Wine, great food, and exotic cars all go together. The pleasures of life come in many forms, so we decided to take in the Galleria Ferrari during a recent wine excursion to Italy.
The Galleria Ferrari has become the place where Ferrari’s past, present and future is preserved, giving the visitor a fascinating insight into the history of the Prancing Horse. Inaugurated in February 1990, the Galleria Ferrari was initially run by the Comune of Maranello, owners of the fixtures and fittings. The new wing of the Galleria that was opened in October 2004 took the total surface area from 1700m³ to 2500m³, further enriching the exhibition area with new spaces and services. Situated only a short distance from the Ferrari plant and the Fiorano circuit, the Galleria, though it remains the property of the Comune of Maranello, has been run directly by Ferrari since 1995.
The Galleria is divided into four areas, each capable of satisfying the expectations of competition fans and those passionate about classic cars. Here visitors will find Formula 1, themed exhibitions, technological innovations and photographic shows. Visits to the Galleria Ferrari are important not only for gaining an insight into the company’s history but also because the exhibits cover the important stages of the development of the automobile industry. In the 55 years of its existence, Ferrari has contributed extensively to these technological innovations and in improving safety measures.
The visit begins in the space where the automobiles are on display. These are the cars that are part of Ferrari’s history and that have raced on circuits all around the world. They range from the single-seater in which Froilan Gonzalez won the marque’s first world championship at Silverstone in 1951 to the latest all-conquering F1 car used by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. A series of monitors and evocative images tell the story of the men, machines and moments that have contributed to the company’s glorious history. One showcase displays all the most important trophies collected in over fifty years of competition, including those held aloft by Schumacher on podiums around the globe. A faithful reconstruction of Enzo Ferrari’s office also graces the same hall as it was at the first Scuderia Ferrari HQ in Viale Trento Trieste, Modena .
The amphitheatre hosts themed exhibitions that change every six to eight months as well as two driving simulators set in real F1 cars for those who want to experience the thrill of getting behind the wheel of a single seater in a championship race.
On the upper floor is a space dedicated to technological innovation. This area hosts special vehicles like the F50 and the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina and other experimental models. Also found here is a representation of the galleria del vento with the F1 cars from 1981 to today that have undergone aerodynamic tests. A zone detailing how F1 technology is applied to roadgoing cars is another attraction. Completing the exhibits is a line up of all the Formula 1 engines employed since 1981.
It is surprising to see how the size and structure of the engines have evolved over time, from the small but complex V6 Turbo to the classic V12 and on to today’s light and compact V10. An absolute must is the exhibition of F1-type paddle gears invented by
Ferrari in 1989 and now used by all the teams. In this case too, the leap in technology is evident, from the use of new materials, metals and composites and how the on-board arrangement of certain parts is determined by the aerodynamic set up of the modern single seater.
Moving into the new exhibition hall on the first floor, directly above the entrance, one enters an area destined to host art and photography shows. Today the space is given over to the 156 ‘Shark Nose’ from 1961, the model that Phil Hill took to the world title. The 196 and the 268 SP can also been seen close up. A model of the F430, reflecting the design of the Shark Nose, and an F2003-GA, from which the F430 is largely inspired, share the same exhibition area. One interesting feature is found in the glass display on the west wall: a series of Ferrari steering wheels that range from the wooden versions used in the 1950s to the computerised models employed today.
The visit ends heading back downstairs to the entrance area where the Ferrari Shop is situated. The shop is a branch of the larger Ferrari Store to be found opposite Ferrari’s main historic entrance in Via Abetone. Also here is a bookstore where it is possible to purchase all Ferrari’s publications. Further, there is a photo point where the visit can be captured on film and also a pleasant cafeteria.