The lifestyle in Italy is a bit of a culture shock at first.
There’s no rush at lunch, as course after course of delicious fresh food shows up at your table. There’s no hurry in the afternoons when all the shops and restaurants close down and everyone goes home to sleep before going back for the second half of the day. This slow and easy life has one huge exception: cars.
Fast cars. It’s not unusual for cab drivers to instruct tourists new to Italy that “stop signs and red lights are only suggestions!”
It’s also no coincidence that the majority of the five most popular car companies in Italy right now are all known for their speed!
Featured in several Super Bowl ads in 2017, we see that the automobile company started in 1910 is still going strong today. Years ago, there was a rich history of auto-racing in Italy, which was followed by a break in 1915 for the manufacturing of military hardware during World War I.
In 1941, Benito Mussolini actually commandeered the Alfa Romeo company for the sole purpose of building cars for the wealthy. Several years later, after World War II was over, Alfa Romeo was reorganized and began mass-producing small cars.
The company has participated in several types of racing including Formula One and the Inaugural Grand Prix World Championship in 1925 – which they won.
The Ferrari is probably the most popular or well-known Italian sports car.
Ferrari began as Alfa Romeo’s racing cars before they broke off on their own in the 1930s. The cars were very successful in Formula One racing, and they only began manufacturing road vehicles in order to financially support the racing venture.
Currently, the Grand Touring market makes up most of Ferrari’s sales; they’ve produced a large number of unique cars for specialty clients. The brand now sells all sorts of non-automobile products under the Ferrari license.
Growing in US popularity is the Fiat.
Smaller cars are all the rage globally now, as they have been in Italy for years, and the Fiat fits the bill – so to speak. Perhaps not known for it’s racing trophies, it is known for smart business. Fiat is an exception to the speed of other popular Italian cars, but it certainly has its own value.
The Fiat has been named the European Car of the Year 12 times, and has a huge presence in several countries, in addition to Italy. Fiat has earned a reputation for purchasing their competitors, and is the largest industrial organization in Italy.
Ferruccio Lamborghini, once a former WWII mechanic in a successful tractor-building company, eventually found himself wealthy enough to buy luxury automobiles like some of the other brands mentioned here. Later, he wanted to build the perfect grand touring automobile, and the Lamborghini 350GTV was born.
Later, the company faced financial crisis and was purchased by multiple foreign companies; however, the Lamborghini is still proudly made in Italy.
Can you guess which company was founded by the Maserati brothers?
You’re good! Yes, Maserati: another company that began with racecars would eventually begin manufacturing road cars as well. The company has been bought and sold several times, once even to Chrysler, and more than once to Fiat.
Maserati has won the Indianapolis 500 twice over the years, and it is the only Italian car to have ever done so.
Italians take pride in their craftsmanship
Whether it’s high-performance automobiles, Italian leather goods, or Italian cuisine, Italians consistently take pride in their attention to detail and mastery of craft.
We love sharing in this Italian spirit! To find out more about the craft of preparing Italian food farm to table, accommodating dietary restrictions, and creating fresh pasta to order, simply click any of the subjects listed above.