Now that Google Street View is trickling down the European highway system, it’s time to go on the prowl for fancy cars.
It took until last fall for Google Street View to make it across the Atlantic, a year and a half after it debuted in the US. Both roads and privacy laws are narrower here. This must have figured in the delay, but the age of Peeping Toms is now upon us. And there certainly are other things to explore than the digitally blurred faces of Italian politicians on campaign posters around the Duomo in Milan.
Some of our roads are so narrow that even seated in a Hot Wheel of a local supermini the idea of traffic coming the opposite way is enough to fill you with dread. Convex mirrors to the rescue! You can find them in most intersection, like here in the village of Cernobbio in North Italy:
Look closer and you can see the Street View car itself reflected, with its scaffolding of camera equipment balanced on top. It is a black Opel Astra, which translates to Saturn ~ in the American language.
But look even closer, move along the road, and grind your teeth in frustration at the missed opportunity. This mirror happens to be mounted at the entrance of Villa d’Este, a magnificent estate on Lake Como, site of the annual Concorso d’Eleganza. The public road Via Regina passes right next to the Villa, at one point crossing beneath in a short tunnel, and when the Concorso is on in late April, you can stop at various observation points and drool at all the cars. Since this is Italy, you can do this in the close proximity of excellent food, so that all the Maserati-induced saliva will not go to waste and will help bits of mozzarella di bufala become parts of your body.
Should you find yourself in the area this year, do swing by on the weekend of April 25-26. It’s only 15 Euro-bucks to get in and you can liquefy your brain on cars faster than it takes a Ferrari Colombo engine to rev into the high latitudes.
If you happen to arrive at the right time, you can even catch a glimpse of ladies in decadent dress, idling by a Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck. As if waiting for this 1939 cabriolet to set sail not for Lake Como, but for the Southern Ocean itself.