Alfa Paradiso

A visit to the Alfa Museum in Milan, a classic car mecca

After a three-month lockdown, Italy is re-opening and classic car fans are able to visit the Alfa Romeo museum in Milan. This tour of the museum appeared in Magneto magazine and is featured here as part of an ongoing series we hope you enjoy. To find out about Magneto and to sign up for a subscription, click here.

Planning to visit Italy’s “second city?” You should; it’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of historic Alfas, at the marque’s official museum. Milan is a great place made even better by the wealth of automotive meccas in the vicinity. Monza is only 12 miles away, the famous Concorzo d’Eleganza Villa d’Este takes place on the banks of nearby Lake Como, and Zagato and Touring Superleggera are next door to one another on the outskirts of town.

Close by to those two legends of Italian coachbuilding is Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, on the edge of the site of Alfa’s old Arese factory (where a shopping centre now sits). We couldn’t resist calling in after visiting Zagato. If you haven’t been, then you’ll probably underestimate its full extent, because since it was revamped in 2015 it’s become one of the great manufacturer museums.

The museum actually dates back to the 1960s, when post-war Alfa Romeo designer Orazio Satta Puliga began to push for a fitting tribute to the company’s illustrious history. The management went for it, and Luigi Fusi, a designer since the time of the legendary Vittorio Jano, began to collect company artefacts, and to restore and document the heritage cars owned by Alfa Romeo. For years the collection was displayed in temporary venues, until the decision was made to create a new building in front of the Arese factory’s administrative offices.

The Museo Storico Alfa Romeo opened its doors to the public on 18 December, 1976. It continued despite the gradual closure of the Arese factory until 2009, when the design department moved to Turin (manufacturing finished in 2005 when V6 engine production ended).

It wasn’t until 2013 that plans were created to revive the museum, with a full architectural makeover combined with all-new displays. Its grand reopening took place in June 2015 – Alfa Romeo’s 105th year – during the world preview of the crucial new Giulia.

There’s a very clear path through the new museum; in fact, right from the car park, from which a long, swooping, bright red canopy leads visitors to the reception. Then, via a special display area, it’s up to the first floor for the “Timeline” display, in which 19 seminal Alfas demonstrate the various eras of the company. Interactive displays give more detail on each model.

Then back down to the ground floor for the “Beauty” display, where themed areas demonstrate the style of the major Italian coachbuilders, cars built by Touring, and the Giulietta and Giulia model line. In the centre is an “Alfa Romeo in the Movies” cinema.

And then to the basement for the stunning “Speed” display featuring Alfa Romeo’s greatest racing machines, from early Mille Miglia winners, Nuvolari and Fangio cars, to Piquet’s F1 Brabham and Nannini’s 155 V6 Touring Car. In between are the “A Legend is Born” and “Temple of Victories” multimedia displays.

Just a few of the highlights of our tour included the Alfa 33 Stradale-based styling studies, the 1935 twin-engine Bimotore and the crazy 1914 Aerodinamica. Lovers of classic cars won’t want to miss it.

Where is it?
Viale Alfa Romeo,
20020 Arese, Milan, Italy

When is it open?
Every day except Tuesdays, 10am to 6pm

The Alfa 33 Stradale-based styling studies, the 1935 twin-engine Bimotore and the crazy 1914 Aerodinamica

For personal tours, contact
[email protected]

How to get there?
Easy by car, and within an hour’s drive of all three Milan airports, with Malpensa the closest. From Milan, if you don’t want to take a cab you can get a train to Rho-Fiera then the 561 bus to Arese, but it’s easier to take the shuttle bus for the neighbouring Il Centro Arese shopping centre from Milan Central Station