The Villa d’Este Golden Cup
How many events in the world are dedicated to vintage cars? Ever since the market for historical automobiles has reached international acclaim, such events have bloomed on both sides of the Atlantic. As happens with any successful activity, the automobile universe is filled by an ever- increasing number of “me too” events; however, the truly historic and most important ones, for both the owners and passionate enthusiasts, are only a very few.
One of these, certainly among the most aristocratic, is the well-known “Villa d’Este Golden Cup,” which takes place every year on lake Como in Cernobbio on the last weekend of May. It is an intelligent exhibition combining the most beautiful cars manufactured between the ’20’s and ’80’s, along with more recent examples of concept cars and prototypes. The past, present and future of the automobile world are staged in a location that can easily be defined as unique in the world. On Saturday, in the magnificent setting of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este, the historic cars are on display for attendees only; on Sunday, the event is then open to the public on the grounds of the Villa Erba, one of the many other jewels of Cernobbio.
The first “International Elegance Contest for Cars Villa d’Este Golden Cup” dates back to September 1st, 1929. This truly brilliant idea was the outcome of a joint initiative by the Como Automobile Club and the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este. The internationally renowned setting of Lake Como and the brilliant event formula, combining functionality with the beauty of the unique scenario, ratified the immediate success of the event. After the extended post-World War II period, this story of elegance and success, the Golden Cup, resumed in 1995. It was in 2002 that it went back to its original contest formula – a true milestone in the context of automobile events, awarding many new concept car projects, prototypes and vintage cars, as well. The vehicles are divided into various categories and judged by an exclusive team of experts which awards the “Best in Show” prize, a trophy reserved only for those special cars that express beauty, passion and uniqueness. The general public also has a fundamental role in this process, not only by applauding the participants, but also with its vote, leading to the presentation of the “Villa d’Este Golden Cup,” the most traditional of all the prizes in the event.
Although it may seem a snobbish statement, the atmosphere around the Villa d’Este Elengance Contest – Concorso D’Eleganza is very different from any other event of this kind, which are inevitably marked by an overtly commercial tone. In Cernobbio, the feeling is that of an authentic aristocracy of taste, of competence and passion for beauty, design, and technology. The perceived essence is one of appreciation for the originality and preservation of the most important and beautiful cars in the world, surrounded by the magnificent scenario of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este on the banks of Lake Como.
For those who are not yet among the fortunate collectors of vintage cars, actually purchasing one is an excellent way to satisfy one’s own ego. The best testimonial of this exquisite pleasure is in fact the actual owners, standing by their own vintage vehicles, receiving tribute from the public.