We were recently in the home of the original super car manufacturers, Modena. After sharing our experience via Instagram and having lots of enquires about our time there we have decided to write a blog to help any future travellers heading towards the spiritual homeland of the super car.
There are many brilliant car manufacturers in the world but when it boils down to what defines a super car anyone who isn’t into cars will say that car is a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Two names synonymous with fast, loud and out of this world cars. Ferrari is renowned for its black prancing horse which has adorned championship winning F1 and Lemans cars. Machines of technical brilliance. Whereas Lamborghini started from a rivalry with Enzo building amazing cars, likes of which no one had ever seen before. From this Pagani rose, starting his career helping to re-design the Countach before developing the Zonda and becoming a shoulder rubbing rival.
Modena, Bologna and Maranello.
Let’s start with the beginning of your journey, Modena. Modena is the central city which connects Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Pagani. Modena connects you to Bologna and Maranello, which are about 30 minutes left and right of the city centre. Modena itself is not like the rest of Italy. It is not picturesque and it is not built for tourists. If you really desire the true, un-filtered Italian experience then Modena is your place to visit. The city itself is land locked and certain areas feel a bit.. rough. Which we found strange is during the week the city shuts down quite early and we did not find it intuitive. Looking for a corner shop was quite difficult! Modena is very similar to an industrial estate as everything around it is a factory with no obvious options for entertainment. Our suggestion would be to only spend a few nights here then move on.
Museo Horacio Pagani
Compared to the Lamborghini and Ferrari museums this one is set quite far out and doesn’t have the same heritage in the surrounding area as the others. The building itself is a beautiful glass and metal building sat on the corner of an industrial estate. As you walk in there is a special edition Zonda sat next to the entrance. When you walk in your greeted to a very open and airy environment which is a design mix of modern contemporary and classic Italian villa. Standard with most museums you walk directly into the shop. The Pagani museum is a guided tour (in English) which means you must wait for everyone on your booking to arrive before you can see the museum itself. This gives you plenty of time to look around the shop and see their art car next to designer’s office and the range of Pagani branded paraphernalia.
On the tour itself you’re provided with a speaker to hear the docent as you look at the exhibits. Once in the Museum it provides you with quite a lot of freedom to look at the exhibits at your own pace without feeling you need to be at the front of the tour all the time. In the museum you’re encouraged to take as many photos as you like but with the others as well you’re not allowed to take photos inside the factory. For this reason, I am glad I didn’t bring my proper camera otherwise I would have been taking high quality photos of other people. With Pagani there has been many special edition models but there are only two models, the Zonda (which has now finished production) and the Huayra. Paying 100 Euros to see two cars didn’t feel worth it. Personally, I have seen both models in real life including some special editions so seeing them as caged animals lost their wow factor.
The bit which redeemed it for me was the factory tour. The tour, as previously described, is a closed environment and not an experience I am able to share in images. The factory itself is the original factory and everything to do with their composite components comes directly from this factory making it rather cool. Horacio built the factory to resemble an Italian villa and the factory feel is almost separated from it. On the tour you get to see the whole production process including the composite materials centre, the thing Horacio is renowned for and what started Pagani. If Lamborghini had bought him an autoclave we may have never had the Zonda!
As great as it was to see the factory it wasn’t worth the money. I could have happily skipped it. If you have never seen these cars before then you will greatly appreciate it and seeing them being built is something special. In the museum you’re greeted to some special cars such as the Zonda R and the Zonda Cinque.
Things to know:
You need to book your slot before hand but pay on arrival.
If you book for later in the afternoon you may see the man himself as he leaves to go home (We did).
The tour is in English but no cameras can go into the factory, including mobiles.
Museo Horacio Pagani.
For 2 people with a factory tour – 100 Euros (50E PP)
Museo Ferrari and Museo Enzo Ferrari
Maranello is Ferrari country. On your journey there you will see many places adorned with references to the Ferrari brand. Fiorano, Mondial, Enzo, Ferr- etc… Unlike Lamborghini and Pagani, the Museum is separated from the factory, with a purpose-built building set just around the corner from the original factory gates. Ferrari being the marketing machine it is has spent a lot of money on making the museum stand out. It is a very large glass and metal building with artwork and props placed all around the grounds. On your way in you will spot many Ferrari’s going up and down because opposite they’re available to rent. Prepare to be pounced on!
With Ferrari we couldn’t book the factory tour as the spaces didn’t fit our time scale, so entering the museum as you wish isn’t a problem. The building is a top to bottom tour ending at the gift shop. The tour takes you through the years of Ferrari, their racing heritage and their 4-seater versions. The top floor begins with an opener to the original models created by Enzo and a look at his personal history, including a replica of his office. On this floor you get to see the original V12 engines, the 166 the 250GTO, the F40 and the new 812 Superfast.
The next floor down explores their racing models including Lemans, F1 and touring cars. I personally do not follow F1 but seeing their hall of fame was incredible. Looking at their medals, cups, race winning cars and the men that made their name was powerful to be around. The way they have setup the ambiance in this area bathed you in the spirit of Ferrari and would turn you into a believer of the brand.
The final floor explored their 4-seater and 2+2 variants including the 250GTE, 456 and Lusso. For most people this is a very boring floor as these aren’t the cars which make your head turn. Not widely known, the Ferrari 250 GTE was one of the only Ferrari’s Enzo owned and used! This floor is important because it shows Ferrari is a luxury brand for every part of your life. On this floor you will be given the opportunity to sit and get a photo in a 488. You can also see the Pista and Portofino. In this museum there is no La Ferrari, for this you will need the Enzo experience. On the way out you will be pushed to spend as much money as possible. Put your blinders on and walk out. Before you leave make sure to get a photo by the factory gate and peer over the wall at the Fiorano circuit.
In the car park there are regular buses which take you between the two museums. We drove between the two but the bus option is included in the combined ticket. 30 minutes back to Modena and you will be at Enzo’s museum. It is split into two parts, an old Italian villa and a modern wave inspired building. The villa is modelled on the original Ferrari factory and houses the engines which have made the cars. Across the way are the special cars which have helped shape the brand and may be your only opportunity to ever see them. Walking in a dome like building, the lighting is dimmed except on the cars them self. It helps highlight these important models and makes it better for photos. What is great about this experience is the more personal feel it offers. There are a lot loss members of the public here and you can really get close to the models with no real restrictions. My disappointment from the whole experience was not seeing an F50, Enzo or FXX model. I have never seen one that was not covered by people. Having a personal experience would have been a dream come true.
Things to know:
There are two museums, both worth seeing.
You don’t need a car to travel between the two.
You can take a factory tour but be careful of timings.
The Fiorano circuit isn’t that visible from the road and can only be seen on a bridge (from our experience).
Museo Ferrari and Museo Enzo Ferrari
For 2 people (combined ticket) – 52 Euros (26E PP)
Lamborghini museum and factory tour
I have always been a Lamborghini fan, with the first car I ever photographed being a Lamborghini Diablo. I have always loved the brand because of their designs and iconic scissor doors. Being honest though, I didn’t begin to love the brand because I was a petrol head, it was because I am a nerd. Transformers Gen 1 – Breakdown/Red Alert (I did have to Google this). This character was modelled on a Countach and that is where the love started. Over the years working with many Ferrari’s my love has swayed a bit. Seeing this factory however was still extremely important to me and the clincher for us taking the journey to Modena.
Unlike Ferrari and to a lesser extent Pagani, Lamborghini road test all their cars in the local area. As you get closer to the factory you will see many Aventador’s and Huracan’s driving around. With a few extensions now added, the factory is still the original factory built by Ferruccio. The building is quite cool and chic and against a setting sun looks immense. As you walk up the factory drive you’re greeted with a docent to point you in the right direction. On the right with a big floating lambo outside is the start of the museum. To the left is the gift shop. For the tour you do need to pre-book. Don’t expect to turn up on the day and get in. Currently there is a theme running in the museum “Lamborghini in the movies”. For the exhibits upstairs they have pulled together iconic cars from famous movies including the Muira (The Italian Job) Sesto Elemento (Need For Speed) and the Jalpa (Rocky IV).
In the museum there are two very special cars, the Veneno and Centenario. If you want photos of these two cars make sure to act quick between tours as they are awkwardly placed and get a lot of through traffic. In the museum you’re free to take as many photos as you like and thanks to no barriers you can really get up close and personal.
For the tour you’re not allowed to bring in your camera which is a real shame because there is a lot of history in the factory which would have been nice to photograph. The tour itself is in English and like the Pagani tour you’re given a headset (which you get to keep). You start by getting a small history lesson on the company and how the rivalry started. Upon entering the factory, you realise how different it is compared to Pagani. Everything is still hand built but Audi has had an influence on production. Hand built by trained specialists, everything is automated and produced on different stations. In the main factory 2 body lines are running, the Huracan and Aventador. These lines will also include Super Trofeo race cars, SVJ, Performante and any other variants of these body shells. The Urus is made else where as this car is produced in a larger volume.
The Huracan for example is made at 13 cars a day, taking 33mins per station to be built. The Aventador takes longer with only 5.5 being built a day. If you time your tour correctly you should be lucky enough to see a Huracan and Aventador roll off the line together. Compared to Pagani, everything is made in house and you get to see most of that on the tour. The headset gives you the freedom to move around. Don’t venture outside the yellow lines but feel free to take it all in. Look beyond where you’re stood as there are some special cars tucked up in the production line. The tour essentially ends with you walking the Aventador line, seeing pretty much the bare shell to completion with all the parts included. I feel confident in defending why these cars cost so much after seeing this. A lot of attention and detail goes into the production with 100’s of trained staff to help produce these incredible cars. For the end of the tour you’re brought back to the museum where you can stay until 7pm and enjoy the collection.
Things to know:
Need to pre-book for the tour.
No on-site drinks, you need to go across the road to the bull bar.
No camera’s in the factory.
The builders finish at 5pm but the tours go until 7pm. Make sure to book prior to quitting time otherwise the factory will be dead.
Children get a leather pressed Lamborghini badge.
For 2 people with a factory tour – 150 Euros (75E PP)