|Trieste Opicina Historic Virtuale - 11 to 14 May 2020
Recollections of a magnificent tour of north east Italy - Jim Paterson
Lineup at Trieste Following
in the tyre tracks of the CCHMSC Carrera Lockdown virtual tour of
Scotland back in April, Achille Tresoldi, who took part in the Carrera
lockdown, developed the idea with his Club dei Venti all'Ora, this time
set in north east Italy.
CCHMSC members, along with seven other crews from across the UK,
including Club Triumph, TR Register, Frazer Nash and ERA clubs, joined
the entry list of over 100 cars from Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and
Belgium. We all gathered on May 11th in the coastal city of
Trieste for the start of the tour, outside the Railway museum. Many had
arrived in their 'virtual' cars, a favourite car that perhaps will
always be a dream to own, whilst others used their own cars on the
used my favourite 'virtual' car the 1936 Bugatti Atlantic SC57, as used
on the Carrera Lockdown tour. I have always admired this car, designed
by Jean Bugatti, son of Enrico. Such a gorgeous shape, the 'Aerolithe',
with an exo-skeleton riveted spine, and in Bugatti blue of course. With
only three in existence and valued at $30million USD, you won't see me
anytime soon rolling up in one to start a real event.
Day 1 - 11 May
With our 10 questions at the ready we were about to leave, but the first question related to the museum as a start point of? The Trieste Opicina race, often known as the 'Uphill Monza'.
answers noted off we went climbing up to the plateau at Opicina turning
east. If you were lucky you saw the old relic, shipwreck on the
roundabout at the science park. I didn't! First mistake, but
plenty more to find. The route headed north west and back to the coast
through the town of Prosecco, famous for the sparkling white wine
produced here, with great views across the Gulf of Trieste. We passed
the haunted Castle Duino, though I didn't see the ghost of the 'white
lady' wave as we passed!.
into the hills as we pressed north and inland, through the Natural
Reserve of Doberdò Lakes. What goes up has to come down and a
steep descent with twisting hairpins led us to the river Soca and a
visit to another auto museum with a very interesting facade. Click on the link to read all about it
visiting Gorizia we again climbed over mountain pass hairpins, with me
thinking we would slip over the border into Slovenia. We hugged the
border as wee drove west toward our final overnight destination at
Castello di Spessa, the 13th century historical home in the heart of
the Collio Goriziano in Friuli Venezia Giulia, where Cassanova spent
some time in 1773.
Day 2 - 12 May
second day was going to be a big one. At 170km plus climbing
hairpin passes it would stress my Bugatti's 8 cylinder engine to the
limit. Although the car can reach a top speed of 123mph, I didn't think
there would be too many opportunities to test it.
Casanova behind our route headed toward Udine, a place we passed on our
Dolomiti Sfida continental tour of 2017, when we travelled from Venice
to Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, via Udine. Our routes would have crossed
at Cividale del Friuli where we found the famous Ponte Del Diavolo and
the legend behind the bridge, which was one of our challenge questions.
north at Udine we followed the River Tagliamento valley. Arriving at
Venzone we were challenged with a question about a Commissario
Montalbano episode filmed here. As a fan of the series I thought he
worked exclusively in Sicily. How farther away could you get from
there? Took me a while searching the episodes to find it, and to be
honest the clips I found, still looked like Sicily! We were passing
through the area hit by the massive 1976 Friuli earthquake, which was
felt in Venice, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia. Is that my Bugatti
gearbox rumbling, or the ground beneath me?
the Fuime Fella at Carnia, we took in magnificent views of the
mountains and bridges. At Tolmezzo we turned north, following another
river valley toward the Austrian border. At Sutrio we turned west,
climbing a 'Stelvio' type hairpin climb made famous as part of the Giro
d'Italia, up to Monte Zoncolan. Chris Froome won this stage in 2018.
More hairpins as we descended to the Torrente Degano river at Ovaro,
which we followed north as far as Luincis. Here we turned due west
through the river valley, stopping at Pesariis, famous for clocks, everywhere clocks!
toward Veneto and over the last few hairpin climbs to our final
overnight stop at Sauris. This hamlet is famous not only for its
Prosciutto ham, but welcomed the Peking Paris Rally cars in 2016, when about a hundred cars stopped to refuel.
Day 3 - 13 May
after yesterday's marathon drive we set off to the south, for a 150km
drive, passing the huge Diga di Sauris o Maina o Lumiei dam at 136
metres high. Tunnels through mountains, and under the lake, broke out
on to passes providing superb views as we found yet more hairpin
sections. We were travelling in the tyre tracks of the once European
Championship Rally di Piancavallo-Passo Rest. It was tough going in my
Bugatti too. We visited other sporting champions when we arrived at
Sequals. Birthplace of Primo Carnera, who became heavyweight champion
1933/34. At 6'6” and almost 20 stones with size 15 shoes he was
certainly lived up to his nickname the 'ambling alp'
again we crossed the River Tagliamento, skirting to the west of Udine
to reach our overnight at villa Manin near Rivolto. Napoleon signed the
Treaty of Campoformido with Austria here, and the nearby military
airbase being home to the Italian Aerobatic team Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale/313.
Day 4 - 14 May
home stretch now as we make our way back to Trieste. First challenge
was a visit to Palmanova, a star fort of the late Renaissance,
built up by the Venetian Republic in 1593. Which gates, or Porta's did
we pass through on arrival, and on departure? The arches were written
in Latin so a bit of head scratching to work that one out! As we
approached the coast we felt like we were skimming the water when we
crossed the huge Grado Lagoon on the causeway which goes on for miles.
The islands on each side formed some more of the challenge questions
before reaching Grado, now a peninsula on the southern edge of the
We were now keeping to the coast line for the final
run to Trieste. The penultimate challenge was a gift for the
Triumph club crews, 'A famous “Mulo de Trieste” (Guy
from Trieste) was awarded in the Town Hall, on the occasion of the
historic re-enactment of the Trieste-Opicina in 2017. Who was he?
Andrea De Adamich. What were his first racecar and racing team? Triumph
TR3, Scuderia Trivellato. I can see that one entering CT's next pub
No visit would be complete without mention of Italy's most
famous racer, Tazio Nuvolari, and the last challenge was 'In what year
and with what car did the “Mantovano Volante” win the
Trieste Opicina? Of course it was in 1930 when Tazio Nuvolari drove an
Alfa Romeo P2
well deserved glass of Italian wine celebrated our arrival back in
Trieste. We had covered much of north east Italy, visiting many of the
famous towns, cities and hamlets. discovering legends, history, motor
sporting activities and places, and experiencing a wide range of
countryside, from the plains to the mountains. For those of us here in
the UK we have a cornucopia of places to visit next time we pass though
this part of Italy.
Molto Grazie to Achille Tresoldi and the
team at Club dei Venti all'Ora for putting this great 'Tour Virtuale'
Updated 23 May 2020