May 14, 2015
Pistons, Passions, Pleasures.
"It was a crazy idea, not just a contest to find the fastest car but a challenge between man, nature and machine"
Silvana Paladino, widow of the last descendent of the Florio family, guides host Francesco da Mosto through the ghosts of a different and splendid moment in the history of Sicily.
"Pistons, Passions, Pleasures- A Sicilian Dream" traces the history of the Targa and the Florio family from the turn of the 20th century to the end of the race in the 1970's when Porsche and Ferrari were developing special short wheelbase versions of their prototype cars specifically for this race and when the realities of speed and danger finally killed off a race which made the Nürburgring seem like a kart track.
It was the Belle Epoque and a time of wealth and progress on the island, when Palermo was a destination for European royalty and when the Florios were one of Italy's wealthiest families.
Into that family was born Vincenzo Florio, he did not have to follow the family business and was free to pursue his love of things mechanical and fast. The rest is history.
This week end, the commemorative Mille Miglia is taking place in northern Italy but even in it's glory days, that race paled in comparison to the difficulties of the 146 km long Circuito delle Madonie on which the world's first endurance race, the Targa Florio, had been held since 1906.
Sadly, while the legacy of the Mille Miglia endures, Sicily is letting the Targa Florio slip with the passing of those lucky enough to have witnessed it. A real shame.
This hour long film, directed by Philip Walsh, is beautifully shot and written and stars along with da Mosto, Alain de Cadet and Doug Nye. It will be well worth your setting aside time to watch it this week end, especially so if you enjoy films along the lines of those produced by Petrolicious.
1977 was the final year for the Targa Florio. Since 1906 the greatest names in motorsport were winners there: Nuvolari, Varzi, Villoresi, Moss, Von Trips, Hill, Elford, Siffert, Bandini, Redman, Van Lennep and of course, Mr. Targa Florio, Nino Vaccarella.
Thank you to the producers for preserving their memory with this wonderful film.
(and thanks to Stephen Mitchell!)