Friday, January 27, 2012

Lodi’s Red Son

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I live in a lovely little medieval city called Lodi. I picked this place because of its proximity to Maranello and also because it is near a major centre, allowing me easy access to the rest of the country. (I like to explore!) The Laudense (the name given to the inhabitants of Lodi) are a friendly and quirky bunch of people who put on fabulous celebrations, both planned and spontaneous. My favourite of these celebrations has come to be what I have nicknamed the Sunday morning parade. In the summer months especially, I will be quite frequently awoken on a Sunday morning by the sound of drums and music beneath my balcony as one of these spontaneous parades passes by. The locals quickly move out of the way and clap in time to the music as they enjoy the spectacle. Lodi is definitely one of those cities where everyone knows one another and at any point during the day you can hear the greeting “ciao!” floating on the wind. They are not used to tourists and thus there is a distinctly Italian atmosphere here that is not limited to the buildings and cobblestoned roads.

Lodi is known for its beautiful square, medieval castle and for producing champion roller hockey players. There are so many reasons that I love this charming city and this summer I discovered yet another one. When my boyfriend came to Lodi for the Italian Grand Prix, we stayed in a local hotel close to the train station. One morning we were walking around the hotel when we passed a room that was named the Eugenio Castellotti room. Luca became instantly excited because he had finished reading a book about the former Ferrari driver several months prior to his visit. Upon entering the room we discovered that although Castellotti has been described as the dashing Milanese (he was from an aristocratic family and considered to be attractive), the Italian was actually from Lodi. Personally I had little knowledge of the man, but as we looked at the photos inside the room, Luca filled me in. Not only was Castellotti an Italian Ferrari driver during the 1950s, but he was widely acknowledged as being extremely talented. Statistically he completed 14 Grand Prix before his death during a private Ferrari test on March 14, 1957. In his short racing career, the talented young man from Lodi managed to win the legendary Mille Miglia race in Brescia and obtained three podium finishes for the Scuderia Ferrari.

Wandering around the room, one photo stood out to me especially. It was a picture of Eugenio Castellotti standing with Enzo Ferrari in none other than Lodi’s famous square, Piazza della Vittoria. Now every time I walk through the centre of town, I can’t help but think of Eugenio and what he might have achieved had he not died in Modena at age twenty six.

The city is proud of its famous red son and there is a simple monument that has been erected in his honour along the road that leads to the train station. There is also a group of local racing enthusiasts who have formed a club in his name. Their website is in Italian, but if you can make it out (I barely can!), it’s an interesting read.

No comments:

Post a Comment