A visit to Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese.

First off, I'd like to express my extreme gratitude and thanks to my friend Giancarlo Pistoja for making our visit to the Alfa Romeo facility so enjoyable and informative.

In April 2003, my girlfriend and I made plans to tour Italy. I have always wanted to visit the Alfa Museum, so we made certain that Milano was on the itinerary. We arranged to arrive at the Malpensa airport which is a short distance from central Milan. We actually passed the Alfa factory in Arese while on a shuttle bus between the airport and the Milano Centro Termini (train station). I was able to see the famous Alfa Romeo sign from the Autostrada. I wanted to stop there and then, but we had decided to postpone the Alfa factory visit to the end of our trip since we would be flying back to the States from Malpensa 9 days later.

In the intervening 7 days, we did lots of traveling - visiting the Cinque Terre (highly recommended on any Italian holiday), Rome, Florence and Sienna as well as Milano (of course). Italy is a beautiful and fascinating country, but, since this is an Alfa Romeo related web page, I'll skip to the last 2 days of the trip when we arrived back in Milano. Send me an email if you want some travel tips for Italy itself!

I am fortunate to have as a long-time friend, Giancarlo Pistoja - an engineer with Alfa Romeo. He showed us around the Museum which was fantastic given his level of knowledge on each of the cars. He is also a transaxle Alfa aficionado, owning both a 75 3 liter and a GTV (Alfetta) 2 liter.

As soon as we arrived back in Milano, I called Giancarlo and he explained that the best and fastest way to reach the Alfa Centro Direzionale (where the museum is located) is via taxi. This only took about 30 minutes and we arrived in early afternoon. If you intend to visit the factory, you will need to make prior arrangments (see the Alfa Romeo Web Site for details). Have the taxi drop you off at the security gate just outside of the plant offices - not the remote one near the car park.

Giancarlo met us at the guard booth and we had to pass through security before proceeding to the museum. The entire museum was an incredible experience. It is much larger and more comprehensive than I had expected. You can follow a chronological history of Alfa Romeo by starting on the upper floors and moving downward. I saw the first car built by Alfa (actually, a Darracq) and the first Alfa - in incredible condition. One of the unusual aspects of the museum is that the cars are not cordoned off - you can walk straight up to them, look at various angles, maybe even climb under them if you wished. It was also rather quiet. In the few hours we were there, we saw only 2 other groups visiting the museum. I'd also recommend allowing an entire day to take everything in!

Each (of the hundred or so) cars on display is worthy of its own section in this page, however, here are some of the more interesting photo's we took.

Excuse the graininess of some of the pictures - the light in the museum sometimes made for difficult camera work.

24 Hp Torpedo, 1910.

This picture shows the interesting pedal arrangement on many of Alfa's early cars. The accelerator (gas) pedal is in the middle, the brake is on the right, the clutch on the left. Giancarlo told me that this makes driving this car quite challenging given how used we are to having the accelerator on the right.

This was one of my favorite cars. The 1951 Alfetta 159. An impressive engineering feat as it was capable of producing 425 hp with only a 1.5 liter engine (in 1951)! It also has the famous deDion rear axle later used by Alfa Romeo in its transaxle series of cars (Alfetta, Giulietta, GTV, GTV6, Milano (75), SZ Zagato etc.).

The radical 1931 Bimotore Monoposto "Tipo A". It had two engines, two driveshaft. That's Giancarlo on the right, me on the left.

1931 8C 2300 - perhaps one of the most beautiful Alfa's on display.

Giulia TZ1, 1961.

Giulia TI Super, 1962.

GTA 1300 Junior, 1967.

I was very pleased to see that the museum included an original Alfetta - a car very much like this was the first car I ever owned. This is a 1972 model.

A stunningly original GTV6. Giancarlo explained that this car had been used for driving around inside the factory grounds until it was retired and placed on display in the museum.

Giancarlo had made unusual arrangements for us to visit the Alfa Romeo Test facity (track) in Balocco - click here for this story and pictures of an Alfa 147 GTA.