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FARE INSIEME - Ep. 199 - Canossa Events, those smiles in events that go beyond time and space

«We were the first in Europe to offer luxury and passion in the same automotive event»



A hybrid company was born in Emilia almost fifteen years ago: it organises events, builds experiences, pampers high-spending customers by providing them with unforgettable tours. All this is Canossa Events, synonymous with excellence in events tailored to travelling. The company promotes almost 300 events every year around the world. Giampaolo Colletti interviews Luigi Orlandini, Chairman & CEO of Canossa Events for FARE INSIEME.

by Giampaolo Colletti

Photocredit: Giacomo Maestri e Francesca Aufiero

It's impossible to stop. Because what I'm about to tell you is an entrepreneurial story in constant movement. It travels the streets that have made History. Forgive the pun, but we're dealing with time travel here. Try to imagine speeding aboard a vintage car along those thousand-year-old roads travelled on horseback long ago by Matilde di Canossa, queen of Italy in the Twelfth Century. Or even more. Close your eyes and imagine facing that landscape from Liguria to Tuscany, very green in summer and snowy in winter, made up of endless mountain hairpin bends that then open up the view almost by magic to the sea, which arrives after having savoured the sweet and rolling hills. Here, you're already there! Think about luxury hospitality accompanied by the culinary creations of award-winning chefs. A mix of competition, tourism, food and wine and relaxation. All this is not a dream. Because in Emilia, which is teeming with brilliant intuitions and that visceral connection with the past, there is a company that has been committed for fourteen years to make us live these experiences. We are on board vintage four-wheelers that travel thousands of kilometres encountering landscapes, people and businesses. From Reggio Emilia and Modena you can then go anywhere in the world: Milan, Miami, New York, Monterey, Dubai. This is the story of Canossa Events, synonymous with excellence in events tailored to travelling. The company organises almost 300 initiatives every year and among these is the legendary Modena Hundred Hours (Modena Cento Ore), a five-day road rally based on the spirit of the Giro d'Italia or the Tour de France. The offices are in Milan, Greenwich, Connecticut and Dubai. It is a young company with a young team. It all starts with four passionate people and today the team includes 130 professionals with an average age of 32 years old. Many of these are women, with all due respect to those who claim that they don't get along very well with engines. «We were the first in Europe to offer luxury and passion in the same automotive event, with a different starred chef on each of the evenings. Given the good results of the first event we decided to continue and step by step we won over many customers, including Ferrari which is obviously in the hearts of all of us», says Luigi Orlandini, Chairman & CEO of Canossa Events.

Company profile. It all started in Quattro Castella, a town of thirteen thousand souls in the province of Reggio Emilia. We are on the foothills of the Apennines and the municipality between the first hills and the high plain embraces an area that goes from the Val d'Enza in the west to the Valle del Crostolo in the east. Here the past is linked to the present. Just think that this town takes the name of Quattro Castella precisely because of the four castles that stand on as many hills. These are Monte Vetro, Bianello, Monte Lucio and Monte Zane. They were probably part of the defensive system of the Canossa dominions. The headquarters is surrounded by green hills and vineyards. Then there is the company restaurant and the nearby swimming pool available to employees during the summer. But today this reality goes far beyond the lands of Emilia. Because if the headquarters are here, the offices are in Europe, the Middle East and North America. «We organise unique and memorable events, all created with a great passion for cars. From small luxury tours to large rallies or challenging circuit races, we turn your trip into an experience to remember. We also create engaging product presentations, compelling test drives and much more for both car manufacturers and other businesses», says Orlandini.  

Competence and smiles. The company has two major product lines B2B and B2C. In both cases much of the work is in the world of cars or motorbikes, but there is also a Lifestyle division that deals with non-automotive events. After all, a good part of it is luxury tourism aimed at foreigners who come to live unforgettable experiences in Italy, also thanks to its creative and productive capacity. A new way of doing dynamic, customised, engaging tourism. Or even more, unique. «Among the new features is our tailored line of private tours for individual clients. Very high-end products dedicated to our best customers», says Orlandini. For this globe-trotting manager the most difficult moment was the dramatic earthquake of 2012. «We had just taken over the Modena Hundred Hours (Modena Cento Ore), an event created by a group of friends from Modena. We had set up the whole event. Then the earthquake swept away the hotels, the roads and a lot of work. Most customers decided to withdraw for understandable reasons. We met one day to decide what to do and we decided to continue and donate the few shares collected to the most affected areas» recalls Orlandini. Among the most satisfying moments was the acquisition of Cavallino Inc., an American company founded in 1978 that publishes the magazine of the same name and organises Cavallino Classic, one of the most important collection car events in the world. The recipe to stand out? Orlandini has no doubts. «The contagious smile, thus to have a motivated staff that is happy with their work. Naturally, skills, preparation, commitment, processes, controls and so on are also fundamental ingredients, but we take these things for granted.»

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