Bella Museo

Stan Bates visited northern Italy to check out the Moto Guzzi museum.

The Lombardy region of Northern Italy is no stranger to either tourists or motorcycles, given its proximity to Milan and the stunning vistas over Lake Como, but there’s more than magnificent views and impeccably twisting tarmac to tease the interest of avid two-wheelers.

Resting on the eastern coast of Lake Como, Mandello del Lario is the home of the Moto Guzzi factory, and where it’s been since the firm started in 1921.

Before the V-twins, Moto Guzzi were all about the horizontal single, popular for road use as well as racing.

Externally, the buildings remain exactly as they were after the factory was extended vertically in the 1950s, and many features remain from when Giorgio Parodi and Carlos Guzzi first began production with their 500cc ‘Normale’ in 1922.

The entrance to the firm’s museum is actually through the famed ‘red gate’ with its iconic eagle logo.

While there are plenty of institutions that have exhibits that outnumber the 80 vehicles in the Moto Guzzi museum, this is a definitive and focused collection of bikes built in Mandello del Lario, with no dilution of the marque – which is, of course, as you’d expect and hope.

World champions in 1955, this was the 350 that gained the title.

The displays don’t just show the bikes, as there are plenty of other exhibition pieces including cutaway engines and transmissions, experimental scooters, a powerplant from a drone aircraft, a bizarre three-wheeled military truck, and the 49cc ‘Furghino’ built in the 1970s that was the factory’s answer to a question that nobody asked – can we have a Guzzi rickshaw?

Read more and view more images in the September 2018 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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