The location is close to the hills, Apennine, around Reggio Emilia. It is place full of history: during the middle age, the power of Vaticano in the person of Gregori VII the Pope, Heinrich IV the Emperor and Matilde di Canossa “the great countess” who held a large estate on both side of Apennines, one of the most powerfully woman of those time and the only woman buried in San Pietro, had a meeting there and decided the destiny of mankind.We are talking about 900 hundred years ago!
By the way 19 teams from many parts of Europe as Sweden, France, Germany, Swiss, Nederland, Austria, England and of curse Italy that gathering to the beautiful and unknown, by the most, countryside of Reggio Emilia.
As always, the meeting started Thursday late afternoon with a charming aperitif at the Golf Club Matilde di Canossa, that hosted the participants with their cars during the meeting. The set of the small square in front the hotel with the all Pre-A parked, was a stunning picture that will be never forgot by the pleasant and smiley people, which were so lucky to be there.
Friday morning, Fabrizio, a friend of us and lucky owner of a 550 Spider,
came to visit us with his very rare Porsche and he enjoyed the meeting since Saturday. The Friday’ drive was on the narrow and curvy roads of the Apennine around Reggio Emilia and led the group to “Pietra di Bismantova”, a singular and flat head rock that comes out from the ground between the gentle and soft hills.Even Dante mentioned this area in the IV Canto of Purgatory (vv.25-27) and from the top of that rock ,Matilde di Canossa took the sinners souls to Paradise. The next stop, after a short drive, was at the nice village of Castelnuovo Monti, in the restaurant “La Baita d’Oro” where we enjoyed a typical mushrooms menu. The afternoon drive through hills and close to Enza river, headed to Medici Ermete Vineyard and “Acetaia”. There we visited the “old Acetaia”, the place where Balsamic Vinegar is produced; we had a taste of Balsamic with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a complete explanation how the Balsamic is made. The long day for our cars wasn’t finished when we arrived to the hotel: for the dinner we had to climb up to the really emotional Bianello Castel, 9 km from the hotel, where Gregorio VII named “Matilde Qeen of Italy”.
On Saturday morning we found in the parking lot some Italian friends that joined the meet with a 55′ Ivory Speedster, a stunning Glaser in Fashion Grey and the 550 Spider. Our target was the Canossa Castel about 60 km, on the hills, from the hotel, where we admired a nice panorama of “calanchi”, a clayish formation similar to the Bad Lands. The visiting of the ruin of the Castel was very interesting and the funny English spoken by the guide entertained who tried to know something more about Matilde di Canossa and Heinrich IV.
The restaurant “Da Mario” at Gombio place, was what you’ve never expected in the Apennine. We started with nine starters and then we went trough a never ending lunch of very fresh and tasty fish.
Back to the Hotel Golf Club we had time just for a short shower then a bus took us to the Maramotti Foundation in Reggio Emilia. This is on of the most important private collection of contemporary art in Italy. The place, that hosts the Maramotti Foundation, is inside the old building built in the 50′ which once was the Max Mara’ factory, a well-known Italian fashion group. The participants were divided in two groups, French and English, and two gentle guides introduced us at the rich collection of art from all over the world, spread in 22 large rooms. The dinner, in the heart of Reggio Emilia city, in a typical restaurant, was the end of the meeting.
Albert Hafner, the promoter of this meeting that is held every year in a different place of Europe, introduced with a brief speech the next year’ meet that will be organized by Jon and Amanda Deveraux and it will be held in Brighton.
We must be very grateful to Albert Hafner and also to Andrea Coriani, the Italian master of the meeting who has found an unknown, by the most, location rich of history, nature and good food. He always was in front of the group with his motorbike checking the roads and detailing any changes.
The organization was superb and everything ran as well as an oiled mechanism. .Thanks to Reinhold Plank in the role of p.r. and for the help he gave when any mechanic failures happened to these fantastic cars that after 60 years climbed on the countryside of Reggio Emilia. This is my second PreA meeting and I’m happy to say that I love it because it’s a friendly reunion where to stay easy together.