Destinations, Featured Partners, Italy, Lamborghini

An Italian Fairytale: Three Days with Lamborghini

May 17, 2012

Wined and dined with the best regional foods of the land, equipped with more horsepower than ancient Roman cavalry, and privy to design and technology secrets of modern day driving machines, our Lamborghini experience during a trio of days in Italy will live on in memory as nothing short of an Italian Fairytale.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, two Oregonians found themselves invited to the celebration of a mythical creature: the famed Italian Lamborghini driving machine… 

These young travelers from the west coast of the United States timidly prepared to meet the great figure of Automotive Royalty that grew up from the green hills of ancient Emilia-Romagna to become a world renown symbol of majesty, speed, and design.

Our story finds them rummaging through their luggage in hopes of finding something appropriate to wear to the ball. Scratch that. They didn’t rummage long: there was only one option – a black dress for her and a collared shirt and black jeans for him. The same outfits they’d worn for two weeks, crossing the ocean on a ship… But that’s another tale.

Our story actually finds them approaching the 2012 Lamborghini Driving Academy’s first night’s welcome dinner in the green hills just beyond the city bounds of Bologna, Italy.

Day One: Welcome & Dinner in the Bologna Hills

Butterflies in our stomachs from anticipation, we arrived at The Admiral Park Hotel and walked up nervously to a shiny orange Aventador radiating more magic than a fairy godmother’s transformed pumpkin. We’d dreamed of excitement on our trip around the world, but this was something else entirely.

There she sat, resting quietly, hinting at the excitement to come tomorrow on the Imola Track.

In less than 24 hours, Ted would be behind the wheel.

As soon as we crossed the threshold into the entry, we were greeted by Lamborghini’s friendly and gracious social media director, Alice (she’s shy and doesn’t like pictures…but I managed to capture one on Day Two!), and Daniella, Annelissa, and Alessandra, the team of genuinely sweet ladies responsible for running special events.

A welcome letter almost as thrilling as the roll of parchment in Cinderella’s hands spelled out the night’s coming highlights:

…In order for you to be properly prepared for your on-track experience, we will be expecting you in the hotel lounge bar by 6.30pm first for a welcome cocktail, and then to provide you with a short introduction to the Academy schedule followed by a detailed track driving theory session which will be carried out by our Chief Driving Instructor.

Afterwards, we would like to invite you to dine at the internationally renown Michelin Star Trattoria “Da Amerigo” located in the delightful village of Savigno in the Bologna Hills. Here you will taste the real home-made food of the Emilia-Romagna region together with the local wines selected by patron and chef Alberto Bettini.

After delicious drinks and aperitivos and friendly introductions to the other six Driving Academy classmates from around the world (North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia all represented!), the evening’s theory lessons began in the darkened classroom.

Chief Driving Instructor Max Venturi gave an expert’s overview on the fundamental keys for speed on the track: hand/foot positions and braking/accelerating patterns on the corners. (See classmate Michael’s summary of How to Drive Fast and Safe.)

Theory lessons complete, we set out for dinner in a private coach, crossing stunning scenes of rolling country hills illuminated by sunset light as we made our way to Da Amerigo for a beautiful dinner featuring the finest of north-central Italian foods.

Lamborghini welcomes guests from every corner of the earth, and they do so well at sharing the flavors that make this land uniquely home. The fullness of experience hung rich in the air as flavors of Emilia-Romagna came dancing to our table course after course.

Amerigo 1934 – Restaurant, Dispensa and Inn
Via Marconi 16 Savigno (Bologna)

Discovering Nature
A menu created with our most classic dishes, inspired by the flavours
of the surrounding hills and countryside

The Dishes
Raw Beef from the Modenese White Cow and Black Summer Truffle
With Scallions, Extra Virgin Olive oil from Romgana, and Camillone Salt

Nothing is Thrown Away from the Rare San Luca Artichoke
A variety of ways to taste each part of this historic vegetable

Tortelloni Filled with Goat’s milk Rocotta from the Savigno Plains
Served with Butter and Wild Herbs

Lasagne with Green Asparagus from the Samoggia Valley
With Parmesan made with the milk of the Modenese white cow from the Rosola Dairy in Zocca

Beef Cheek Braised in Barbera Wine
Served with pureed potatoes from Tole and Crunchy Red Onions from Medicina

The Original ‘Gelati di Crema’ like Grandma Used to Make It

Coffee and Liqueurs from the “Dispensa”

Il Vino

Vallona – Ca Novina Brut 2006
Corte D’Aibo – Bianco Bologna Spungola 2011
Orsi San Vito – Pignoletto Vigna del Grotto 2010
Sandoni – Barbera Ritorno 2007

A meal is more than the sum of its parts. The menu tells pieces of the story, but the real magic is in the traditions and histories woven through each ingredient: the Mediterranean sunshine and ancient Roman soil that gave life to the artichokes, the farmer tending her goats to produce the same cheese as treasured centuries ago, healthy chickens laying eggs of saffron yolks to color Grandma’s classic gelato brilliant gold…

Dazzled and dined, we headed for a night’s slumber to prepare for the following day’s show of valor, strength, and skill.

Day Two: Driving School on the Imola Track

We arrived mid-morning in the Italian town of Imola and made our way down streets filled with bicycles, shopkeepers, and spring blooming roses. This ancient outpost is no stranger to speed: in 80 A.D. a Roman amphitheater hosted two-horse(power) chariot races.

A jaunt over the Santerno River spanning bridge at the town’s edge brought us to the world famous Imola Racetrack, “an extremely technical and difficult to drive circuit, with complex corners, which can be driven at high speeds and which demands outstanding professionalism.” Here, Lamborghini rolled out the red carpet and transformed the racing pit to a comfortable lounge.

Smiling servers in black shirts and white ties offered to prepare any coffee drink under the sun and kept a fine array of finger foods replenished all day long…

Sustenance for the course, of course.

There, just outside the doors, stood cars like gallant steads, waiting for the action to begin.

Ted suited up, stepped out from the pit, slid behind the wheel of the Gallardo, and started with a 200 km/h burst of excitement as he took his turn driving solo around the course.

Ted stepped out of the car at the end of the first session and walked to the edge of the track to lean against the rail. I’ve never seen him look so thrilled and so shaken all at once: all smiles and white knuckles. It’s no wonder, though. The description of the course’s challenges and turns is enough to make me tense up!

After the first taste of speed, driving instructors ushered the students to the back area of asphalt and began guiding them through a series of cornering drills and steering maneuvers.

Sprinklers slicked the surface, allowing for punches on the gas pedal, weight transfers on the brakes, and controlled slides around coned corners. Excellent practice for a track that sets forth the challenge of 9 right-handed and 13 left-handed turns at breakneck speeds.

It’s no surprise that one past attendee traveled seven days round trip from New Zealand to Italy and back home just to attend the two-day Driving Academy.

The sounds of engines, the flashing whiz of machines nearly flying by as they complete the 4.909 kilometer circuit, the smell of fuel and tires and the energy in the air…this experience is like nothing else.

Ted’s favorite moment came when they pulled around the Aventador, a seven hundred horsepower beauty (soon to be driven by Bruce Wayne in the next Batman movie), and let him take the wheel.

If the Aventador could talk, it would tell you how scared I was, how I didn’t trust it at first, how I learned to trust it later, and how I finally surrendered to instinct and drove.
-Ted (I’ve Always Dreamed of Driving a Race Car)

Meanwhile, this farmgirl signed papers and strapped on a helmet, preparing to take a few spins around the track with the instructors while Ted raced behind.

(Yes, there I am, iPhone in hand. Video from the drive is at the bottom of the post Farmgrown Lamborghini Legends.)

At the end of the day, the kind employees working underneath the proverbial hood of the shiny Lamborghini exterior proved the real heroes of the fairytale.

Alice, born and raised in this area, possesses a genuine passion for her culture and region, and went out of her way to share with us the true Lamborghini experience.

Likewise, Daniella, Annelissa, Alessandra, and Laura offered their hospitality and enthusiasm, and instructors Max, Peter, Filippo, and Richard gave patience, encouragement, confidence, and freedom to the drivers on the course.

Ted beamed as Filippo and Max presented him with his Lamborghini Academy certificate after a full day on the course.

Day Three: Factory Tour & Museum Visit

After experiencing the power and thrill of the Lamborghini machine live and in person on the raceway, our final day with the famous car makers included a trip back to where the legend was born: the farmlands of Sant’Agata Bolognese. The company headquarters are pictured below in a vintage photo from decades past, but even today, the buildings sit among fields, and we saw tractors driving by on the country roads.

We signed confidentiality papers and promised not to reveal any company secrets (wink, wink), but we can tell you this: the factory floor where Lamborghini is currently producing their Gallardo and Aventador models is an incredible place where people are using their hands and their ingenuity to craft gorgeous details of leather, carbon fiber, and steel.

The price tag and the current two year wait time from order to delivery for the new Aventador begin to make sense when you take into account the skill and precision behind each vehicle.

These cars that go 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds are slow works of art.

Lamborghini has no back-stock. Each car is made, on order, for an individual buyer.

The production line completes six Gallardos and four Aventadors per day, for a total of approximately 2,500 cars in a year’s time. There is no overtime; there are no weekends. The 250 employees manufacturing the vehicles work 8-5 shifts from Monday through Friday and go peacefully home at the close of the day.

In the meantime, for car lovers who can’t wait to get their hands on the steering wheel or see beautiful collection in person, there are two options:

The Lamborghini Driving Academy
Open to Lamborghini owners and sportscar enthusiasts alike.

Museo Lamborghini
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
Via Modena, 12, I-40019 Sant’Agata Bolognese (BO), Italia
Phone +39 051 6817.611
Online Reservations
M-F (excluding holidays), 10.00 am – 12.30 pm & 1.30 pm – 6.00 pm
Adults: €13 Museum Entry or €40 Museum Entry & Guided Factory Tour

Lastly, one final mention goes to the Wizard of our Lamborghini fairytale.

Filippo Zadotti: one of Ted’s instructors and my chauffeur during an epic spin around the track, a 33 year old professional Italian driver who started his career driving go-carts at age ten.

“At six years old my father bought me a small dirt bikes hoping so, in vain, to quell my desire. He tried again with a bee with three wheels on which I spent all my days. The passion was anything but calming. He then persuaded to help me get started making me competitive with the go kart. And now here I am, twenty years later, to wear a fireproof suit for work and slip a helmet or motocross racing with exactly the same enthusiasm as when kicking to turn the Motina cross.” – Translated from his website

What a kind gentleman on the track. He spent the day watching his rear view mirror and sending instructions by microphone to the drivers behind. He took corners calmly with a single hand. And he shyly confessed that yes, it was he who drove the orange Aventador through the streets of Rome at five in the morning to make this epic video, the same car that Ted drove, the star of the fairytale, the reminder of dreams come true:

Thanks for reading our series from Emilia-Romagna: A region of Northern Italy ripe for exploration. And thank you especially to Lamborghini for hosting us at their 2012 Driving Academy. If you’d enjoy coming along for the ride, follow us on Twitter (@twoOregonians), like our Facebook page, and stay tuned for more photos and stories from the racetrack and behind the wheel.

Related Posts:
Farmgrown Lamborghini Legends
I’ve Always Dreamed of Driving a Race Car

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  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica May 18, 2012 at 5:00 am

    I am guessing this is the highlight of the entire trip for Ted :-)

    • Reply twoOregonians May 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Haha – the grin on his face was priceless!

  • Reply Farmgrown Lamborghini Legends - twoOregonians May 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

    […] Posts: I’ve Always Dreamed of Driving a Race Car An Italian Fairytale: Three Days with Lamborghini Share/Bookmark This entry was posted in Destinations, Featured Places, Italy and tagged […]

  • Reply Tony May 19, 2012 at 3:34 am

    OH MY GOSHHHHHH! This is the sexiest post I have ever read. It should come with a NSFW label. That last car Ted drove was ridiculously nice… Also, that picture of Bethany with Iphone in hand while driving around the track pretty much perfectly sums up the Travel Blogging experience!

    • Reply twoOregonians May 20, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Passenger seat of a Lamborghini = infinitely better than overnight bus rides in Bolivia.

      ; )

  • Reply Andrew Buck May 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Bethany, I like the car you’re standing next to best. +5 Great post. I’ve enjoyed reading all the Lamborghini adventures. : ) Tell Ted I expect him to demonstrate some of what he’s learned in the Academy when he gets home, even if he has to do it in the Camry…

    • Reply twoOregonians May 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Someone just told us that the only place left to trump this experience would be a trip to NASA. It made me think of you, of course. Also, how about a little Camry/Combine action out the Woodburn Drag Strip?

      • Reply Andrew Buck May 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        I think yes. Or maybe let’s ask Lamborghini for a hydrostat Aventador. That is, if they’re up to the challenge.

  • Reply Definitionarium of Our Italian Adventure - twoOregonians May 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

    […] Post navigation ← Previous […]

  • Reply Heather Espana May 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

    *pant* *pant*
    What a thrill!

    • Reply twoOregonians May 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Our sentiments exactly ; )

  • Reply Billy bob May 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

    People who continue to drive these ridiculous fuel-wasters should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

    • Reply twoOregonians May 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Billy Bob, I can appreciate your sentiments. It’s a never-ending tug of war to examine priorities and make resource-consumption choices based on intellectual honesty and sound ethics.

  • Reply giuseppe May 22, 2012 at 3:58 am


    • Reply twoOregonians May 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Truly! : )

  • Reply gramma breshears May 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    absolutely incredible !!….your whole journey…the latest being your “lamborghini adventure”… emulate you i guess we have to ” dream-dream-dream (as big as we can imagine)…..plan-plan-plan….(for at least 5 yrs)…….then step out and while we are at it expand on that dream even beyond our wildest imaginings……the best part is you are taking us all with you……..thank you and Godspeed !!!……love you gramma

    • Reply twoOregonians May 25, 2012 at 12:00 am

      Aww, Grandma! Yours is my favorite comment on the blog. Ever. : ) Thank you so much. You’re right, the adventures we’ve had already are already beyond our wildest imaginings…thank you for keeping us in your prayers and following along as we go. And thanks for listening to the crazy ideas back when they were just dreams.
      Love you, too!
      xx Bethany

  • Reply sunny May 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm


    • Reply twoOregonians May 25, 2012 at 12:01 am

      Thanks, Sunny!

  • Reply PREETH PAUL May 24, 2012 at 6:08 am


  • Reply PREETH PAUL May 24, 2012 at 6:09 am


    • Reply twoOregonians May 25, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Beautifully crafted machines. Absolutely.

  • Reply AGuyFromBeaverton May 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing your amazing experience! If you don’t mind me asking, could you elaborate on how you were able to participate in such a journey? (Costs involved, etc).

    This has been a dream for me – thanks! :)

    • Reply twoOregonians June 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

      Thanks so much for enjoying the read! : ) We’d be happy to share a bit more about our journey. There are two parts: our overall round-the-world trip, and then our partnership with Lamborghini for the 2012 Driving Academy experiences.

      For our trip, we started planning and saving several years ago, with the goal to leave life at home and travel for a year on an approximate budget of $100/day (transportation, lodging, food, activities, etc.). Here’s a bit of our backstory:

      Also, here is a helpful resource that’s been put together in recent years for aspiring career break adventurers:

      As we’ve traveled and published our stories, we’ve been offered opportunities to work with partners along the way. During our time with the Emilia-Romagna, Italy tourism board, we were contacted by Lamborghini to participate in their Driving Academy and share our stories with readers. Most recently, Lamborghini’s deluxe two-day event was available as a 4,800 Euro package including accommodations, special meals, and academy activities. Factor in airfare in addition and extended lodging for exploring Italy before or after, and you’ll be on your way toward having a ballpark figure.

      Here is the link to their 2012 Imola Driving Academy information package:

      Good luck, and feel free to send us an email (see our About Page) if you have any other questions!


  • Reply ednuz June 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm


    • Reply twoOregonians June 7, 2012 at 7:34 am


  • Reply Arrivo, Blogville! « ciao bologna! June 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm

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