Now, Where Did I Leave That Boutonnière? Villa d’Este – a Tale of Style

What can I say? The recent Villa d’Este weekend saw a display of motoring vehicles that would leave any enthusiast in a futile search for words to adequately describe it all. From Ballot to Hispano-Suiza, Shelby Cobra to Siata, Ferrari to Lamborghini, the grounds of this magnificent villa were housing the very finest automotive silver for the annual Concorso d’Eleganza.

Taking it all in can easily overload the mind, so I attempted a tapas approach, wandering about to get small servings of motoring splendour. Details such as the dummy filler cap of the Fiat 8V by Vignale, the slender window winder of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo and the yellow logo sticker on the Lamborghini Miura P400 might otherwise have evaded my focus.

In addition to the spectacles at Villa d’Este, the nearby Villa Erba was the arena of RM Sotheby’s Saturday auction, where the range of objects for sale stretched from a 1919 Indian motorcycle to a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach.

Saturday morning, I entered the gates of Villa d’Este and once again found myself admiring the styling cues from many a design house. Bertone, Fantuzzi, Zagato, Castagna, Saoutchik – the list goes on and on.

All of the entrants joined the afternoon parading in front of the main building, where special awards are given to the ones found the most special. The public award, Coppa d’Oro, went to the remarkable 1935 Lurani Nibbio.

One of the magic aspects of the Villa d’Este weekend is the fact that the priceless jewels that are the concours entrants, will drive on the streets from Villa d’Este to Villa Erba on Sunday morning, much to the early bird car spotters’ enjoyment.

And so, on the final day, the cars spread around on the massive lawn outside Villa Erba, the public flowing around them like fish in a pond. The picnicky feel of the surroundings gives way to a sensation of excitement, as the cars once again fire up their engines and prepare to traverse the red carpet. This is the beginning of the weekend climax, where the finest specimens of each class are awarded prizes.

The single most desirable award, though, is only given out at the exclusive gala dinner in the evening. The car finishing on top this year, was a car I accidentally saw on a car transporter on the autostrada, namely the 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo by Bertone, entered by Giovanna Scaglione, daughter of the man who penned this gem of a car, the great Franco Scaglione.

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