Travel: The Obscure Is The Attraction At This Italian Car Gathering

The Obscure Is The Attraction At This Italian Car Gathering

October 21, 2016

Photography by Afshin Behnia

Though the summer officially came to an end a month ago, the exceptionally nice weather that has continued in Italy and elsewhere has kept beach towns open and crowded well past their normal season’s end. Not wanting to let this opportunity go by, Kika and I took a road trip to Noli, a favorite Ligurian destinations of ours, on our last weekend in Italy before heading back to Los Angeles for the fall.

Alas with our little 16 month-old Luna in tow, our Italian road trips are no longer the adventure they once were when we would travel tastefully in our 1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia GT. Instead, we’ve been reduced to driving my mother-in-law’s 3-cylinder Volkswagen Polo. No matter: it’s now all about the destination rather than the journey in the Polo.

Sunday morning, as we are checking out of our hotel in Noli, the receptionist casually says, “By the way, there’s a classic car gathering in Spotorno just one town over”. Italians love their classic cars. There is not a weekend in the year when there are not a few different vintage car gatherings or rallies happening in towns up and down the peninsula. Everyone knows all the high-profile events like Villa d’Este or the Mille Miglia, but I simply love running unexpectedly into the more humble and casual events, like the Matra gathering we ran into once when traveling through Umbria. Naturally, I was more than a little pleased to hear about this gathering at Spotorno.

Spotorno is a sleepy seaside town and was a nice backdrop to this small but eclectic show. Gatherings like these are especially interesting to an American like me, who rarely sees forbidden fruit like an Alfa Romeo 75 Evoluzione, a Fiat 600 made by NSU, a Simca 1000LS, and other nerdy and obscure cars that are common for European Petrolisti. Though the show certainly wasn’t any Villa d’Este, it did make our otherwise unadventurous Polo road trip special.

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Miquelle Francisconi
Miquelle Francisconi
6 years ago

They would slap an Abarth logo on almost any car, and they would honour the name.

2023 years ago

I cannot believe you are in Spotorno! I spent the first 18 summers of my life there. Beautiful pictures, i love the 75 evoluzione. Thanks for the great memories you just brought back to me.

6 years ago

That silver Abarth 112 is gorgeous! And is that a for sale sign in the window?