Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Company Builds Experimental Plant To Produce Energy From Nuclear Fusion

"Italian firm ASG Superconductors on Friday presented the first magnet for ITER, the world's largest experimental plant designed to show it is possible to produce energy from nuclear fusion. It is 14 metres high, nine metres long, weighs 300 tonnes - as much as a Boeing 747 - and is the shape of a big capital D. The super-high-tech magnet, the first of 18 destined for the ITER project, was made by the Malacalza family's ASG Superconductors in its La Spezia plant, which will go on to produce another nine (plus one spare one) of the 18 which will form the core of the Iter reactor being built at Cadarache in southern France."

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Developments like this in a country as developed as Italy always remind me why it irritates me whenever I hear it be tagged a PIIG.

Not only is Italy one of the wealthiest nations on earth as member of the G8, it also is a net giver to the EU - always was.

Never quite understood the source of this chauvinism. Italy's economy is far more advanced than Spain, Portugal and Greece. It feels like a guilt by association scenario.

Culturally, Italy shares a heritage with those countries, industrially and in science and technology, they're natural rival to Germany, the UK, France, USA and Japan.

There are serious economic problems indeed. From persistent low growth to high unemployment among the youth, to weakening banks, restrictive labor laws and a bureaucratic system so convoluted it's a marvel the country even ranks as high as it does.

But it's more in-line with France's problems than the so-called Pigs. And quite frankly, the media - so politically correct when it suits them - should drop the derogatory term altogether.

After all, are they not all part of the EU? What did they expect? That every country was going to perform to the highest standards? You can't claim to be a united block and then chastise members. It's not healthy or appropriate and is bound to cause friction.







Italians Are The Healthiest People In The World

According to Bloomberg Global Health Index.

List of all 163 countries.

Canada is 17th and the United States 34th.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

....And Bandini

Rather than merge Bandini with post below with Stanguellini I felt it appropriate it gets its own entry.

Bandini Auto is yet another product from a genius mind that graces the Italian peninsula. This time by way of Ilario Bandini. 

And as usual with Italian brands, they come up with unique logos and like most independents like Bandini (with an interesting history) its essence was to...race. In the process, they left behind a memorable legacy.

The Legendary Legacy Of The Stanguellini

When we think of the Italian passion for racing the names of Alfa Romeo, Pantera De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Ferrari and even Lancia in rally come to mind.



But the auto history in the country is littered with little independent manufacturers producing memorable gems including Stanguellini which is motor racing personified. 

Photo: ferrariexperts.com

To you folks who use cartoons as a metaphor for life you may recall these little beauties as likely being the inspiration for the car driven by Goggles Paesano at the Indianrockolis 500 in The Flintstones.









Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tidy Italian Tidbits And Notes

Been collecting these stories and articles. Rather than post them each individually let's go bulk!

Italdesign with its partners offers up its futuristic car design.

"Airbus and Italdesign have revealed their plans to help city dwellers beat traffic with a modular vehicle that is part car, part drone.The concept vehicle, named Pop Up, was unveiled at this year's Geneva Motor Show. It features a "passenger capsule" that can detach from a wheeled base."
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I don't know if you've noticed by all the ads, but Alfa-Romeo is marking its comeback into the North American market. Besides FIAT, I can't recall an Italian car brand going hard into advertising.

They have no choice if they want to sell the Giulia Quadrifoglio

"These pics are the proof. The car I drove last week – a fully-specced seventy-three-and-a-half-grand Giulia Quadrifoglio demands a big leap of faith in the Italian brand when the German opposition is so soundly rooted.
But let’s check the facts. That twin turbo, three-litre V6 Ferrari-influenced engine churns out 510bhp and 600Nm of torque, giving this rear-wheel drive five-seater a top speed of over 190mph and a claimed lap time round the Nurburgring that beats the opposition handsomely.
From the outside, it’s unmistakably Alfa – that hip-height swage line, the familiar face sporting that traditional grille.
It’s handsome rather than beautiful but compared to its German rivals, somehow less arrogant. It’s the same inside.
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Italy has not only been working on increasing trade with Russia but collaborating with them on Mars exploration.

"Italy is developing detectors at the heart of a “dish” for the Millimetron — a 10-meter space telescope designed to study extremely dark objects in the Universe at millimeter and infrared wavelengths. Russia leads the project."

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Company focus: Dell'Orto are worldwide leaders in carburetors and electronic injection systems.

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Get ready for more and more Italian brands coming out with family/luxury cars. Lamborghini (probably at the behest of its German owners) have entered the family market and so have Ferrari and Alfa-Romeo with the beautiful Stelvio.

I hope they know what they're doing because this is not the essence of these brands. They're not Porsche who cater to a wider market. Their essence and legend is rooted in racing and a specific type of consumer.

Not sure what to make of it - especially Lamborghini.


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Speaking of the Stelvio....one day I hope to get to the iconic Passo dello Stelvio and ride it on my bike.


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And now for something really different Bullwinkle....

Italian cuisine and its influence on France.


'the Court of Catherine de' Médici was a veritable earthly paradise and a school for all the chivalry and flower of France. Ladies shone there like stars in the sky on a fine night.'

"Italy has been called the mother of the Western cuisines, and perhaps its greatest contribution was its influence on France. The crucial event was the arrival of Catherine de Médicis in France in the 16th century. The great-granddaughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Catherine married the young man who later was to become Henry II of France. She brought with her a retinue of Florentine cooks who were schooled in the subtleties of Renaissance cooking—in preparing such elegant dishes as aspics, sweetbreads, artichoke hearts, truffles, liver crépinettesquenelles of poultry, macaroons, ice cream, and zabagliones. Catherine also introduced a new elegance and refinement to the French table. "

Of course, French cuisine has also influence Italian cooking as well.


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The Lamborghini story reminded me of this scene in 'Big Night'. Is Lambo comprising itself?

Thank God for people like Primo. They keep us all honest:



Saturday, February 4, 2017

Scientists Claim Oldest Human Blood Found

The German and Italian scientists said they used an atomic force microscope to examine tissue sections from a wound caused by an arrow that killed the Copper Age man, who was found frozen in a glacier, and from a laceration on his right hand."
They really looked similar to modern-day blood samples,"said Professor Albert Zink, 46, the German head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy in Bolzano, the capital of Italy's German-speaking Alto-Adige region.
"So far, this is the clearest evidence of the oldest blood cells," he said by telephone, adding that the new technique might now be used to examine mummies from Egypt.
Institute for Mummies and the Iceman?
Man, I shoulda paid more attention in school.






Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Revival Of Viotti

I didn't realize the Viotti brand - long since gone since 1964 - was purchased by a Chinese group and subsequently revived. Since this event, it's gone on to acquire other brand names and eventually developed its first concept car:



It's great to see this company established in 1921 back in the saddle and contributing to the Italian automobile legacy. As with many independent auto-craft shops, this one now has a distinctly international flavour with Brazilian, French and American input.

The Willy AW 380 Berlinetta is inspired by Willys (famous for its military Jeeps) whose trademark was purchased by Viotti and was assembled by Willys in Brazil along with Alpine France.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Bartoli: Nothing But Greatness

Aaaaand so it begins. 2017 that is. Let's kick it off with a sports theme. Every once in a while I like to         go outside the mandate of this blog. The great cyclist Gino Bartoli's remarkable story is worth it.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Buon Anno

And so we say good-bye to 2016 and salute 2017.

Be well, play and drive safe e cent'anni!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The OM 665S: A Forgotten Machine

How's this for a story.

1927 was the year the Mille Miglia race began its ascent into legendary status. A competition it helped to make iconic brands like Alfa Romeo and Porsche. For more on the Mille Miglia - which was reborn in 1977 after a 20 year hiatus - visit here.

But it wasn't those cars or Ferrari or Maserati or BMW who won its first race. That distinction belonged to the cool looking OM 665S (aka the Superba) of the Officine Mecchaniche company.

An obscure, long forgotten automobile it also won at Le Mans. Despite its early success and promise, the company eventually stopped producing cars and focused on truck and buses. By 1938, it was closely affiliated with the FIAT group (manufacturing, among other things, train parts) only to permanently be absorbed thirty years later and seven years after that came under the control of IVECO.

So what was the ultimate fate of a company who won the first Mille Miglia? It exists today as a forklift manufacturer.

Quite an evolution don't you think?


Monday, December 26, 2016

Innovative Italians: Microcars

Hey, for what it's worth, belated Merry Christmas/Buon Natale.

Check this baby out. I have no idea what's being said but it's a cool video:



It's the Italian designed 'microcar' Iso Isetta. It went on to be licensed in a number of different countries including Germany (seen in the video) with the 250, 300 and 600 models.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fall Of An Iconic Name: Bertone

The last time I mentioned Gruppo Bertone it was in 2010 and the company was still operating. In fact, it designed the 2013 Aston-Martin Rapide.

Unfortunately, one of the most famous and iconic of names in automotive design filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

The list of brands Bertone worked with is substantial and impressive including the likes of Citroen, BMW, Ferrari, Mazda, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Volvo and Ford to name a few.

Being from Montreal, it's appropriate for me to mention they also designed the Alfa-Romeo Montreal created for Expo 67. The exquisite Montreal was designed by one of the 20th century's top car designers Marcello Gandini 

It's a shame about Bertone but at least it leaves behind a catalog and creations we will marvel at for posterity.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Corvette And Its Cisitalia Connection

The Cisitalia 202's role in spawning an American icon: Corvette.

"...What it was all about, of course, was a two-seater convertible sports car. Working from Earl’s rough outline, McLean and Bohnstedt came up with a design for the car’s body that appears to have been inspired by an Italian roadster called the Cisitalia 202. In those days, most sports cars had long engine compartments that narrowed almost to a point at the front end of the car, with broad, flowing fenders that were a separate and quite distinct element of the car’s design. Not so with the new GM roadster: Like the Cisitalia 202, it was a low, flat, wide, almost square box with fenders that were integrated into the rest of the body. Today the integrated-fender look is standard—it’s so common that it’s difficult to even remember what cars looked like when their fenders were separate from the rest of the engine compartment. But to see that look on a roadster in the 1950s was not only novel, it was stunning."