Cernobbio is a quiet village on Lake Como in Italy. Life here is relaxed but once a year, usually at the end of May it becomes the center of the classic car world. At its most prestigious hotel, Villa d’Este, since the 1920s of the last century, the most refined car show in the world has been held. Before WWII, it was the place where coachbuilders would showcase their last creations, after becoming the perfect location for a classic car show, the renowned Concorso di Eleganza di Villa d’Este.
In 1929, the first edition of the Concorso d’Eleganza was organized: owners and coachbuilders brought their cars to be judged by a committee, to establish the most beautiful and elegant. For customers, the “reward” was the pleasure of winning, for coachbuilders it was a perfect way to market their style and to boost sales over the following 12 months. The winners got a Gold Cup that was usually filled with champagne and then used to celebrate. After the war, there was a long period of silence until a group of Italian classic cars lovers made their dream come true and brought back the now classic cars to Villa d’Este. Everything remained the same, as the 1,000-year-old plane tree adorning the terrace of Villa d’Este could certify: the cars, people and atmosphere. Only the trophies increased to two: the Gold Cup is assigned by the public invited to attend the show on Saturday, while the jury, consisting of the who is who of the classic car world, awards the BMW Group Trophy. It is impressive to see how often the public and professionals attribute their trophy to the same car, but it is not mandatory, and sometimes the choice is very different indeed.
Villa d’Este‘s terrace is big, but not big enough to host all the classic car fans that would love to attend to the event. That is why the Concorso d’Eleganza is spread over two days: the first day, the Saturday, is on invitation only, and is held at Villa d’Este. On the Sunday, all the cars move to the nearby Villa Erba, where the public can enter and enjoy them and decide who is the winner of the 3rd trophy, the BMW Italia one, assigned to the car most liked by the Sunday public. The best moment, but you have to love to get up early, is to be on Cernobbio’s main road very early time in the morning when the cars are driven from the Villa d’Este’s garage to the Villa Erba’s field. A very special moment that allows to see these cars on a normal open road.