum’s store that is well stocked with Alfa Romeo memorabilia and left the building feeling inspired and in awe of the brands history and success in the past and the forward thinking mentality to take the brand into an equally impressive future.
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