There's something about that flick of Italian red paint that makes an already beautiful town even more exotic. The Piazza Italia is an event that has become a stable go-to on most people's calendar after some extremely successful years, the most recent being in 2015. It's three days of glorious machines given the chance to prance on the cobbles amongst families enjoying fresh ice cream and Italian treats.
And what's the secret? There's no smell of dust or polish you'd find in a museum, all these cars and bikes have been driven here, they're still ticking cool. Its a winning combination, spectators get to see and hear them, talk to the owners, who themselves get to show their pride and joy. There's a quality of conversation that goes beyond reading a plaque. And what's more? It's free.
Motoring can sometimes be seen as exclusive, for those with money. It's a difficult aspect of the love that so many of us have for cars, perhaps that's why they're so appealing. With nothing more that what would be a stroll into town, some of the worlds most sought after cars a siting perfectly, waiting to be adored. But to achieve such a personal experience without owning something does take such a chance as this.
There's a day for each: modern supercars, classic cars and bikes. A favourite day being the pure range of Italian designs: classic sporting Alfas, stunning Lancias, the latest number-bending Ferraris, Ducatis that will put hairs on your chest and even a collection of gorgeously tidy Fiat 500s. Lets not forget the classic Minis! The backdrop of Horsham's cafe and restaurant scene is perfect for indulging in such designs, giving a great family day out for new and old enthusiasts alike. There's more for those involved too. The bikes start out at Motori Di Marino, an Italian bike specialist based in West Chiltington, with a ride into Horsham ready for the day. And when it's over, on they all go. But that's the best bit. For me an engine only comes alive when I hear it, and my what a noise. The town centre becomes a cathedral of thoroughbred Italian pistons.
So that's it then, the sheer breadth of age and make of Italian cars and supercars on offer means there's something for everyone. The fine food and drink that's available will keep your other taste buds satisfied, not forgetting the spectacular musical entertainment. With a proper set of sunny English spring days, what could be better this March. Bring on 2016!
- Tom Aiton