Busy day yesterday. Our first stop was the International Ceramic Museum in Faenza. Verdict – generally pretty good and a must if you enjoy European ceramic art. They have an extensive historical and modern collection including, as a name people will know, a plate presented to the museum by Picasso. We did not hang around the town but it looked nice.
From there we went to Imola, specifically the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari where the San Marino Formula 1 Grand Prix races were held between 1981 and 2006. Imola is no longer on the F1 calendar. I attended a lot of Grand Prix races back in the days when Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna were battling and through to the early years of Michael Schumacher’s domination. I think Schumacher’s win in a Benetton at Hockenheim in 1995 was the last race I attended and so the tragic events at Imola the previous year were as memorable and shocking for me as the death of Princess Diana or I suppose for another generation, Elvis.
The 1994 San Marino Grand Prix held at Imola was the worst weekend of F1 since the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix. It saw two deaths, Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying and Ayrton Senna on lap seven as well as injuries to Rubens Barrichello and numerous spectators and officials. Both Ratzenberger and Senna left the track at over 300km/hr, hit concrete walls and died of head injuries. There has been plenty of speculation about the cause of Senna’s death but no widely accepted conclusion has been drawn.
Schumacher proved himself to be the better driver but I prefer charismatic and naturally talented sportsmen (sports people) to mechanical ones so I preferred Senna to Schumacher in the same way I preferred McEnroe to Connors.
If you do visit Imola there’s a pretty good American Diner there. Our timing was wrong for lunch but we did get chips and donuts!
From Imola we went to Brisighella a cute town where we intended to check out the donkey street, a walkway at first floor level (the arched holes in the photo) that was used for donkey traffic as well as for defending the town.
This plan was cut short by hearing that my car was fixed and ready for collection so rather than be stuck with a Fiat 500L for the weekend we left immediately and raced down to Rimini.
After a paddle in the Adriatic and a beachside cruise we headed up the coast to Cervia to seek out one of our fave restaurants from last year. After a long day the food and drink was very welcome.