The Lancia Aurelia
Registro Aurelia – Lago d’Iseo
May 31st -
This year’s spring reunion – Gita di Primavera -
When we received the programme, this was certaily going to be about boats, and sparkling wine. And we were not disappointed. As many of you will know, lago d’Iseo was home to the Riva shipyard, where those magnificent mahogany runabouts were built from late forties to the sixties, before glasfiber hulls took over.
Also sparkling wine from Franciacorta, made according to the Methode Champenoise, in a hilly region between Brecia and Milano, has developped into a worthy competitor to its French inspiration.
So when we took to the road early Thursday morning we were looking forward to a long week-
The raduno started with an excellent lunch buffet in what would be our home for the next 3 nights, the Hotel Touring in Coccaglio.
In the afternoon we visited as an introduction to the region the old abbey of San Pietro in Lamosa, and to the peat bogs of the Sabine, a natural reserve. Coming back to the hotel, we left for dinner at the organic winery of Riccafana, and our first tasting of Franciacorta.
Friday was to be our boat day, comprising the visit to the the Riva boat collection assembled by a nephew of Carlo Riva, and to the RAM shipyards, that today restore and maintain those magnificent boats, for the wealthy and lucky owners worldwide. After 2 hours, our ears were singing with names such as Tritone, Aquarama and Florida, and our eyes had enjoyed the magnificent woodwork and fittings that distinguish those works of art. Then full of those sights and smells, we climbed into our magnificent Aurelias, and aided by the ever present motorcyclists that helped us negociate the numerous roundabouts, we started climbing a twisting road in the hills over the Passo of Tre Termini that led us to our lunch pause, at Cantina Majolini. Before our excellent buffet lunch we had the requisite Franciacorta tasting. Numerous were the opened boots after lunch, to take away of few bottles (or boxes ?) of the precious stuff ! On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at an old forge from the fifteen century at Borgo del Maglio Averoldi, were local craftsmen showed us how steel tools were forged for many centuries. Then we visited in Rodengo Saiano San Nicola’s Abbey, a magnificent Cluniac monastery, founded in the XI th century.
On Saturday the first visit, early in the morning, was to the Berlucchi wineyard, the founder of the Franciacorta sparking wine region. We were shown the cellars, and our guide explained how the founder, Guido Berlucchi, made his first vintage, in 1961. After the visit, and a light snack and wine tasting, we took the road to the Lago d’Iseo, and the village of Sulzano where we braved the waves to reach the island of Monte Isola for lunch. After lunch we visited the Montisola Archetti shipyards, where wooden fishing boats are still crafted, and the local museum, where the manufacture of fishing nets was explained to us. Late in the afternoon we were back at our hotel, in time to prepare for the Gala dinner, where the Aurelia drivers and their companions were suitably fêted, and the organizers, that had organized for us so many beautiful (and tasteful) visits, were thanked profusely.
After a light breakfast on Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye, and to start our engines for the trip back home. See you next year, and take care !