Car Museum

Private museum that collects, in a big shed, more than forty vintage cars and models of historical interest, among which Queen Margaret's car. During the year it organizes various events dedicated to the history of motorization.

Address and contacts

Via Barbieri, 12 - 42018 San Martino in Rio
+39 0522.636133
Museo dell'Automobile

Opening hours

Friday 9.00 p.m. to midnight
Sunday 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 and 3.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Entrance fees

Free entrance

How to get there

See indications to reach San Martino in Rio

Historical notes

The arrival of the first vintage car in San Martino in Rio, a peaceful village located on a plain in the province of Reggio Emilia, can be traced back to 1956. The bolognese Domenico Gentili (who died in November 2001), collected cars far and wide across Italy, gathering them in the courtyards and under the canopies of his company (the Panigal soap factory at Borgo Panigale near Bologna). As these were no more, he accepted the hospitality offered to him by Giulio Campari, the late owner of Campari & C., (to which Panigal had been linked via a contract for the supply of animal fats) and the friendship of Barighin, a.k.a. Emilio Storchi Fermi. 
This kind of museum-collection (the museum could not yet be fully named as such) was filling up with more new local and fortuitous finds: a dozen fabulous and unprecedented specimens arrived in San Martino in Rio, retrieved by Barighin from every part of Italy.
In short, San Martino in Rio became one of the most important national and European centres for collecting.
On 3 November 1963 the City Council approved the design of a warehouse to be used to house the collection, that is, a true and proper museum. On 1 September 1966 Barighin and his friends transported around one hundred old cars, motorcycles, bicycles, carriages, farm wagons, etc., to their final home (about 1,000 square metres under cover).
After a not lucky period after the sudden death of Barighin in 1975, the Museum today
covers an exhibition area of 650 square metres in which there are about forty cars, a dozen motorcycles, some bicycles and a meeting room and offices for carrying out various activities.
The Museum is part of various cultural circuits and together with the Scuderia San Martino is ASI-federated and shares its statute in recognition of international motoring culture.