The winners were Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli, followed by Michele Cibaldi and Andrea Costa. Alberto Aliverti and Stefano Valente came in third. Franco Serventi and Daniela Maccini took home the prize for the modern Ferraris.
The 11th edition of the Terre di Canossa was a chance to explore an enchanting route crossing Emilia, Liguria and Tuscany between May 20th and May 23rd 2021.
The crews revelled in the challenge presented by an itinerary covering about 650 km and 63 timed trials, as well as 6 average speed trials complete with secret time checks and 2 special trophies.
The Challenge and the Podium
This year’s rally turned up the heat of the competition among the crews, especially those aiming for the top positions. The drivers were only too happy with the competition proposed by the team, successfully alternating tough trials in all conditions: uphill and downhill, fast, slow and alternating roads, short and long, with hidden pressure switch, scenic roads, and some unique and appealing sections.
The winners of this eleventh edition were announced after several days of heated competition, but still marked by the unwavering sportsmanship of the crews.
Crew number 2 was declared the overall winner of the Terre di Canossa 2021: Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli in a 1927 Lancia Lambda Spider, which also took home the Pre War Cup.
Crew number 15 took second place on the podium in the overall final classification: Michele Cibaldi and Andrea Costa in a 1948 Fiat 1100 Siluro. Third place went to crew number 1, Alberto Aliverti and Stefano Valente in a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato.
The special ranking for the average speed trials was won by crew number 26: Winand Cremers and Nathalie Peeters in a 1955 Austin Healey 100/4 BN2.
Crew number 64 took home the ranking for the modern Ferraris: Franco Serventi and Daniela Maccini in a Ferrari 458 Speciale A. Crew number 58 came second: Cesare Giovanni Battista Carabelli and Chiara Carabelli in a Ferrari 812 GTS, followed by crew number 63: Lucilla Sartori and Monica Meneguzzo in a Ferrari GTC 4 Lusso.
Scuderia Porsche Classic Team Zurich took the top spot in the team rankings.
There was also a heated battle for the two trophies reserved for non-priority drivers, regular participants in the Terre di Canossa: the Trofeo Forte dei Marmi went to crew number 12, Simone Bonomi and Nicola Bossini in a 1939 BMW 328 Roadster, whereas the Trofeo Tricolore went to crew number 8, Andrea Ferrari and Angelica Cesarini in a 1929 Bugatti Type 40.
The Under 30 award went to crew number 10, Giorgio Becchetti and Elena Bossoni in a 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans.
The special wooden spoon award was assigned to crew number 30: Guido Prati and Costanza Prati in a 1959 Mercedes 190 SL.
The Ladies’ Cup went to crew number 32, Giovanna Meruzzi and Emanuela Marcolini, in a 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider 750D Passo Corto.
Despite the troublesome times, lots of crews came from abroad, making for intense competition to win the international cups:
- The international cup for Austria was won by Erwin Marlin and Andree Schnitzler in a 1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster
- The international cup for Belgium was won by crew number 34, Raphaël Claes and Cecile Claes in a 1960 Austin Healey 3000 MKI
- The international cup for France was won by crew number 33, Didier Cazeaux and Dominique Cazeaux in a 1960 Porsche Roadster 356
- The international cup for Germany was won by crew number 29, Josef Reichenberger and Daniela Reichenberger in a 1957 Austin Healey 100-6 BN4
- The International Cup for Great Britain was won by crew number 49, Charles Bond Cowan and Ruth Bond in a 1972 Mercedes 350 SL
- The international cup for the United States was won by crew number 59, Edward Walson and Ramon Serrano in a 2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Piloti
- The International Cup for the Netherlands was won by crew number 23, Cornis Filius and Maria Filius Van Straalen in a 1955 Fiat 1100/103 Berlina MM
- The international cup for Switzerland was won by crew number 4, Stefano Ginesi and Susanna Rohr in a 1959 Porsche 356 A.
Despite this unusual and destabilising year, the Canossa Events team enthusiastically rekindled the engines of passion for the 11th edition of the Terre di Canossa, marked by a mood that was serene with great attention to the safety of the participants, who were greeted with the usual smile, even if it was hidden behind a face mask, and all the health and safety protocols had to be adhered to. The Canossa Events team and all the external staff involved in the event took a Covid test as an additional precautionary measure to guarantee the safety of the participants.
The crews were very appreciative of all this, demonstrated by the fact that many participants were faced with a logistical nightmare to get here from several countries across Europe, as well as from the United States.
This is because the Terre di Canossa is not just a race: it is primarily a winning combination of fantastic cars and gentlemen drivers who come from far afield in order to enjoy this unique opportunity to get a special taste of Italy, combining the adrenalin of the competition with the delights of the best Italian food and wine, and the chance to explore the areas en route.
Once again, the Canossa team found the ideal balance of new ideas and welcome comebacks for 2021, resulting in a race that always feels new, yet bears the mark of its customary style. The crews were delighted to relive some of the most popular ideas from previous editions: setting off from Salsomaggiore Terme, a splendid Art Nouveau town, the gala dinner held in the evocative venue of Tabiano Castle, driving through Lucca’s old town centre and across its ancient city walls, the road through the enchanting Cinque Terre area, and the two trophies reserved for non-professional drivers.
Numerous new ideas were added to surprise regular participants. They included the break below Lerici Castle, lunch at Pinocchio’s home town of Collodi, and driving through the old town centres of Carrara and Massa. The Trofeo Tricolore was also held for the first time this year at Casa Canossa, Canossa Events’ new headquarters, and the race came to a close at Quattro Castella, in the province of Reggio Emilia, the heart of the lands that were the ancient domain of Queen Matilda of Canossa.
As the event came to a close, the crews were given a warm welcome by the Comitato Matildico in medieval dress who made sure the last time check would be truly unforgettable with flag-wavers performing to music.
A challenge dressed in ‘Green’
The organisers confirmed their eco-friendly outlook for the sixth year running, once again deciding to implement a CarbonZero protocol to completely offset the residual emissions of CO2 by planting new trees in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The Terre di Canossa once again proved it is the only “zero emissions” event of its kind.
A ‘technological’ edition
This year, the Terre di Canossa once again used the Racelink platform, the first satellite monitoring solution designed for road races that has been used at top events in this sector for several years. It was updated last year with a smart phone system and specially-designed software package for a top-class performance to assist both the crews and the rally organisers. “Keeping a grip on our technological leadership is essential if we want to continue offering our customers something new”, said Luigi Orlandini, President and CEO of Canossa Events. “This is why a few years ago we started to work on the total redesign of the platform, which is updated continuously and really does pack a superb performance. It has been designed to cater especially for the needs of our many guests from outside Italy, who come here with their fabulous cars to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful country of ours. Safety is another important aspect that has always been a major element for us: Racelink is a way for our Operations Room to monitor the position of the cars driven by competitors and of service vehicles, drastically reducing the time it takes to intervene, and safeguarding the precision of the assistance offered should the need arise. It is also possible to keep in contact with all the competitors at all times during the rally to give them the latest information they need to compete”.
Speaking on behalf of all of those involved in the organisation of the event, CEO Luigi Orlandini would like to thank everyone who played a part in making this event such a huge success: firstly the participants, of course, followed by the towns and cities that welcomed the event, the CSAI Rally Officers, and everyone else involved, whatever part they played, as none of this would have been possible without their support.
Obviously, the success of the event is also the outcome of the enthusiasm of the crews, of our unique team, and of the support of superb partners like Dolomite and Zero Time.
The Event Day by Day
Day 0: The streets of Salsomaggiore burst into life with the arrival of the ‘classic’ cars: a day for greetings and the various checks
20th May 2021: In the setting provided by the gorgeous Art Nouveau town of Salsomaggiore Terme, the 11th edition of the Terre di Canossa got engines roaring.
According to tradition, the Terre di Canossa is an international event: the crews, driven by the desire to fire up their engines, come from all over Europe and even America, even if some were unable to join us because of the severe restrictions designed to curb the spread of Covid-19, who sent messages instead to say they were looking forward to taking part next year and telling the whole team they were thinking of them.
Palazzo dei Congressi was the venue for scrutineering: the participants were pleased to meet up once again and get the rally season off to a start by picking up their race kits and putting their four-wheeled gems on public display while they waited for the start of the competition.
The evening event was held in the splendid setting of Tabiano Castle, built at the turn of the 11th century and considered one of the most important feudal fortresses in Emilia, a chance for the crews to get a feeling for the history of the area at first hand. After climbing to the top of the imposing staircase, the participants were presented with a magnificent sight, awash in a magical atmosphere, spanning past and present. As per tradition, the gala dinner was designed by star chef Massimo Spigaroli.
Day 1: And they’re off! Leg One: from Salsomaggiore Terme to Bocca di Magra
Friday 21st May 2021: the streets of Salsomaggiore’s old town centre burst into life at 8.30 a.m., as the modern Ferraris and the ‘old ladies on four wheels’ drove by.
The cars remained on public display outside the Berzieri Spa building and then lined up, in anticipation of the start of the race.
The Italian flag signalled the start of the race at 9 a.m. sharp. After crossing the starting line, the crews headed off towards the hairpin bends in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, an area full of charm and sharp bends, often taking the same route as the Via Francigena. The excitement grew on the road from Parma to Berceto, Enzo Ferrari’s first race, and then the route continued through lush, green springtime scenery, up towards Passo Cisa, where the crews rose to the challenge of a series of demanding time trials. There was time for a short break at the pass before driving down the other side to the lovely town of Pontremoli with its narrow streets and the time check awaiting them in Piazza della Repubblica.
A few more kilometres behind the wheel and then a well-deserved break in the relaxing setting of the lush, green hills above Massa-Carrara. Then they set off again in the direction of Passo del Rastrello and its tricky hairpin bends and challenging climb in a picture-postcard setting. Then, as if by magic, the landscape opened out onto the Cinque Terre area, as the road perched perilously above a sheer drop into the sea and its countless shades of blue. The route entered La Spezia for the very special and always exciting drive through the Maritime Military Arsenal, a truly unique opportunity for participants to admire Italian excellence. The Arsenal is still an important Italian Navy base and is a centre of excellence in terms of vessel maintenance.
Every year, its highly-skilled experts undertake the painstaking maintenance of historic sailing ships, first and foremost the Vespucci, the famous sailing ship launched in 1931 by the Italian Royal Navy that is still in service as a training ship for cadets. It had a memorable encounter in the Mediterranean with USS Independence in 1962, which flashed its beacon demanding: “Identify yourself” The reply came: “The Amerigo Vespucci training ship, Italian Navy”. The US ship answered: “You are the most beautiful ship in the world”.
After La Spezia, the crews headed towards Lerici where there was time to relax and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in Italy. The cars went on public display in Piazza Garibaldi and on the pier, at the foot of the imposing Castle. And then, they were off again, for the day’s last group of trials on the road up to Monte Marcello and Punta Bianca, before continuing to Ameglia and then Bocca di Magra.
Day 2: The second leg in the heart of Tuscany
Saturday, 22nd May 2021: the classic cars parked up in Piazza Marconi at Forte dei Marmi, ahead of the start of the second leg at 8.30 a.m.
The sun occasionally found its way through the clouds to lit up a magical landscape: the ‘Strada del Marmo’ (Marble Road) took the participants through the narrow tunnels dug into the rock, up to the most spectacular marble quarries in this part of Italy, past white slabs and the Apuan Alps towering into the sky.
They then drove back down to the coast, through Carrara’s old town centre and a passage check in historic Piazza Alberica, surrounded by Renaissance and Baroque palaces, with people lined up to cheer on the cars as they drove past. The Mayor of Carrara, Francesco De Pasquale, greeted the participants on behalf of the city.
The next stop was Massa, where a delegation from the town, including Mayor Francesco Persiani, Deputy Mayor Andrea Cella, and Councillor for Culture Nadia Marnica welcomed the crews in Piazza Aranci, overlooked by the majestic Palazzo Ducale, presenting them with a gift of a bottle of local wine and a poster to commemorate their passage. They crews took to the road again amidst bright green scenery. After the “Grotta Nera” (Black Cave) average speed trial, the participants competed in a challenging series of timed trials below the white Apuan Alps, heading towards Isola Santa where the road runs alongside the beautiful turquoise lake. There were many professional photographers along the route as well as motoring enthusiasts wanting to see the cars and take photos to remember the day. The heart of Tuscany has always been linked to motoring, rallies and classic cars. In fact, it is not unusual for members of the public to join the procession of cars in their own classic car or youngtimer, and enjoy this moment to the full by accompanying the crews for a while.
The cars reached Castelnuovo Garfagnana’s lively old town centre, along the lush green roads in the area, with views of streams and waterfalls, and across part of the Apuan Alps Regional Park.
The last part of the route before lunch was the steep, narrow road leading up to Collodi, Pinocchio’s hometown and the birthplace of the creator of the world’s most famous puppet. The crews had time to relax in the splendid setting of Villa Garzoni, said to have a hundred windows, after receiving a warm welcome from Pierfrancesco Bernacchi, president of Carlo Collodi National Foundation. The villa stands in the historic Garzoni Gardens, famous for the wonderful Italian gardens, lovely flower beds and water features, and known for its maze and butterfly house.
They set off again at 2.15 pm, taking the scenic road through Segromigno in Monte, driving past olive trees and poplars that are such a typical feature of the Tuscan countryside. They then reached Lucca, a splendid city that has always reserved a warm welcome for the Terre di Canossa and whose streets in the old town provide a magnificent backdrop for the cars. After a brief stop in Piazza Napoleone, they were off for the traditional, emotional drive on Lucca’s Ancient City Walls thanks to the special license granted to the participants of the Terre di Canossa.
The next stop was Monte Serra and Lake Massaciuccoli and the wonderful scenery enjoyed by drivers and sailors alike. The day came to a close at Forte dei Marmi, with the Trofeo Forte dei Marmi reserved for non-professional drivers held in Piazza Marconi.
Luca Spagni, Councillor for Sport and Industry for Quattro Castella, welcomed the crews with these words: “We are very happy and proud to host this important event. An event combining some of the spheres of excellence of our territory, including motoring and the Matilda brand, in the name of the love of classic cars, which is a fine match for our services targeting tourism of quality. We are honoured that Canossa Events moved its headquarters to Roncolo a few months ago, and we have already had occasion to appreciate the professionalism and competence that is a marks of the events they organise. I believe that Sunday’s event is also a sign of recovery and of getting back on our feet again after the recent ‘dark’ times. Naturally, I invite the public to come watch the cars pass by, respecting the safety regulations we have become used to, in particular social distancing and wearing a face mask”.
Day 3: The third leg from Forte dei Marmi to Quattro Castella, the heart of the Lands of Queen Matilda
The last leg was ready to leave at 8.45 a.m, setting out from Piazza Dante, opposite Forte dei Marmi’s Town Hall. The crews bade the Versilia coast farewell and headed back to Emilia, first passing through the centres of Sarzana and Fivizzano for a passage check.
After crossing Passo Cerreto and negotiating its challenging curves and trials, the next stop was Casa Canossa, the new home of Canossa Events, and the Trofeo Tricolore. The drive continued to Quattro Castella, the heart of the domains once governed by Matilda of Canossa, where the crews were welcomed by actors, musicians and flag-wavers in medieval dress, all paying homage to the Great Countess in Piazza Dante Alighieri.
The final stop was wonderful Fondazione Magnani Rocca, the Villa dei Capolavori at Mamiano and Luigi Magnani’s prestigious collection of contemporary artworks. The crews could finally relax and discuss the last trials, as they waited for the awards ceremony and the 2021 winners to be announced.
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Photos by Courtesy of Canossa Events