In Gradisca d’Isonzo at 20 kph

This year marks the 57th anniversary of Trieste’s “Club dei Venti all’Ora” (“20 kph club”), founded in March 1961 by a group of enthusiasts and lovers of classic cars and motorcycles with the desire to preserve and give testimony, through these “old jewels on four and two wheels”, of an era and a culture that has written an important page in the history, economy and development of Italy.

The members of the Trieste-based club own a fleet with countless types of cars: from a Fiat 500 to a Topolino, a Balilla, many Porsche models, but also more modern cars like Abarth, Autobianchi, Alfa Romeo (Giulia and Giulietta) and a whole series of British sports cars: Austin, Triumph and Jaguar. Year after year, the club has used its passion for vehicles of historical interest to forge bonds of friendship with collectors of neighbouring regions and countries with the aim of knowing and getting to know. This is how the “La Città dell’Imperatore” event was born, which has been the club’s flagship during these 57 years of activity that have brought club members to visit the cities of Ljubljana, Varazdin, Budapest, Vienna, Maribor, Szombathely, Bratislava, Brno, Prague, Linz, Gmund, Salzburg, Graz and Oto?ec (Slovenia) with official contacts that have been maintained with the local municipalities and host clubs.

To celebrate the “Birthday Party” and pay the right tribute to this important goal, the Triestine club has prepared an interesting calendar for 2018 that combines sport, culture, tourism: it is well documented and visible on the website: www.clubdeiventiallora.org.

Among the splendid initiatives in the programme there was the visit to the town of Gradisca d’Isonzo, listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Towns of Italy” which we attended, and to document the club’s activity we climbed aboard the legendary 500 F belonging to the vice-president. Setting off in “procession” from Trieste (Opicina), in the direction of Monfalcone and Redipuglia, we arrived in Gradisca in Piazza Unità d’Italia where we were greeted by a regional tourist guide who accompanied us on a detailed excursus through the history of Gradisca.

We started the visit in the nineteenth-century Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, of elliptical form and with the Lion of San Marco testifying to the Venetian origins of the beautiful town on the banks of the Isonzo, and then walked to the fortified castle of 1473 and the traces of what remains of the city walls, and so on to Palazzo Torriani, of 1705, one of the most beautiful buildings in Gradisca. This now houses not only the Town Hall, but also the library and the Spazzapan Art Gallery, part of our region’s cultural heritage. The gallery houses the most important collection of works by Luigi Spazzapan (Gradisca d’Isonzo 1889 – Turin 1958), the “sophisticated and diabolical” painter who was a leading exponent of Italian avant-garde painting of the twentieth century. And there was a farewell toast cheerfully enjoyed at the Enoteca Serenissima, a wine centre of international interest.

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