Visiting Italy might mean pasta and gelato for meals but to me it is also about touring the birthplace of Ferrari. After all, it is the most iconic sports car maker. Ferrari was founded in the small town of Modena roughly in between Milan and Bologna, and takes about 1 and a half hours by car from the city centre of Milan. However there are actually 2 museums dedicated to the Ferrari marque. One is the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena and the other is the Museo Ferrari in Maranello. Museo Enzo Ferrari talks a bit about the history of the company and the life of its founder – Enzo Ferrari, with a seasonal and thematic exhibition of its cars. Museo Ferrari on the other hand informs visitors about the brand and its racing and GT cars. So if it is more about the cars, visitors should head to the museum in Maranello, which I did not get to do this time.
Entrance fee to either museum was EUR16 per adult, and for people under 19 years, the admission is EUR6 when accompanied by a paying adult. Prices are the same for both museums and visitors spending a full day in both Modena and Maranello could enjoy both museums at EUR26. These prices are fair for a renovated museum, and the Museo Enzo Ferrari is actually built upon the original barn and family home of the founder.
The exhibits of the cars themselves are in the modern building that has an all-glass facade, allowing bright foyer with a cafe and gelato stand which is perfect for a break. On my visit, the exhibition was themed around Celebrity Ladies and their Ferrari Cars, and there was indeed several sexy varieties of both types.
Starting from the older classic models, there was some really different Ferraris on display compared to what one sees on the streets today. These includes one of my favourite classic Ferraris which is the 250s and there were variations of these.
Considering how beautiful they were, I am in no doubt on why they were popular amongst women. Amongst the showcase was a 250GT cabriolet by Pininfarina and a black 250GT California that I dub as the Black Beauty and probably the most attractive classic model in the museum that day.
There was even a 250 Le Mans or 250LM in short with racing stripes that I found intriguing just because they are so rarely covered.
Moving on to the 1970s and 1980s, these are the cars that I probably saw when I was a kid and they were my idea of ‘retro’ today. Long with angular lines, these cars have a 2+2 seating similar to the Ferrari 612 and FF of the modern era. Representing the GT cars of this era are the Ferrari 330GTC and the Ferrari 400.
The latter might seem somewhat of a stand-out in the Ferrari world. At first glance, its straight lines and flat front makes it seem like any other road car, but upon closer inspection reveals a proportion that visually delights.
From there on, the floor plan of the museum winds down another level with racing cars taking a centre stage. Aside from a Formula 1 race car, there was the 458 GT3 that had a female racing driver.
Being one of the most popular models, there was several models of the 458 on display including the basic coupe version and the Speciale convertible in yellow.
The most spectacular car of all in the museum floor, though, has got to be the LaFerrari. Conceived as a successor to the Enzo, this limited edition car model is the current flagship of the marque and is probably one of the most desirable supercars in recent years.
In addition to the cars, there are 2 audio-visual screening rooms at the lower level of the museum that showcases the brand and its racing heritage. Think of it as a looping advertisement for Ferrari. And visitors to the museum should not miss the showtimes that converts the whole museum into a large cinema with a projector showing a 20-minute movie clip about the life of Enzo Ferrari and how he came to build Ferrari into a sports car company.
Next to the museum, the old barn house contains more relics and photographs of Enzo Ferrari. Inside, there is a re-creation of the meeting room and offices of Enzo Ferrari while he worked out of this building as it has belonged to his family.
The main space here though is dedicated to displaying the various engines that forms the heart of every Ferrari racing and road cars. From the V8 engines gracing the F40 to the V10 found inside Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars, they are all on display here.
Touring both sections of the museum takes around 2 hours to really glance at every exhibit and I would rate this as something that automobile enthusiasts would enjoy. Being located slightly out of the city centre, it was easy to find parking when you drive in the nearby residential neighbourhoods. On Sundays, parking is free and the museum is open making it a viable tourist attraction to visit when the retail shops are closed. As a car museum though, I think it is somewhat lacking since the museum is dedicated more to the life of Enzo Ferrari and the origins of the famous car company gracing his name. And there is no display of the Enzo road car here!