Venice to Lake Como

A magical motoring adventure

The tour arranged from Venice to Lake Como was chosen not only for its breathtaking drives but also to time with the exclusive Concorso D’Eleganza Villa D’Este. An impressive array of historic cars took part : A Jaguar E-type competition roadster, a very rareToyota 2000GT, a canary yellow Lamborghini Miura, four Jaguar XK140s no less, a 60s Ford Mustang Shelby, a 70s Maserati Ghibli, to name but a few. The full collection of Charabanc luxury car diffusers in every colour: Signal Red, London Tan, Racing Green and Orient Black, was in very well matched company, as one would expect given Charabanc’s historic motorcar interior-inspired design.

The first part of the journey took us from Venice to the Province of Vicenza, an ever changing landscape of verdant valleys, rolling hills, flower-filled meadows and dark, dense forests. The cars snaked through this tranquillising scenery towards the Venetian Prealps, gateway to the Dolomites and on to the historical city of Trento.

Day two took us through the breathtaking Monte Corno Natural park and the Val di Fiemme, along bubbling rivers and still, cold lakes that spread lazily across the landscape, guarded by the omnipresent and omnipotent Dolomites. That night’s stop was the Byblos Art Hotel/museum/homage to whimsical contemporary art with pieces from Anish Kapoor, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damian Hirst.

The last day of the Grand Tour headed north around the Western shore of Lake Isco and up the Valle Camonica. Finally west through Valletina to the northern tip of Lake Como to follow its western shore-line that meandered through medieval villages and curled past proud art nouveau villas with splendid waterfront gardens until reaching the final destination of Moltraiso and The Grand Hotel Imperiale.

The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa D’Este is one of the most prestigious historical car events in the world. Set in the majestic grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa D’Este situated on the shores of the glamorous and glistening, Lake Como. The event, which has been running since1929, most certainly delivers up to its nomenclature. The motorcar that won Best of Show was a sensationally sculptural 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900. No stranger to the concours scene, it had actually collected Best in Show at the Pebble Beach concours the year before. Considered the Maclaren F1 of its day, a stunning feat of engineering and design, hitting speeds of up to 120 mph in practical silence.

Lake Como, the most beautiful lake in the world, according to John F. Kennedy, has been the playground of the rich and famous since the reign of Julius Caesar until more recent times when Bryon, Hemingway, D.H Lawrence, Goethe and Verdi were some of the many creative luminaries who fell under its spell.