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Ferrari 250 GTO '62 s/n 3851GT
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San Marino, January 10, 2001

Based in San Marino

San Marino is known to car (and Ferrari-) enthusiasts through the Formula One Grand Prix of San Marino, which is hosted annually on the Italian circuit of Imola. Apart from this, San Marino is probably not too well known, especially not in distant countries outside Europe. San Marino is Europe’s smallest independent republic, and at the same time it’s one of the oldest in the world. Since the 13th century, the small country, which is situated picturesquely in the mountains some miles off the Adriatic coast near well-known Rímini, has been independent. Being totally surrounded by Italian territory, the small enclave offers some fiscal advantages — one of their consequences are about three millions of tourists per year to visit San Marino for tax free shopping and sightseeing.

Talking about sightseeing, we are getting to the point: San Marino offers a very interesting attraction for Ferraristi which is unique in Europe: The ”Collezione Maranello Rosso”. ”The red Maranello Collection” — so the English translation of the Collezione’s name — is the largest publicly displayed collection of Ferrari automobiles in Europe, if not in the world. The Collezione Maranello Rosso is located in the small town of Falciano, right on an exit of the only major through-road between Rímini and the republic’s equally named capital, San Marino.

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Fabrizio Violati’s passion

How come that there’s a Ferrari-collection that even outnumbers the Factory’s own ”Galleria Ferrari” in Maranello? The answer is the passion of one man: Fabrizio Violati. Fabrizio Violati is the offspring of a Rome-based family that has made a fortune as producers of mineral water and vine, the Ferrarelle table water being one of their best-known brands. Young Fabrizio became fascinated by anything motor driven, and he soon developed a spirit for competition: In 1954, he became the class winner in the Campionato Italiano di Regularita — a regularity championship hosted for the famous Vespa scooters! Soon after, Fabrizio swapped his two-wheeled machinery for a Fiat 600. In 1959, he participated in various hillclimb events in this mighty little car. Having tasted the flavor of automobile sports, Violati soon acquired something more powerful: His more competitive Abarth 750 took Fabrizio to better results in hillclimb events — and eventually to the hospital. A horrible crash in 1960 resulted in six months of convalescence in hospital after which Fabrizio’s family forbid him any further actions in motor sports. Needless to say that Violati did not share his family’s view. Five years later, Fabrizio could fulfill one of his dreams — although in secret. He bought his first Ferrari, and looking back from today’s point of view, the 2.500.000,-Lit were an excellent investment: Violati bought 250 GTO ’62 s/n 3851GT from Ernesto Prinoth, without informing his family about this acquisition. Fabrizio still owns s/n 3851GT today, making him the person to have owned a 250 GTO for the longest time ever. He never took it to any events in the mid-1960’s. In the early 1970’s, Fabrizio Violati caught other interests as well, making sailing one of his passions. Obviously, Violati’s passions need to be demanding, since competition became also an element of his marine hobby — Fabrizio took part in the Admiral’s Cup!

Historic Racing

In 1976, Violati acquired his second Ferrari, 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione s/n 2025GT. One year later, he started historic racing together with his friend Giulio Dubbini (?), another well-known Ferrari collector. Aside of racing his 250 GTO and the 250 GT SWB, Violati started to collect an impressive collection of Ferrari road cars and today sometimes even owns several examples of an particular model. His historic racing efforts lead to the foundation of the Scuderia Campidoglio Motori, named after the Michelangelo-designed Piazza del Campidoglio on the capital hill in Violati’s native city Rome. Between 1979 and 1984, Fabrizio Violati even took part in modern motor racing when his Scuderia Bellancauto entered three 512 BBLMs (s/n 28601, s/n 34157 and s/n 35529) in various European events. But historic racing remained Violati’s major passion, granting him and his beloved 250 GTO the title of the 1985 European FIA Historic Champion. In the late 1980’s, at the peak of the Ferrari hausse, the Scuderia Campidoglio Motori was a regular participant in events like the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring where Violati usually organized an incredible turnout of Ferrari race cars from his own collection as well as from the stables of friends who joined his Scuderia in historic racing.

The foundation of Collezione Maranello Rosso

At that time, Fabrizio Violati’s Ferrari collection — which includes about 50 Ferrari — was spread over several garages in Rome. Violati wished to present his impressive cars to the public to honor Enzo Ferrari whom he deeply admires. Thus, the Collezione Maranello Rosso was founded in San Marino on July 26, 1990. On December 1st, 1990 the museum was opened to the public, then located in the old part of San Marino city. The premises only allowed one part of the entire collection to be displayed, and so the Collezione Maranello Rosso moved to a more spacious estate some years later. The collection soon became famous among Ferraristi all over the world, and the 90 minutes drive from Maranello to San Marino turned institutional for many ”Ferrari pilgrims” on visit in Ferrari’s home town.

New premises since 2000

On February 18, 2000 — Enzo Ferrari’s 102nd birthday — the Collezione Maranello Rosso moved again to new premises: A totally new building in Falciano now houses the precious cars and offers sufficient space inside and outside (large parking area suitable for coaches!). The museum is divided in several sections: Close to the entrance, there’s a room dedicated solely to the 250 GT family. The next, very large room houses various Ferrari road cars. In a third room, one finds several Ferrari competition cars — the fact that Violati’s F40 is on display in that room as well symbolizes the derivation of this model from competition cars. Upstairs, the visitors have the possibility to view a large collection of Ferrari memorabilia, which are primarily dedicated to the man Enzo Ferrari. The entire museum is held in a rather dark atmosphere in which spot lights and mirrors create a unique setting. Unfortunately, the cars are protected by massive barriers, but that’s the tribute for showing the valuable cars publicly. Interestingly, the most precious car of the collection, the 250 GTO ’62 s/n 3851GT, is parked on a slightly lifted display table, but closely accessible… The museum also includes a memorabilia shop in which one may buy various merchandising stuff like scale models, posters, magazines etc. On many items one may find the Collezione Maranello Rosso’s logo which symbolizes the oval ”mouth” of Violati’s 250 GTO and the triple-louvers of his 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ”Tour de France”. Another very remarkable fact is that all cars in the collection are fully functional and operational. Violati has often loaned some of his cars to friends and celebrities to drive them in the Mille Miglia Storica and similar events. For example, actress Ornella Muti joined Fabrizio’s daughter Barbara some years ago for the Mille Miglia and almost caused the crowd in Brescia to storm the podium during the starting ceremony…

The complex also houses an art gallery — the ”Gallerie d’Arte” was opened on April 15, 2001 and houses changing exhibitions of automotive artists like Fabio Capulli or Atillio Cairati. The basement of the Collezione Maranello Rosso is normally closed to the public. It contains a congress center which is suitable for events involving up to 200 people. The center is complete with kitchen and meeting room. The clou: The meeting room is separated from two adjacent rooms only by glass walls. And these adjacent rooms contain… even more cars! One of the rooms is dedicated to Ferrari and houses several road models from the 1960’s, 1970’s and early 1980’s. The other hall is the home of Fabrizio Violati’s extensive Abarth collection which is surely among the most complete collections dedicated to this marque in the world. The two ”showrooms” maybe illuminated while the meeting room is darkened for a slide show or something similar — the atmosphere is incredible! In 2000, the congress center did already welcome several Formula One related groups during the San Marino Grand Prix as well as a convention of medical doctors as well as an event of Italian mobile phone network TIM with singer Eros Ramazotti…


The Collezione Maranello Rosso includes too many cars to describe them here individually. One more time, the photos in the galleries say more than a thousand words anyway. But one may say that a visit to the Collezione is a ”must” for the real Ferrarista during a tour of the region. For more specific information like opening hours etc., please contact Sandra Lodi Vetrano at…

Collezione Maranello Rosso ... was sold and the cars were auctioned at  Bonhams
Strada dei Censiti, 21
RSM-47891 Rovereta / Falciano
Repubblica di San Marino
Tel.: +39 / 0549 / 97 06 14
Fax: +39 / 0549 / 97 06 07

Andreas Birner