La Dolce Vita: Italy’s 20 Greatest (plus five duds)



The great Carlo Abarth with a collection of his creations

There are of course, endless connotations of what constitutes the superlative in a car. For example, it’s obvious that if you’ve got to tip-toe over a country mile to get to your local Tescos, up hill and down dale dodging lackadaisical pheasants and strange me in tweed, then your idea of The Best isn’t going to be represented by a Scuderia.

If, however, your aim at any given time is to rise up at 4AM on a Sunday morning and move as dynamically and irresponsibly as possible on a public highway, to the soft rising of the late summer sun and the symphony of five hundred wailing cavali, then the Discovery is not going to cut it.

But there’s the rub. When talking about vehicles imagined, designed, built, driven, raced and consumed in Italy, we’re talking about a special kind of vehicle. Italians don’t really do practical. Italians make the kind of vehicle that means more than the workaday, that provides function much closer to racing form as a matter of course than anywhere else in the world.

Lovers of Italian vehicles (and for that matter, Italian design, Italian cooking, Italian art, literature and film – are the sort of people that crave experience and leave practicality and sensible-ness to the Belgians.

Baring this in mind, we have chosen our favourite 20 Italian cars – and we have chosen the top twenty that fits most into the category of Passion, flair and quickness. And also, there’s a handful of cars, which, for us, don’t live up to the billing . As Enzo Ferrari said “the most beautiful car is the one that wins…”