Museo Nicolis, Villafranca di Verona

Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spider

Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spider


Villafranca, 14 December, 2019

I have often seen cars from the Museo Nicolis at classic car shows, and have also been recommended to visit the museum, but time constraints when travelling in Italy have always kept it on the “to do” list. However, during a recent visit, whilst returning to Verona airport I found the time to make a visit, and thus at long last put a tick in the box. As mentioned, I had seen cars from the museums at shows, but until I made a visit I had no idea of the broad scope of the contents of the museum. Yes, there are plenty of rare and interesting automobiles on display, but then you can add in a wide array of motorcycles, ranging from pioneers to recent racing machines. Whilst still on two wheels, the bicycle display is even more far reaching, stretching as far as the eye can see in the 2nd floor display hall, with some 110 examples spanning the history of this still popular mode of transport. The museum also encompasses aviation, with aircraft sited on the building roof, plus a display of aero engines.

However, it expands far beyond forms of transport, with a wide variety of other equipment, many of which are art forms in themselves, including a vast collection of typewriters, spanning from their invention in the late 19th century to today, with some 100 examples on display. Musical instruments and forms of playing music, from pianos to juke boxes, telescopes and cameras are other prominent feature displays of the museum on the top floor, surrounded by a wide variety of historical artefacts including scale models, dolls, toy boats, books etc, the list is almost endless. This diverse array of offerings makes it a perfect place for family visits, as there is bound to be something to suit every interest or taste within it.

On the automobile front the offerings are equally diverse as with the other exhibitions, with a number of long lost marques represented. These include Bianchi, Isotta Fraschini and OM from Italy, including a spectacular 1929 Isotta Fraschini 8AS Coupé de Ville by Castagna, and an OM Superba 665 SSMM from 1931, with a rare Zedel from Switzerland amongst them. There is a nice selection of sixties and seventies Maseratis including a 3500 GT Vignale Spider and a Ghibli, whilst the array of Alfa Romeos and Lancias, predominantly pre-war, is impressive. Amongst them are a very elegant blue and silver 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Castagna bodied cabriolet, together with a 1938 Lancia Astura Spider. The car display areas are complimented by mannequins in period costumes and a wide variety of assorted ephemera, which all adds to the ambience of the museum. Not to be forgotten are the display cabinets on the ground floor housing a collection of F1 steering wheels, a journey through time in themselves. The museum also has its own conference centre, including panoramic terrace and bar, capable of accommodating parties of up to 350 people for all types of functions.

The museum is situated in Villafranca di Verona, on the main SS62 road between Verona and Mantova, on the right side just after you enter the town from the north. It is close to Verona airport, quite literally a few minutes drive away, and also easily accessible from the Milano – Venezia and Brennero – Modena autostrade.

 It is open daily from 10.00 to 18.00, apart from Monday, whilst further details with full opening times and admission prices can be found at


Keith Bluemel