At the end of my week in the MotorValley of Italy, I must say that I acquired a new taste for fancy cars on top of my love for Italian food. Lucky for me, I got to combine both at the Hombre Farm in Modena.
Here, you can find the incredible Panini collection, consisting of many gorgeous Maserati’s and other unique cars. And in addition to that, you can tour the farm to see where their organic Parmigian Reggiano cheese is being made. And taste it, of course!
Let’s have a look at the collection and show you what you can expect here:
PANINI COLLECTION ITALY: CARS & CHEESE!
The Panini Family
I must confess that I knew the Panini family mostly from the Panini sticker albums (these little packages of stickers around a certain topic, all numbered, that you had to collect into an album as a kid?) Those Panini stickers were super popular in The Netherlands, and I believe it still is. I know I still have a My Little Pony Panini sticker collection, and my brother a few Football-themed ones!
But did you know that they are also known because of the Panini car collection?
On our visit to the collection, we first made a stop at the next-door Hombre Farm, which belongs to the descendants of the Panini family and here we got a peek behind-the-scenes of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano.
While cheese-making here started purely as a hobby (he didn’t really need to work after selling the Panini sticker company for many millions in the ’80s), it soon turned out into a lucrative side hustle that continues until today, aiming to make the best cheese in the world.
Visiting Hombre Farm
After a short tour of the stables where more than 500 cows were happily eating their specialty food (everything is 100% organic here, so there are strict rules), we went to the attic of the milking (twice a day) and cheese making building where we saw some workers clean the massive tanks where the cheese is being produced.
We were patiently listening to our guide explain what it takes to make a 24-months old wheel of cheese… until the moment we saw them roll in a tray with piles stacked on top of them. *poof! attention gone!*
Our guide understood we wanted to get closer to the magic that is being produced here, so she took us to the space where the cheese gets to mature.
I don’t think that words can explain how happy we all felt to be surrounded by over 4000(!) wheels of cheese, all lined up in rows and rows, but I can’t deny that I licked my lips in anticipation of the tasting, to be honest.
Did you know that Parmigiano Reggiano is to cheese what Champagne is to sparkling wine, namely that they are only allowed to call it that when produced in specific regions? Only the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Mandua, and Modena (where we are now) are allowed to call their cheese this.
The Panini Cars Collection
After the cheese, it was time for the second highlight of the morning: seeing the impressive Maserati car collection that Umberto Panini started in the hangar on his farm.
Maserati doesn’t really have their own museum (they have a showroom with some information about their history, that we visited as well, but it was quite small), so lucky for them, Umberto saw the need to create a collection that shows the complete history of the car brand and preserves them for future generations.
This collection, we soon learn, is the largest and most exclusive Maserati collection IN THE WORLD! Here you can find almost all old series models and in addition you can find a number of rare prototypes and historic racing cars including the Maserati 250F, Maserati 420M Eldorado and the famous Maserati Tipo63, better known as the ‘ Maserati Birdcage’ .
It seems that the cars used to belong to a collection owned by the factory, then transferred to Maserati owner Alejandro de Tomaso. In 1997, he wanted to sell the collection to Fiat (who bought Maserati in 1993) for a lot of money, but strangely enough they were not really interested.
Lovers of the car brand feared the collection would be split up and sold across the world, so Maserati enthusiast Umberto Panini stepped up and made a deal to buy all the cars in one go. He didn’t even have a proper space for all the cars! That’s why they ended up in the barn of his farm, where you can find them now.
The entire collection contains 23 Maserati cars, but you can also find some models on the first floor of the building. I was expecting them to be just there for display purposes only, but while we were there, two of the cars got driven outside and we learned that many cars often leave the property, for example to participate in national and international events, where they have won many prizes.
Apart from the Maserati cars, you will also find motorbikes, scooters and mopeds on the upper floor and outside you’ll see a couple of old tractors, that we just had to climb on.
The combination of cheese and cars has proven to be a winning combination and I had a great time spending the morning at the Hombre farm, If you are a die-hard car fan, then you can spend many hours here, for sure. Visiting the museum shows the splendor of the Maserati brand and you really make a journey through time!
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO THE PANINI COLLECTION
Museo Panini Modena
Address: Str. Corletto Sud, 320, 41100 Modena MO, Italy
How to get there: The Museum is located just outside of Modena. You cannot get here with public transport, so drive here or get a guided tour / taxi from Modena.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 09:00 – 12:30 and 14:30 to 18:00, Saturday from 09:00 to 12:30 and Closed on Sunday. (March to October)
Costs: You can visit the museum for free, just make an appointment on their website. If you are a group, then you need to organise a tour
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ITALY!
Here is more information to help you plan your trip:
Time Zone in Italy? Italy is on Central European Summer Time, GMT+2
Currency in Italy? Euro (EUR). Check the latest exchange rate here.
Electrical Plugs in Italy? In Italy the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The power plugs and sockets are either of type F (two round pins, thick or thin) and L (three round pins). The thick F-type pins won’t fit in the L-type pin, so always make sure to bring an adaptor that fits the 3-pin sockets as well!
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Languages Spoken in Italy? Italian, but English is widely spoken, especially in the more tourist areas, such around Bologna and Modena.
Best time to visit Italy?The best time to visit Italy is either in the spring (April-June) or fall (September and October). In these months, the weather is fair and moderate and there will be fewer tourists around.
How to get to Italy? Check skyscanner.com for the best flights to Bologna >>
MAP OF HOMBRE FARM & PANINI COLLECTION
MORE CAR EXPERIENCES IN ITALY
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Also make sure to visit the following car museums in Italy:
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Disclaimer: I visited the Motorvalley in Italy on invitation of the STS travel blogging conference, organised by iambassador and Emilia Romagna tourism. All opinions and photos in this article are 100% my own.