Lamborghini Passione Italia Part III: All Roads Lead to Sant'Agata


Onto the driving impressions. Admittedly, the term ‘driving’ seems a bit lacking when describing your experience at the wheel of an Aventador. Perhaps 'piloting' is a more apt description. Driving dynamics aren’t at the forefront of its design philosophy; although it is surprisingly agile. It’s about much more than that. A curious mix of old-school V12 housed within a space-age design, which just works. In a world where every car seems to be a carbon copy with just a different badge, it's so refreshing to see a manufacturer stay true to its original brand values. There’s nothing like a Lamborghini on the road, and it will always be that way.

On our final day with the car, we decided to head to Mugello circuit. Just as we were washing the few thousand unfortunate bugs off the front of the car in a petrol station, two local motocross riders came up to us and told us about Mugello’s street circuit history. It turned out Mugello wasn’t always the private, smooth racetrack we know today. It started off as a pretty hairy street circuit. Without delay, we hopped back in the car ready to head out and have a look for ourselves. Our lap provided thrill and bewilderment in equal measure. We couldn’t even begin to believe what it would have been like to actually race on these roads. Countless blind hairpin bends, narrow sections, and unforgiving crests all combined in a formidable course. It’s one thing hearing old stories about the crazy average speeds that the likes of Stirling Moss achieved over the years, its a whole other thing witnessing first hand the roads on which they completed such feats.

The Aventador made light work of the straights and provided a fair few eye-widening moments barreling into the corners. As we headed down towards the current Mugello Circuit, we stumbled upon what appeared to be the old stage of an epic Hillclimb. There was barely enough room to fit two cars down, yet it wound down into the valley like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The Aventador was a bit too wide to push on this road, yet it was still utterly breathtaking and we cruised down to the typically Italian countryside below, with the road starting to become lined with mile after mile of the iconic cypress trees. Italy at its finest.

We looked at our watches, realising that time was running short and there was only 1 hour left for a 1.5 hour drive back to the factory… Luckily we had the right kind of car to make up time. It was an epic blast back through the hills towards the factory, with the V12 howl staying with us for the whole journey. We hit the Bologna traffic after making up for lost time and relaxed a little. It’s in the normal traffic when you really get to appreciate how wild this thing is. The normal traffic towers above you, and everyone is looking. Everyone. People’s reception towards supercars in Italy was like nothing I’ve ever encountered before, and when you’re in the hills surrounding the factory, everyone has a cool story to tell.

As we rolled through the factory gates once more and found a parking spot, we were forced to come to terms with the fact that we had to return ‘our’ car. Luca prised the keys out of Dad’s hand and we had a chance to reminisce on our weekend to end all weekends. This kind of experience not only deepens your respect for the company but reveals the extensive passion underlying a brand like Lamborghini.

Lamborghini Passione Italia Part II: But first, Coffee

We endeavoured to make the most of the golden time we had in Italy. Bleary-eyed, we woke before the sun and began our journey through the tight backstreets of Bologna. It was here that we realised the true width of the Aventador, breathing in as we edged through gaps that we’d ordinarily breeze through. As the road widened, our worries of a close encounter between the rustic city wall and the paintwork were quelled, and we glided onto the Autostrada in our V12 Spaceship.

Everything about the Aventador is more like a fighter jet than a car. You sit low, and peer out of this letterbox windscreen, with the roaring V12 sitting right behind you. All of this leads to an atmosphere no other car can match, you really can see how Bruce Wayne felt at home driving this thing when he’d hopped out of the Batmobile.

We were heading towards prime testing territory. I’d texted former Lamborghini Test Driver, Max Venturi, and gratefully received his insight into the best routes around. (I’d also spent hours on google maps working out the locations of all the Evo Magazine’s dreamy tests in the area; it's not like I was letting the precious time with this Aventador go to waste…)

After turning off the Autostrada, we wound our way up through the rustic villages as hints of daylight started to appear on the horizon. Gunning for a sunrise shot, we raced up the hillside into the rolling hills as if in a postcard of rural Italy. The Aventador was starting to wake up on these roads too, with its low grumble turning into the V12 scream, which is the soundtrack to every 12 year old’s dreams.

Following a spirited cruise away from civilization, we pulled over at the first photo spot, just as the sun emerged from behind to horizon. Armed with my camera, I left the car to admire the staggering mixture of idyllic vista and space-age design in front of me. With the photo taken, we pushed on as the sun rose higher into the sky, as if it were trying to keep up.

Naturally, we finished the early morning drive with a spot of breakfast, at a cafe run by petrol heads. This is the Italy we’re talking about. The recipe for a good breakfast doesn’t always require the best food. Here, sat at a table watching the Aventador cool off, the pain au chocolat and coffee tasted a million times better than ever before. Plus, the Italians know how to make a coffee- not that we really needed an extra boost after getting out of that thing. In this glorious morning light, we could take a moment to just appreciate the Aventador’s design; it looks like it could break the sound barrier even when standing still.

As the car began to attract swarms of bikers, we finished our coffee and pressed on through the countryside. I could get used to this. The rest of the day played out in a similar fashion, with glorious scenery, an irreplaceable soundtrack and a constant grin on our faces.

Before we knew it the sun was beginning to set. I grabbed the obligatory sunset shots on a perfect road twisting high in the hills, and then we got back to driving. Just as I was about to hop in the passenger side, Dad threw me the keys. “About time you had a go”. My first time driving a left-hand drive car, talk about a baptism of fire. I was hit by a wave of excitement and apprehension, in equal measure.

Who would have a 19-year-old covered on an almost 400 thousand euro car? Only Lamborghini. I slid into the driver’s seat, and we howled off into the sunset. The dream weekend had just become the trip of a lifetime.

Lamborghini Passione Italia Part I: From Italy With Love

Father and son days out have never been too ordinary since dad and I got into cars, and it seemed like this was going to be one of our best trips to date...

It's not every day that you get to visit the home of Lamborghini. This wasn't just any visit, either. As my dad and I pulled through the factory gates, our eyes were fixed on a stunning Blu Aegir Aventador S Roadster, which was taking pride of place right outside the factory doors.

We were greeted and then whisked around the factory on an access all areas tour. You gain a new appreciation for these machines when you've seen the painstaking process that goes into every part of their production.

Then it was down to business. Our hosts Luca and Ludovico then showed us to 'our' car. There must have been some mistake, as they stopped just metres outside the factory door, right next to the Aventador S Roadster that we had been gawking at upon entry. Luca handed my father the keys, and Ludovico lent us an iPad pre-loaded with some suggested routes and then they both waved us on our way. We left the hallowed ground at Sant'Agata grinning from ear to ear and headed towards the hills. Life doesn't get much better than this.