The Firenze-Siena is back, a genuine and much loved motor event

Laura Ferriccioli

Between a glass of Chianti, some nice foreigners lover of Biscione and amazing landscapes, the Tuscan re-enactment took place this weekend in the name of passion and the taste of being together

 

“Senti ‘ome va!” (“Listen, how it’s going!“). Traveling through the wonderful Chianti hills, on Sunday morning, Mirco Gentilini, a heavy vehicle mechanic, is satisfied driving a splendid Lancia Appia 2 series that he has put together with his partner Marco Verdiani, who is part of the crew together with his son Gabriele. He says that the car is doing great and repeats it without pronunciating the “c”, as a good Tuscan of course. The way he takes the curves is instead that of the 2021 national champion of uphill speed in the 1600 Silhouette class, so not only the engine but also the suspension of the sedan at this year’s Firenze-Siena had a good things to let off steam after a long sleep in the garage. In fact, also for having supported both the first official and unofficial releases at once, the beautiful 1960 Lancia, which is very well preserved to original, gave a remarkable performance.

 

The Lancia Lambda Sport which won the Best of Show at the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti 2021 joined the Firenze-Siena this year
The cars before the start in Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the most panoramic points of Florence

A very rare DeLorean and a 1949 Mercedes 170 S lined up awaiting departure
Mirco Gentilini, Italian champion of speed uphill in the 1600 Silhouette class, e Marco Verdiani with the Lancia Appia II series on which TopClassico traveled

 

Above expectations. In all, a hundred kilometers were covered, from 9.30 in the morning to lunchtime, under a wonderful sun that illuminated the green landscapes of ancient Cassia road. A sun that the Florence-Siena deserved, also because the previous two editions were wet and this one of 2-3 October 2021 had been postponed for several months due to the covid. Autumn has brought it good, though. And it may also be for this reason, after the long fast since April 2019, that this time the desire to be together and to return to the event was touched even more than usual. The president of Cassia Corse Storica 264, Luigi Berra, underlined this during the lunch and the awards ceremony which, as always, closed the event. “We didn’t expect much success, until a few months ago we didn’t know if we would be able to make it, the Firenze-Siena. On your part there was a lot of enthusiasm, thank you! ”.

 

A splendid example of a 1949 Barchetta by the Tuscan manufacturer Ermini
A 1952 Chevrolet Flat Line
Two German Alfa Romeo enthusiasts, arrived from Germany in a single stage of 1300 km. Eberhard, left, who drove the whole distance, bought the Duetto in Switzerland in 2014 and is in his second Firenze-Siena
Well deserved rest. The BMW Isetta by Roland Dimai, a journalist covering the sustainable energy subject, and his wife Vlada. She is a Russian, he is Austrian, they have just returned from a trip with the Isetta (and a van!) in Macedonia. All the while during the first stage of the Firenze-Siena the car managed to remain third in the parade of the Firenze-Siena. And, after so much stress, it can now enjoy glory and rest during the break in Barberino

Stefania and Marzia Poggini are the inevitable stars of the Firenze-Siena. Without them, and without their 1953 Topolino C, the show wouldn’t be the same. Completely restored, the Fiat 500 belonged to their “babbo”, as they say “dad” in Tuscany, who passed away three years ago: “We promised him that we will never sell it”

 

More and more international. Yes, 58 crews took part, many of which arrived on purpose from abroad. Like the two Germans on the Alfa Romeo Spider 2000 who set off from Herdecke, in North Rhine Westphalia, and landed among the vineyards and cypresses of Tuscany with a single stage of 1,300 km. Even a couple of Dutch aficionados arrived in Italy for the occasion like every year, to participate with their Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti: they have never lost a Firenze-Siena and it is not the first time, in fact, that they have won the award of subscribers arriving from further away (1,540 km). Then there were the couple aboard the 1955 Isetta BMW, living in Austria and returning from a two-week trip to Macedonia. “The Isetta opens people’s hearts, makes people smile and raises questions: after a minute everyone invites us somewhere and after an hour we are already friends”, he revealed, amused, in perfect Italian.

 

A 1960 Ford Bowden Special

Make way for young people. Two new entries from Modena in the Firenze-Siena, both 30 years old. Filippo and Veronica arrived from Modena in their 1976 Alfetta GT. Growing up in a family passionate about motors, with a great-uncle who was one of the founders of the Circolo della Biella, Filippo decided to start immediately with an Alfa his collector career

 

So far, so close. On the other hand, the two owners of the 1960 Ford Bowden Special racer with the chassis of the English Bowden Engineering & Co. and a Ford engine that reached the route on the Cassia for the first time live between England and Italy. Two other Germanic foreign members then wanted to take the opportunity to romantically return to the city where they got married 10 years ago, although they live in Florence. But getting there again with a rare and fascinating 1967 Innocenti Coupé OSI is even a bit more cool. In general, there was certainly no lack of locals, despite other neighboring events taking place on the same day. But there were also cars from Modena, Turin, Rieti and Salerno: indeed, from Battipaglia, to be precise. This was the case of two friends aboard the driver’s 1959 MGA 1500 Roadster, who are mainly passionate about historic English cars and Tuscan landscapes.

 

A 1982 Ferrari 308 GTS

A few cars of the Club Matra Italia waiting for the check in San Casciano Val di Pesa

 

From generation to generation. Cassia Corse Storica 264 has been organizing the re-enactment for seven years now: the last speed race was won in 1954 by Eugenio Castellotti on a Lancia D24 with an average of 130.698 km/h. Born the year before, the race was held over 70 km along the Via Cassia, in fact, in the same stretch between the Tuscan capital and the city of Siena. And right at the first edition Romano Bacci, great-grandfather of a participant who was at the Firenze-Siena 2021 raced a Topolino. His young nephew grew up on bread and motors in a family of entrepreneurs in the automotive field and, fresh from his driving license, he drove a Fiat 500 L complete with driver gloves. Two pre-war cars that were part of the series of cars, both of great value: two Lancia Lambdas from 1929. One of them, beautiful with Sport bodywork, won the Best of Show at the last Concours d’Elegance of the Gold Cup. of the Dolomites.

 

A picture of the Topolino of Romano Bacci, great-father of a this year’s entry, during the 1953 Firenze-Siena
The Firenze-Siena cars passing through Piazza del Campo in Siena

 

A journey through the automotive eras. Among the other examples of particular importance, this year we saw a spectacular American designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro as the DeLorean DMC, which amazed everyone remembering the film Back to the future, a Porsche 550 Spyder, a 1972 911 S, a Barchetta from 1951 signed by the Tuscan manufacturer Ermini, a Dino 246 GT and an Asa 1000 GT which won the Best in Class award for the 1960s and 1970s. Among the most recent, a BMW Z3 and several Porsches, including a 930 Turbo and a 924 from 1984. The formula of the event then provides an annual tribute to a car brand and for 2021 Matra was chosen. There are seven beasts of the French house that gathered between the two cities of Chianti, including three Bagheera from the Seventies and two 1981 Murena. Another peculiarity of this re-enactment, the departure from Piazzale Michelangelo, a tourist place from which you can see all of Florence. There were three checks along the route, one of which in San Casciano Val di Pesa at the Bellini workshop, a former landmark of the Mille Miglia speed.

 

The 1964 Asa 1000 GT which got an award as best car of its class

 

A fabulous weekend. After that, a break strictly based on local products refreshed the crews halfway, in the picturesque Barberino Val di Pesa which in 1600 was the birthplace of Pope Urban VIII. Always twirling among the curves, the climbs and the enchanting views of certain hilly landscapes unique in the world, the cities of Poggibonsi, Castellina in Chianti and Fonterutoli have passed. Then the entrance to Siena, with the parade through the historic center and the passage in Piazza del Campo: the scenery that suddenly opens up when you turn onto the square is breathtaking, you feel excited by so much beauty. Another twenty km and here we are at the end of the guided tour in a welcoming countryside structure, just outside the village of Monteriggioni, a symbolic place of the Middle Age surrounded by characteristic walls. It is always from a resort similar to this one, in the middle of nature, that everything started on Saturday evening in Tavarnelle. The preview of the ride was an aperitif in a postcard place that was in fact a meeting place for friends. With the same relaxed atmosphere of motoring passion and cheerful Tuscan character that distinguishes the entire event. The Firenze-Siena is like a nice family lunch, simple and essential. Like the most authentic traditions.

© RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA

The Isetta, which could not fail to win the “Smile Award” of the event, while it was on display in Tavarnelle together with a Citroën DS and other participants during the checks and the meeting of the participants on Saturday evening

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