It all started in the spring, where I stumbled across a link on a foreign Alfa Romeo website. A link to museum that I had never heard about before. After having checked out their website, I could feel that this was something that I had to work on. It was a place out of the ordinary. A place where the passion for Alfa Romeo, like mine, was very high, not just for the cars but also for the entire history and life around the illustrious brand with over a 100 years behind it. Luckily, a vacation had already been planned for the first week of October. A vacation taking us to the Italian lakes of Maggiore, Orta and Como. Therefore, it did not take long to find out where the city of Legnano was located in relation to our holiday location.
The city of Legnano, which I have never visited before, is located approximately 25-30 kilometers north of Milano and just 16 kilometers north of Mueso Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese. Therefore, everything was according to plan until I discovered that Museo Fratelli Cozzi was not open to the public during the week that I was on holiday in Italy. The museum does not have regular opening hours, but through their website, you can book a visit, when they are open for the public one a month. Alternately, you can also arrange a visit to the museum, if you are a club, a company or a group of around 20 people or more. So I wrote to the director of the museum Elisabetta Cozzi, and my prayers where heard. She invited me to come, see the museum, and hear about its history, because my intention was not only to see the museum, but also to spread the message of this exciting place in Italy to other alfisti.
The year where a private car collection became a museum. From the beginning in 1955 and until today Pietro Cozzi has had a passion for collecting special editions of the Alfa Romeo cars that has left the assembly line. So today, Museo Fratelli Cozzi has a spectacular collection of 54 cars. Four of which they mention as very special, thereof two completely unique, but more about that later. Therefore, in 2015 they sat about completely updating their premises. They did this by hiring the architects Gabriele and Oscar Buratti to create a unique showroom for the car museum in the basement, but also to give the entire car dealership a striking look, and let it be said it was a job well done. Inside the building is divided into three different colors, each used to emphasize its own section. The white color accentuating the brightness and strong architectural shapes of the showroom. The red color used in the passage from dealership to museum to bring out emotional atmosphere for the visitor. Finally, in the basement where the museum is located, a black color used on the surfaces make the cars stand out becoming the focus of the room. This becomes clear when you arrive via Via Pietro Toselli and is met by an architecturally beautiful building, which stands out amongst other dealerships that I have visited. The beautiful and unique continues inside the building and down into the basement where Museo Fratelli Cozzi is located. With this transformation, the opportunity to further the love, passion, history and not at least the documentation of Alfa Romeo was created.
Fratelli Cozzi started a new business venture, where they combine the beautiful cars with the beautiful surroundings. This gives them the opportunity to host special events in the unique museum space and thereby relate the history to people who may not even be interested in Alfa Romeo or its history. They have hosted everything from private parties, conferences for international companies, book launches, ballet and field trips to food events where one of the best chefs in Italy participated. Because of this, people from all over the world come to Legnano either to see the unique building, the beautiful cars or to participate in an event. On the day of our visit, which I had very much been looking forward to Elisabetta Cozzi, daughter of Pietro Cozzi, who is responsible for the daily operation of the museum, greeted us. We started with a little talk and introduction to the museum and the business Fratelli Cozzi in her red office, which light up inside the dealership. After this, she showed us the reception area, which is used for the guests of the many different events held there. Then she opened a big red door, which lead us into a stairwell. Not just any dull and dreary stairwell, but one entirely red and illuminated by a red light from a neon sign saying “Museo Fratelli Cozzi”. Then we are started and in the right mood to continue down into the treasury, which I had been looking forward to visiting since my interest was piqued online. Down in the basement we are meet by the beautiful cars, which really stand out even though we are in a basement with no natural light. Here has been worked with light and color in a way to give a unique atmosphere. All the walls are painted black making the cars stand out more, and it is working as intended. I have been to museums where there are more cars on show, but not one where there has been made so much out of the room and atmosphere. You immediately sense that their passion for the brand Alfa Romeo is incredible strong. Spread out among the 54 cars, which all are in mint condition, you find all sorts of Alfa Romeo paraphernalia such as photos and promotional poster through the times, workshop manuals, logos, trophies designed by important artists such as Gio Pomodoro, Lucio Fontana, Luciano Minguzzi, Agenore Fabbri and much more. One corner of the basement has been fashioned as a so-called “Cozzi Lab”, where all the information that they have gathered about Alfa Romeo through the times is been collected. Pietro Cozzi has kept all the letters, pictures, instructions, workshop manuals and posters etc. which he has received from the Alfa Romeo factory since he started his company back in 1955. Therefore, it is something of a collection within the collection. Much of this kind of information has not been kept during the years making it rare to find this kind of material now a day when everything has been digitalized. Elisabetta Cozzi tells that they are currently working on digitalizing all this information with the goal of making the material accessible through their website, as to offer as many as possible insight into the information. It is very entertaining to see all this material, that amongst other things contain old black and white photos of celebrities alongside different models of Alfa Romeo. These were sent out to dealers so that they could be used promotion and advertising.The first car purchased for the museum is a fine Giulietta Berlina naturally a TI version from 1960. After this, the museum has added cars to the collection bit by bit. The oldest are two of the post war models 6C 2500 SS Spider Farina and 6C 2500 “Freccia D’oro” and it continues with vintage models of 1900, 2000 Berlina, Giulia 1600 Super QV, 1750 Berlina, 2600 Berlina, Alfetta 1800 and more. (See the complete list of cars later). As I wrote earlier, there are a couple of unique cars in the museum. One is the Alfa 155 Q4 Speed Record. It is the winner of the world record reaching 300 km/t on the Bonneville-track in Salt Lake City, USA. A record that still stands to this day. The 155 is equipped with a parachute used to make it slow down after having reached the 300 km/t. Quite a nice speed for a regular streetcar with just a few aerodynamic upgrades. The other is a well-preserved Giulia 1600 TI Super Quadrifoglio Verde, out of which only 25 white cars have survived along with one red and one gray. The gray car is now a part of Museo Fratelli Cozzi. In addition to this you also find a fine AR 51 “Matta” 1951, Formula Boxer 1.7 1987 and a GT Junior Replica GTA 1970. Seen with Danish eyes most of the cars in the museum are rare and unique, as they have long been gone from roads this far north. It is a pleasant reunion with many models that were once part of daily life throughout the times, combined with the more rare and expensive cars that you will also find here. The visit to Museo Fratelli Cozzi was a great experience, and they manage to pass on the passion, love, history and not at least the documentation of Alfa Romeo through the times. Making sure that it will be remembered in the time that come. Museo Fratelli Cozzi is more than just a museum; it is an institution in Alfa Romeo. I highly recommend stopping by Legnano and visiting this exciting place. You can check out their website www.museofratellicozzi.com for more information about when they are open for visits. Big thanks goes to Elisabetta Cozzi for receiving us and giving us an unforgettable experience and insight into the Fratelli Cozzi business. We hope to return to visit the museum again, as well asgreeting all the lovely people who communicate our shared passion.