If you want to experience the power and precision of Italian sports car on a Formula 1 track, there’s the Autodromo di Modena. Here you strap into a race-modified Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini and speed around the 11-turn track at 130mph. This might not sound alarmingly fast, but when done over 11 tight turns and two fairly short straightaways it feels like live racing. Three laps in, I could already feel the g-forces taxing my neck. When the flood of adrenaline from flooring a Ferrari down a straightaway and apexing through turns at over 80mph wore off, I had a whole new appreciation for racecar drivers.
If you want to see these cars race, come for the annual Modena Cento Ore classic in June. It’s a four-day road race where collectors drive the likes of classic Porsches and vintage Aston Martins through Italy, ending in Modena’s Piazza Grande. By nightfall the piazza is a big, exhaust-filed car museum, and the juxtaposition of automotive beauty with the centuries-old architecture will be the new connotation I have when people say “Italy.”