Targa Florio – The Ultimate Guide
The Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, which was subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou, Spain, the House of Habsburg, and then finally unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, and a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region after the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946.
Targa Florio History & Story
Vincenzo Florio was born in Palermo, Sicily on March 16, 1883, the youngest of the four sons of Ignatius Sr. and Baroness Giovanna d’Ondes Trigona. Vincenzo did not show any attitude for running the family winery business, which was firmly in the hands of his older bother Ignatius Jr. He longed to travel the world beyond Sicily and as soon as he could he traveled to Germany and France. While in Paris he came upon a showroom that contained a machine he had never seen before. The machine was a de Dion motor tricycles which he promptly purchased and had shipped back to Palermo. The new contraption caused quite a sensation as it was unloaded onto the dock. Unfortunately there it stayed due to the fact that there was not any gasoline available in all of Sicily! Urgent cables to Paris finally brought a shipment of the precious fuel. After the initial thrill of driving his new toy began to wear off he decided to have a race. The only problem was that his was the sole motor car on the island which would make for a poor race. It was decided that he would organize a handicap race between his car, a cyclist and a horseman. The cyclist was the first to drop out with cramps which put Vincenzo and his car in the lead, but the lead was short lived when his engine began to over heat. Scoring one last win in the battle of horse and machine the horseman galloped past to take the victory. Rather than wallowing in defeat Vicenzo vowed to return from France with a real motor car. He tried many different cars but the hilly Sicilian countryside proved too much for the fragile cars. Finally he turned to a new Italian manufacturer, Fiat.