A huge cortege of 3,000 Alfa Romeos from 54 different countries came home to Milan at the end of June. We say home because they were all made in either the city’s Portello or Arese factories—except for the Alfasuds built at Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples—and were there to help the manufacturer celebrate that comparative rarity among carmakers, a 100th birthday. Alfas of all shapes and sizes thronged the Lombardy capital after travelling with their owners from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Paraguay, Canada, Hong Kong, and Japan, as well as the rest of Europe, to honor one of the world’s most exciting marques.
Milan city authorities opened five of the city’s most beautiful squares as exclusive showcases for the cars, which were displayed in privileged positions on Alfa-racing red bases for the enjoyment of all. Police escorts were provided for these gems to make their way from one significant centenary event to another, a massive undertaking culminating in a symbolic embrace of the city by all 3,000 cars on Milan’s ring road.
The event was organized by the MAC Group of Genoa, long-time partner of the Fiat Group in putting together other similar festivities, together with the Italian Alfa Romeo Register. Huge crowds came to see, effectively, Alfa Romeo’s history on wheels, as it moved in and around the city. The whole project was sponsored by Pirelli, itself 138 years old and the company whose tires have shod so many of the victorious racing Alfas—and regiments of their road cars.
Operational hub of the event was the Nuovo Polo Fieristico Rho Pero, on the outskirts of Milan, where a sculpture inspired by the Alfa Romeo 1900 Disco Volante, designed by the Alfa Styling Center and created by famous Italian sculptor Agostino Bonalumi, was unveiled. There was also the “100 x 100” display at the Exhibition Park at Novegro, near Milan, in which the cars on show literally brought to life Alfa’s century of history model-by-model, including some of the most famous Alfa Romeo racing and road cars of all time.
The renowned Alfa Romeo Museum on the grounds of the company’s all but deserted factory at Arese was also open to the public during the festivities, with multilingual guided tours of its fabulous exhibits available.
This magical place is home to such historic stars as the first racing Alfa, a 1911 15 HP Corsa, the RL Targa Florio, P2, 6C 1750 Super Sport, 8C 2300 Monza, Tipo B (P3), the incredible 1935 Bimotore, 158, 159, Giulia TZ2 and dozens of other pieces of history that we normally only read about. The Monza circuit was also open on centenary day, June 24, so that groups of the 3,000 could enjoy a few laps around the home of Italian motor racing.