We took a day trip from Florence to the Ducati Museum in Borgo Panigale, a suburb of Bologna. It only took 30 minutes on the Frecciarossa, Italy’s high speed train and then 20 minutes by taxi from the train station.
Italy never ceases to amaze me. I couldn’t stop laughing at this sign! It strikes me as cute/funny first of all because it’s randomly in English, and secondly because I’ve done a lot of train travel in Italy years ago and I’ve never seen or heard of kiss & ride before…whatever that means!
Making a reservation for the Ducati Factory was challenging. We filled out the online form in early August and didn’t hear back for over a month. Apparently, the office is closed during the month of August for Ferragosto, which is when almost all of Italy goes on vacation for some or most of August for il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).
The Ducati factory was a side trip from Florence for my dad and brother who are motorcycle aficionados (although they are KTM owners…but maybe now Ducati converts!). I was impartial about visiting, but seeing my dad so excited about it made me willing.
Before our scheduled tour we ate at a nearby pizzeria called La Stella that my dad found on Trip Advisor and had decent reviews. This is one of the few, if only pizza that actually came pre-sliced! I don’t mind cutting my own pizza, but that’s one of the (many) things about Italy that shocked my dad.
If you want to visit the Ducati Factory make a reservation online for a guided tour (by reservation only) Monday through Friday at 9:15, 11:00, 1:45, or 3:30. Tours cost 10 Euros per person and last around 2 hours.
The factory tour is top secret and no photos are allowed. It’s pretty cool because we got to see the bikes being made, all the way from the engine to the performance testing of a newly completed bike. There were quite a few women putting together engines; supposedly they have better attention to detail and more nimble fingers for small parts (face it men, you need us women…even to ride your motorcycles!).
- Ducati’s first product was not a motorcycle. The company originally produced radios and other mechanical products like electrical razors.
- The first Ducati ever made was a motorized bicycle called the cucciolo, which means puppy. It was named after the engine’s sound, which apparently sounded like a yapping puppy. It was originally produced in Torino in 1944, and production was moved a few months later to Borgo Panigale.
This is all that’s left of the original factory building that was bombed during WWII.
The employee parking lot is appropriately filled with Ducatis.
Even though it said, “don’t touch,” my dad couldn’t resist!
The modern Ducati has come a long way from the cucciolo. Some people say it is art in motorcycle form. It is Italian craftsmanship at its finest; still completely handmade with care. If only they still made the cucciolo. That would be my type of motorcycle!1
La Dolce Vita through from California to Italy. I’m Kelly, an American girl with Italian taste in food & wine. I blog about learning Italian, food & wine pairings, how to find authentic Italian ingredients in the US, and seasonal recipes from scratch.