⁷The “Memorial Fratelli Benetello”, reaching its third edition during the weekend of 22-23 June 2019, was born to honour the passion that bound the brothers Nereo and Tiziano Benetello to the Alfa Romeo brand. Nereo was a mechanic at the Fiat-Alfa Romeo service, while Tiziano worked at the Weber/Magneti Marelli and Dell’Orto service. This passion was then handed down to their respective sons Massimo and Andrea, who today own a classic Alfa Romeo workshop in Rubano (a municipality in the province of Padua). Until a few weeks ago I wasn’t even aware of this event, until Federico Squarcina, the president of the Club Alfisti Veneto contacted me and invited Alfattitude to join the event. Being aware of the fact that I don’t own an Alfa Romeo myself, Federico and Stefar (one of the main sponsors of the event) offered to put a new Giulia at my disposal for the entire weekend.
On Saturday afternoon we all met for an introductory aperitif at the Stefar dealership in Mirano ( province of Venice). Not all the participants at the event were present, also because of the bad weather, but the following day seemed to promise well judging by the quality of the cars parked there.
And it’s precisely here that I got to know which Giulia model would I be driving this weekend: the brand new 2.2 B-TECH with 160 HP in “Silverstone Grey”. I’ve had my driver’s license for just over three years now and this Giulia is only the third automatic car I have driven until today, but the first ever with the paddles behind the steering wheel. Initially I found myself a bit of a difficulty, as I was used to the purity of my manual Delta, but after the first kilometers driving it I was already in perfect tune with the car.
On Sunday morning I woke up early and, like a child on Christmas day, I looked out the window and outside, waiting to be driven all day there was the Giulia. This is what I call a great awakening!
8.30 in the morning: meeting again at Stefar with Federico and some of the participants of today’s eventand then heading, accompanied by the Carabinieri, to the first stop of the Benetello memorial: the Castle of Stigliano. A beautiful location to host a breakfast surrounded by Alfas. I didn’t even have time to munch on a croissant that the remaining participants began to arrive with their magnificent cars. Slowly the castle courtyard was filled by about fifty Alfa Romeos of all types, colours and ages, all equally in harmony with one another, despite those differences in age and design.
Giulietta SS, 2600 Sprint, GTV, 156 GTA Sportwagon, GT Junior, 166 and many other…
I have to admit I was delighted at the arrival of the two 2600s and the 2000 Sprint much more than of the Giulietta SS, not for an aesthetic factor as much as for an emotional factor; fortunately for me, in my home town of Trieste, at different meetings over the years I managed to see other Sprint Speciales, and therefore I was somehow used to their presence. For the 2000/2600 Sprints, on the other hand, a completely different story, because I’ve only seen this model twice before and never so close as I did this time.
Once breakfast was finished in the castle’s garden, it was time to warm up the engines and leave for the second and last location of the day,Villa Valmarana. We drove through the picturesque streets of the Brenta river valleys, of which unfortunately I couldn’t take enough photos as a testimonial of how enjoyable the drive and how beautiful the landscape were. In a 50 cars-long convoy we drove through country roads, coasting canals, old Venetian manors and farmhouses, typical of this region.
Between one stop and another, I was able to test my Giulia more thoroughly. The dinamic mode of the DNA, coupled with paddles, proved to be perfect on this occasion, making the experience a fun driving one, even in less flowing sections of the road trip.
After an hour of driving, we finally arrive in the splendid internal garden of Villa Valmarana, where lunch was waiting for us. It was here that the police forces accompanying us were awarded and heartfully thanked for the service provided. Awards were then handed to the owners of the best three cars present at the event – judged on their general conditions and originality: the 2000 Sprint, the white GTV 2000 and the GTV 2.0. To my great surprise, a plate was also given to us at Alfattitude, for our partecipation as media partner of the event.
After almost two days with the Giulia what can I say about it is that I never expected such a pleasant and enjoyable driving experience from a Diesel car for which, especially automatics, I always had strong prejudices. As I wrote before, I really liked the dinamic mode because even considered the only 160 HP the car was quick and very fun to drive. What I didn’t appreciate was the engine sound between one gear change and the other, which seemed too homogeneous and flat, almost boring and repetitive like in a ’90s video game. Nevertheless, to be the first time I was driving an Alfa Romeo in my life, I have to admit it was a really nice “first time” which went far beyond my expectations. What I liked most about the car is that, like all Alfa Romeos, it has its own personality, aesthetical and characterial, which makes it unique, and just as any other Alfa Romeo it arouses the best emotions in you just by looking at it and simply driving it .
In conclusion, I want to thank infinitely Federico and the Club Alfisti Veneto for giving me the opportunity to join them for this wonderful event, for making me discover a reality I didn’t know about and for making me appreciate the Alfa brand even more, through their passion and the love for their cars they share, confirming me once again that having an Alfa Romeo doesn’t mean having a simple car, but it really is a lifestyle. And this is something it can hardly be found in the automotive world. Grazie!