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Art & Culture

Museums of the great Italian brands to visit between one city of art and an other

Italy is the home of art and culture, but also of the good life and industrial innovation.

31 October 2022

4 minutes

The list of successful ‘made in Italy’ companies is long.

Here are some options for an unusual weekend, visiting industrial museums with guided tours, just a stone's throw from the main Italian cities. Journey into the creativity and passion of successful entrepreneurs, to discover the economic history of the country.

1. A walk in the land of motors

great italian companies to visit the land of motors

With beautiful arcades and squares, Bologna has a lot to offer visitors, but after a trip to the city, lovers of engines and speed shouldn’t miss out on a jaunt around the surrounding areas. Within a radius of about thirty kilometers, between the provinces of Bologna and Modena, are the museums of two of the most luxurious car brands in the world and the temple that holds the history of Italian motorcycling: referring of course to Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati. All three legendary icons ‘Made in Italy’.

The tour of the Motor Valley, the land of motors, allows you the day to visit the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, giving you a 360-degree immersion into the wonderful history of the Prancing Horse and its founder, Enzo Ferrari. You will see the legendary Formula 1 single-seaters, road cars and the most original models of the Gran Turismo and Sport Prototypes up close.

Then, straight to Sant’Agata Bolognese, to the Lamborghini-Mudetec Museum, where you can admire the most famous cars of the Emilian entrepreneur, from the 1950’s /70’s Miura and Countach to the most recent models, such as the super sports cars Asterion and Aventador.

Don't miss your chance to virtually test a real Lamborghini, a high adrenaline experience from the safety of a driving simulator.

Last but not least you can check out the Ducati Museum in Bologna. Seven multimedia rooms, facing over 40 racing bikes for a first dive into the history of this company. Upon reservation, the Borgo Panigale factory can also be visited: assembly lines, testing and the legendary racing department under your eyes is truly a rewarding and unparalleled experience.

2. The drinks capital: what to do in a city that’s always on the move

great italian companies to visit the capital of the aperitif

Taking a break from the hectic pace of work is a pleasure: particularly in Milan, home of the aperitif, where you can delight in two strongly "aromatic" areas.

In Milan, the first tour is at the Galleria Campari, an interactive and multimedia museum, located inside the Liberty building in Sesto San Giovanni, the first original Campari factory, built in 1904 by Davide Campari.

You will see a digitized corporate heritage, and a multifaceted cultural field that exceeds 3,500 works including those on paper, original posters from the Belle Époque, advertising posters from the early twentieth century to the 90s, commercials by well-known directors and objects by established designers.

Alternatively you could take a trip to the Branca museum, an expression of over 170 years of history, from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. This large factory is still in operation, it is the only factory that has been operating for more than a century within the busy Milanese ring road. You will discover the recipe for the famous herbal liqueur with ingredients from four continents. Upon reservation, you can also visit the cellars full of oak barrels, including the great Botte Madre, with an impressive capacity of over 80 thousand liters.

3. The house of chocolate, a joy for everyone (greedy or not)

great italian companies to visit the chocolate house

15 minutes from the historic center of Perugia you will experience the most delicious factory tour ever: a visit to the Perugina Historical Museum. The magical journey begins with recounting their success story: an introductory video, with images and descriptions of the processing of chocolate before visiting the museum gallery full of materials taken from the Buitoni Perugina Historical Archive.

Among the timeless films of advertising carousels, wrapping and packaging, you will reach the section dedicated to the world of cocoa, in which ancient and modern production techniques will be illustrated. Take note of the infamous story of how Bacio chocolate came about, an inspired idea from the brilliant Luisa Spagnoli.

Then in the Perugina Factory, from on an elevated walkway you can view the production of chocolate from above.

Finally, the most awaited moment: tasting, pure delight.

4. In the land of the witches, get carried away by the olfactory senses

great italian companies to visit strega

In Benevento, near the station, since the unification of Italy, the Alberti family factory has been located here. After more than 150 years, the famous Benevento liqueur, the Strega liqueur, continues to be produced: you can discover it at the Strega Museum, a place that will capture your sense of smell first followed by sight. The scent of spices and officinal herbs at the base of the liqueur intoxicates everything. The 76 of those that make up the liqueur in a secret ratio that remains guarded and closed in the chest of drawers exhibited at the museum.

The visit continues along the currently operating distillery, to end in the cellar, where the Strega liqueur is aged for six months in oak barrels.

There are many historic Italian companies that share their stories in museums. Choose which entrepreneurial success you’d like to learn more about and let yourself be inspired by these companies that have made their brands the icons of an entire country.