Between April 19th and April 22nd 2018, the delightful roads of Emilia, Liguria and Tuscany were the location for the 8th Gran Premio Terre di Canossa and its incomparable combination of sport, passion, tourism, culture, fine food and wine, and exclusive evening events.
The challenge and the Podium
The challenge burst into life with 105 registered crews competing against each another in 60 timed trials and 6 average speed trials. All the trials were technically challenging, covering all types of terrain: road and track, uphill and downhill, high-speed sections like those at Monte Marcello, segments with spectacular scenery like the Cento Croci Pass, and others with unique attraction and appeal. The awards ceremony was held in the showroom of main partner Ruote da Sogno in Reggio Emilia.
Crew n. 10, John Houtkamp and Chelly Houtkamp, took third place in the final rankings in their 1928 Lancia Lambda Tipo 223 short spider. Second place went to crew n. 3, Fabio Salvinelli and Guido Ceccardi, in their 1930 Fiat 514 MM, and the victory went to the current Italian champion, Andrea Vesco for the sixth year running with his co-driver Manuela Tanghetti in their 1934 Fiat 508 S Balilla Sport. They took home two gorgeous Cuervo y Sobrinos watches as well as the cup reserved for pre-war cars and the special ranking for average speed trials.
Art towns and cities, marvellous countryside, ancient castles, rolling hills and challenging mountain passes provided the backdrop for one of the top international classic car events. The rally route covered around 600 km of roads, with participants competing against one another in challenging trials.
7 modern Ferraris joined the classic cars
A tribute to the Prancing Horse and a fine contrast with the older cars in the rally: a 1925 OM 665 Superba, a 1926 Fiat 509, a 1926 Amilcar GCSS … over 90 years of history on show.
Some really very special cars took part in the 2018 Terre di Canossa. They included the Triumph TR3 that had a starring role in the film “La Dolce Vita” and was making her first public outing after an extensive renovation.
There were also some rare vehicles, like the splendid barchetta Maserati 200Si, a pair of Delahaye 135, two Jaguar C-Types, two Lancia Lambdas from the Twenties, an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, and a Ferrari Daytona followed by three “little” Dino 246s… This year, two thirds of the registered participants were from abroad, putting the Terre di Canossa on a par with the Mille Miglia as the Italian rally with the highest rate of foreign crews.
A challenge dressed ‘in pink’
One number is particularly striking: almost 40% of the competitors were women, without any need for a women’s quota…. The Terre di Canossa is a dream come true: a challenging race as well as a chance to see the sights, an opportunity enjoyed equally by the most determined drivers as well as those who want to treat themselves to an extra special vacation.
A challenge dressed in ‘Green’
The organisers once again confirmed their eco-friendly outlook by deciding to implement a CarbonZero protocol and completely offset the residual emissions of CO2 by planting new trees in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The Terre di Canossa is once again the only “zero emissions” event of its kind.
The event day by day
Thursday 19th April: the arrival at Salsomaggiore Terme and the Gala Dinner
The many classic cars lined up along the streets in the centre of town and opposite the Berzieri Spa building, as drivers checked in their cars and completed scrutineering, while the public admired these works of art on four wheels.
The Gala Dinner was held in the spectacular Salone Moresco, a banqueting hall added in 1925 designed with the intention of conjuring up the mysterious and sensual appeal of the Alhambra. It is no coincidence that film director Bernardo Bertolucci chose it as a location to shoot some of the scenes for his Oscar winning movie “The Last Emperor”.
According to tradition, the guests enjoyed a dinner menu designed by Michelin star chef, Massimo Spigaroli.
Friday 20th April, the first leg: Salsomaggiore Terme, Portovenere, Lerici and Bocca di Magra
The cars started lining up at 8.30 am along the streets in the old town centre, and set off 9 o’clock sharp from the spectacular Terme Berzieri building. An initial set of trials on the track at the Riccardo Paletti circuit at Varano, ahead of the first uphill sections on the route, taking the crews up to Bardi Castle and a short break for coffee in the centre of Borgo Val di Taro. The crews crossed the scenic Cento Croci Pass with some challenging timed trials.
Lunch was followed by an exciting and very special drive through the Italian Navy Arsenal at La Spezia, still one of the main bases of the Italian Navy. The crews left La Spezia for Lerici and a short relaxing break in one of the prettiest spots in Italy.
Then they were off again for the last series of timed trials of the day on the road from Montemarcello to Punta Bianca, followed by the drive down to the small towns of Ameglia and Bocca di Magra for dinner when prizes were handed out to the female crews. The evening came to a close at Forte dei Marmi, the centre of social life in Versilia.
Saturday 21st: art towns and cities in Tuscany
Day two of the Terre di Canossa 2018 got off to a start at 9.00 a.m. in Forte dei Marmi. The crews and cars lined up on the seafront before setting off for Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and its charming medieval town centre.
After a coffee break and a parade through this ancient fortified town, the cars drove past the famous 11th century Ponte del Diavolo before reaching Lucca for the traditional parade through the old town centre. After lunch, the bright spring sunshine accompanied the crews as they drove along the ancient city walls, built in 1504 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which are usually closed to traffic.
Pisa was the next destination. There was a short break to have a quick look at the Leaning Tower, the symbol of the city, from a really special location: the terrace at Fondazione Comel that agreed to open its doors to the event.
In the afternoon, the route continued towards charming Lake Massaciuccoli, before arriving at Forte dei Marmi and the traditional series of timed trials in Piazza Marconi.
The Event of the Evening: A Sunset Beach Party at Bambaissa Beach Club Versilia.
Sunday 22nd: from Forte dei Marmi to Reggio Emilia
After setting off from viale Franceschi, the crews bade farewell to Versilia and the coast, heading towards Sarzana.
After crossing the Apennine Mountains at the Cerreto Pass, they reached Reggio Emilia and the Calatrava Bridges to compete for the challenging “Trofeo Tricolore”. The final chequered flag awaited them in Piazza del Duomo, in the centre of the city.
The final lunch and Awards Ceremony were held at Ruote da Sogno, the Main Sponsor of the event.