Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Friday, November 17, 2017

Where Have The Great Italian Car Designers Gone?

Nice run down of a group of designers keeping the Italian automotive design heritage and legacy alive from Automobile magazine.

Staying with Automobile magazine here's a compilation of their 25 best car designers in history.

Where seven Italians plus two hybrid Italians (bringing the number to nine) make the grade. The USA come in with eight where they led in production design as opposed to design idea leadership dominated by Italians according to Automobile.

Let's keep it going. 25 of the most influential designers working today of which four are from Italy - De Silva, Ramaciotti, Giugiaro, and Giolito. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Stunned: Italy Fails To Qualify For World Cup For First Time Since 1958

Like so many dedicated fans of the Azzurri, I was left disappointed (but not surprised) by their inability to qualify for the World Cup. In fact, I admit I never thought I'd see this day. Sure, poor performances happen but not to not qualify?

It's actually quite a seismic event.

Italy is a soccer power on par with Brazil, Germany and Argentina historically. To not see them in is surreal as it is irritating. The image of this great soccer nation has been hit no doubt about it. Now, they're not even on current par with great sides like Belgium, Portugal, France, Spain and - gulp! - England.

Instead, Italy finds itself on the sidelines along with another power that lost its way in The Netherlands. And even the United States who were a fairly consistent performer until this campaign. And let's not forget Argentina barely qualified despite their talent.

The question is, what will they do about it?

At this point, the look to the future begins now but this means the main 'mummies' as Paolo Cannavaro put it running the FIGC must be removed. First order of business is to get to Euro.

Beyond this, I'm not overly confident in what's in the development system and the work of Di Biagio at the U-21 level. So I expect things to continue like this before it gets better. Unless, they fully commit themselves to repairing the damage made to Italian soccer.

Ventura must do the honourable thing and resign even though he has said he won't. Which is baffling considering he failed in spectacular fashion. There's no excuse for his tactical decisions and keeping Insigne to 15 minutes of playing time. None. ZERO goals in 180 minutes against a side that Sassuolo could probably beat. No disrespect to Sweden as they had a good qualifying campaign and deserved their victory. Good luck to them in Russia.

In order for real changes to be made, Tavecchio must also be dismissed. That he was re-elected despite his unsavoury racist comments said a lot about the FIGC. Adriano Galliani for supporting him? Fuori!

This bunch then handed the keys to a Ferrari to a 70 year-old who was clearly less about change and more about staying set in his ways. The kicker? In a country that has produced hands down among the best coaches in soccer history on a consistent basis including three who won titles for teams in the Big Five leagues and having won four out of the last seven English titles they settle on Ventura?

A country that boasts coaches (never mind that country also produces some of the best referees) that have won an endless stream of trophies couldn't have chosen better?

The shocking lack of depth is also of serious concern. We see at the U-17 and U-21 levels Italy routinely smacked by countries like Spain now. England too has gotten its act together and are on the rise. Who would have thought Italy was to become England?

Without key obstacles removed, there can be no 'revolution' as Corriere dello Sporto asserts must happen.

The FIGC disgracefully used band aid applications to mask the wounds we all saw with Italian soccer over the last two World Cup campaigns. It's been said that unfortunately it took such an event to take place in order to consider a direct overhaul. It's been done. Germany hit darks days in the 1990s and 2000s and revamped themselves (although they never had the dubious distinction and trauma of not qualifying for a major tournament) and came back as strong as ever. Spain too has its system down pat. France is another country finding its consistent identity and more recently Portugal has joined the ranks.

Will Italy (and for that matter The Netherlands) rejoin them?

What a brutal end to Buffon's illustrious career. The entire crud in the FIGC let him - arguably the greatest keeper ever - down.

What kind of class is Buffon? When he heard the fans disrespecting the Swedish anthem (something I could do without and was ashamed to hear) he was clapping in defiance. He understood this was not polite or just.

Good luck to Sweden in Russia.

Two images these bumbling nincompoops gave fans today: Italy's most creative player Insigne rotting on the bench and Gigi Buffon crying for failing supporters. That's ALL on the FIGC. All of it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Speed Up Factory Motorcycle Team



Speed Up is a Moto2 bike manufacturer. 

The company hasn't achieved the legacy of renowned bikes like Bimota, Aprilia, Ducati etc. but that's because it's very young having been founded in 2010.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Alfa Romeo Introduces The Stelvio

It's always tricky whenever an established sports car manufacturer dabbles outside its area of expertise and so it is with Alfa's decision to head into the SUV market for the first time with the Stelvio named after the legendary Stelvio Pass made famous at the Giro d'Italia.

I have no idea how it will go but Car and Driver gave it a 4-star review.





Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fornasari Left Its Mark



I didn't realize Fornasari declared bankruptcy in 2015. Quite the impressive legacy during its 16 year run nonetheless. The company was known for its racing buggies and SUVs like the RR600 picture above. What an awesome looking bomb that vehicle!

Another independent artist-design auto company moves into Italy's long legacy of automakers.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

LaFerrari: A Hybrid Beast

Top Gear concludes:

"Ferrari LaFerrari review: a V12 with KERS electrification that amounts to 950bhp of pure industrial awesomeness."

The LaFerrari recently sold for $3.7 million at auction.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ferrari And Bianchi Join Forces

The iconic mint green colours of Bianchi and Ferrari's racing red - two hundred years of excellence in their respective sporting fields between them - will collaborate to produce new models.

Look forward to what they come up with if anything to see how far Italy can push bicycle racing technology.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Matera's Revival Brings It To The Cutting Edge Of Space Tech

"The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, today visited the Matera space hub, one of the most important centres in southern Italy for research, development and technology transfer, as well as one of the most advanced space facilities in Europe. Welcoming the Head of State delegation were the President and General Director of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Roberto Battiston and Anna Sirica, together with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo, Giovanni De Gennaro and Alessandro Profumo."

Matera went from forgotten ghost town to space hub with state of the art facilities?

Impressive. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Memories Of The Tour de France: Nencini Champion Of 1960

With Fabio Aru in second place and doing well at the Tour de France (no shame in that given Chris Froome is the leader), let's go back into history and meet the forgotten champion Gastone Nencini. Here's a a story about Nencini who was quite the character.



The pic above features two riders - Roger Riviere and Nencini - decked in the national colours of France and Italy who both died young and tragically.

Articles Of Interest: Hydrogen Buses And Space Technology

Dear me, I hadn't realized June went by without a post! I blame the Russians.

Anyway...

Here are a couple of articles I spotted:

"...German and Italian public transportation companies are coming together in order to help develop new fuel cell buses in Europe. This is part of a larger European Union initiative that aims to cut down on urban emissions and improve the overall air quality of European cities. The German and Italian companies are seeking to develop 63 new fuel cell vehicles, which will serve as public transit solutions in major urban areas.

And....

"...Alessio Fanfani and his team at the D-Orbit mission are big on space but also concerned with sustainability. Dozens of companies are launching hundreds of missions into space in the next decades, and D-Orbit wants to help make space free of debris. 
A NASA stat says that hundreds of thousands of debris chunks are in Earth orbit, ranging in size from 1 to 10 centimeters. Objects in orbit at 36,000 kilometers, for example, might take thousands of years to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. Their project D-Sat is a satellite designed to perform its mission and then pull itself out of orbit. The team is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a set of in-orbit experiments.
The self decommissioning is one feature of the D-Sat but the main mission is sending and receiving MAMES data, messages sent from Earth. When natural disasters strike and threaten remote areas the team hopes that the satellites can take emergency messages and send them to public safety officials."

I checked their Gofundme page. Unfortunately they did not achieve their goals half reached half their goal. Hopefully they don't give up.



Monday, May 29, 2017

Lamborghini Gifts The Huracan To Police

Italian police have a second Huracan in their ranks:

"As if one Lamborghini Huracán isn’t enough, the Italian supercar brand is now donating a second example of the supercar to the Polizia. The Highway Patrol in Bologna will put the coupe’s high-speed capabilities to good use in urgent situations as a first-aid vehicle and as a transporter for organs. Resumes will likely be flooding in for the job of flying down the Autostrade for this important ­job. According to the Polizia, the Huracán will also take part in normal police operations..."

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."

******

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.