A rich agricultural plain, “The land of motors” (Terra dei motori in Italian), a small territory extending over approximately 1,000 square km mainly between Bologna and Modena, saw the horse rush over its fields of barley and wheat. prancing Ferrari and the bull Lamborghini.

The manufacturers Maserati and Ducati were also born there, as well as other lesser known and much more elitist ones, the car manufacturers Pagani and Dallara – official supplier of cars to the American Indycar championship – or even the Energica group whose electric motorcycles run a parallel GP championship.

Every year – except for the pandemic -, for a weekend, all these brands exhibit their creations in the squares of Modena to the delight of the many fans who take selfies next to a two- or four-wheeled racing car. .

In the pantheon of supercars, the Pagani is distinguished in particular by its price: 2.6 million euros excluding options…

Founded in 1998 in San Cesario sul Panaro, near Modena, by Argentinian Horacio Pagani, who previously worked for Lamborghini, the brand targets an extremely restricted niche clientele. The establishment is located on the outskirts of the small town of a few thousand inhabitants, near agricultural fields and includes a museum and the production workshop.

“It takes us between eight and nine months to build a car and we produce a total of about forty a year,” said Christopher Pagani, son of the founder and head of communications for the brand.

The space where these cars are produced is not called “factory” but “workshop”. A few dozen technicians and engineers, mainly young people, work who produce a steering wheel, who clean the molds used to model the bodywork, in a cozy atmosphere of a pharmacy where everything is in order and immaculate.

Forty types of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, everything is thought out to make a Pagani as light as possible “but the reflection is engaged with the customers” on a possible future electric Pagani, heavier because of the batteries, emphasizes Christopher Pagani.

– Lamborghini versus Ferrari –

In this country of breeding and plowing, the post-war period saw the arrival of mechanization, tractors and agricultural machinery. Ferruccio Lamborghini owned a tractor factory and…several Ferraris.

Legend has it that one day, the industrialist said to Enzo, boss of the brand with the prancing horse: “Enzo, I have problems with your cars”, to which the latter replied: “You only have make them yourself if you don’t like mine”.

This exchange, which no one knows today if it is authentic, gave birth in 1963 to the Lamborghini car factory, 15 years after that of tractors. Ferrari is no longer alone: ​​Emilia-Romagna is gradually building its reputation as a center of mechanical excellence.

“It is a success that comes from afar, it is the fruit of several generations”, explains to AFP Andrea Corsini, “Minister” of Emilia-Romagna for transport, infrastructure and tourism, who came to Modena.

According to the Riparte l’Italia Economic Observatory, the “Motor Valley” includes more than 16,000 companies, four circuits, six advanced training centers, and employs more than 90,000 people.

“In terms of work opportunities, contacts with companies, here it’s the best,” assures AFP Emilio, 24, a student in car engineering, who came from the south of the country to continue his specialization in Modena.

The sector records a turnover of 16 billion euros per year, including 7 billion from exports, and displays an insolent health: in 2021, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley or Porsche, among others, have all recorded record results.

The legendary Bugatti also had its heyday in the region, producing the famous B110 GT model in the early 1990s, sold at the time for the modest sum of 500 million lire (about 260,000 euros).