Sicily and the Targa Florio race, as Giovanni Agnelli remembers it.
I have very beautiful memories of Sicily, old and new. Memories of a many places full of light, colors and scents, and refined people; I believe that no one in the world is a gentleman like a Sicilian gentleman; they are special people. And then I immediately think of Raimondo and Galvano Lanza di Trabia, my wonderful friends, and those delightful days of years gone by spent with them in the Terre Rosse (Red Lands) in Palermo, or at the Castle of Trabia, by the beach near Bagheria. Just as I think of Gaetano Hardouin from Belmonte or Moncada from Paternò. Each one of them is from Sicily and each one of them is special. At the Terre Rosse in Palermo I also remember, in the forties, a meeting with Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, a jurist and minister of the Giolitti governments at the beginning of the century and then deputy to the Constituent Assembly and senator for life; another noble Sicilian gentleman who based all his political actions on respect for constitutional freedom. Additional fantastic Sicilians that I knew and appreciated were Ugo La Malfa and Leonardo Sciascia, at the time when he worked for the “La Stampa” newspaper. Then Sicily means Targa Florio, a legendary race that made the history of Italian motor racing. A fascinating race through the Madonie, across mountains and towns, with the participation of the greatest drivers and cars of the time. Taruffi won the race in 1954; the year after it was Stirling Moss’ turn while in the sixties it seems to me that the winner was Graham Hill. Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, and Mercedes all raced here. Up until now, these are all memories of the land, yet I have beautiful memories of the Sicilian Sea too, one of which is very recent. Just a little while ago, as I was on a boat in Sicilian waters, I watched swordfish fishing right in front of the city of Messina. It was a spectacular event. Sicily is one of those locations where I always return with great pleasure because of the spirit of the people and the beauty of the place.
Giovanni Agnelli, in the ’80s
(text extracted from an article published by Regione Sicilia)
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