This Gathering At A Lakefront Italian Villa Honors A Tradition That Began In The 1930s
Photography by Federico Bajetti
Interior photography provided by Beck Peccoz
The Prima Riunione Motoristica del Garda is the first motorcar gathering of its kind at Lake Garda, and the vintage car event is in honor of the famous poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, who as the stories go, used to organize this kind of event back in the 1930s.
The day started 120km away from the lake though, at the headquarters of Collezione Lopresto, just south of Milan. The drive would commence at the site of the famed collection, and then the group of cars would make their way to the Vittoriale degli Italiani, the gorgeous and gigantic estate where the poet lived up until his death in the late ‘30s. The head of the column of cars descending on the lake was the event’s founder, Corrado Lopresto, behind the wheel of a stunning 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Touring. As many Petrolicious readers may know already, Lopresto is one of the world’s preeminent car collectors, winning all manner of awards and prizes at places like Pebble Beach. In short, he has some fantastic and historically significant cars to his name, and for this event he brought out six of his Alfa Romeos.
It wasn’t just him though, as hundreds of other vintage enthusiasts came from all around Italy—and a few crossed a few borders to be there—to admire the cars parked among the estate’s series of drives and courtyards. Of the lot, roughly 40 cars were in attendance, which may read like a smaller number than other shows, but one must remember this is January, and it was a day that didn’t escape the cold and rain that characterize the month. Once they arrived, the group was welcomed to the event by the president of the Vittoriale degli Italiani Foundation, Giordano Bruno Guerri. A well-known writer, journalist, and expert historian, Guerri has been able to open up access to the poet’s estate, with his initiatives allowing for twice the amount of visitors that used to come a few years back. In fact, one can take a trip here to see the property all year long, and among the grouping of buildings, the snake of roads, the outdoor theater, the gardens, the square and the rest, there’s plenty to see.
One building, the maine one, on the estate is known as the Prioria, or “the Priory,” and was the last home of D’Annunzio, furnished and decorated according to his tastes as “everything here bears the mark of my style, in the sense that I want to give to my style.” The group of Lopresto’s friends also had the chance to visit the means of transportation that belonged to d’Annunzio, a fleet that includes cars, boats, and also an airplane. This particular airplane, an Ansaldo SVA was personally prepared in 1918 by Ugo Zagato, the famous designer who founded, a couple of months after the famous “Flight over Wien,” the Carrozzeria Zagato.
In all, it was a great event, a meeting between friends that’s worth it for that reason alone, but also a chance to see rare pre-war cars in a beautiful location. Congratulation to Mr. Lopresto on a successful day, and we look forward for the next edition!