Sure, there’s the Indy 500. Then there’s NASCAR Racing. Even Formula Racing. But none of them compares with the racing event held around June 1st in Tuscany. That’s the day for the annual
world-class er . . . locally celebrated Cappello Cup. In early summer, we were indeed fortunate to be introduced to this unique event, and will definitely make it a regular part of our summers here. They don’t race for fame or fortune, but rather, just for the sheer fun of it. You gotta love it!
Our friend Federico stopped by to help us out with a tough project. As he was about to leave, he casually mentioned the upcoming Cappello Cup, scheduled for the very next day, on Sunday. He thought we might enjoy it. He described something that sounded a bit like the Soapbox Derby, but with one major difference. In the US, Soapbox Derby entrants are no more than 17 years old. The Cappello Cup is just the opposite. Entrants start at 18 years of age to compete using their own home-made cars. Beyond that bottom age group, anyone who wants to enter can do so—even if they are 80, 90 or 100+. It’s fair game for any “kid at heart.” We liked the idea, so made plans to go.
The next morning, filled with enthusiasm, we got an early start with camera in hand. Cappello is a beautiful hour-long southeast drive for us. As we approached the rather small town perched high on the side of the mountain, we saw officials standing at the turn-off. The roads were wisely blocked for race day. So we drove a little beyond the street and parked along with several other race fans. A modest crowd was already beginning to gather. With excitement, we joined the others and began the uphill walk on the winding road (which actually was the race track).
The event was exactly as Federico described it: only gravity-powered cars lined the street—designed to the whimsical specifications of each owner. There didn’t seem to be any particular guidelines, except that they all had four wheels. Correction: come to think of it, there were some three wheelers mixed in. It was a highly creative mishmash of ideas ranging from big wheels to tiny wheels; bulky box-shaped cars to open metal frames; either one or two passengers; playful bright colors alongside the more serious black and white; and whimsical paper entry numbers taped on the front . . . or somewhere on the car. Curiously, most of the cars were driven by older adults—big kids determined to play away the day.
We were thrilled when the first cars came roaring down the hill from the starting line located at Cappello centro. It was a hoot to see the various racing creations zip by, running with pedal to the metal on a full tank of gravity. The track was probably a mile or so long, and had its fair share of steep inclines and somewhat dangerous turns. It was no course for amateurs or the fainthearted—quite impressive and loads of fun!
The Cappello Cup is an annual event and a must see for sports enthusiasts, or just folks with a bit of residual childish whimsy coursing through their veins. One day, the competition will surely rival other global sporting events. Roads will be blocked for miles around, and people will have to be bussed in, with assigned seats on the bleachers lining the track. There will be no more lounging on the grass, two feet from turn #9, or picnics with the family on a blanket by the finish line. So, we suggest that, with some urgency, you plan an early summer trip to Tuscany. In Cappello, you’ll enjoy the magic of small town fun, and witness this marvel of mankind’s playful creativity. Surely, within two or three years this secret will go viral. So while the crowds are still modest, join in the small town fun. Maybe we’ll see you there!
Following is a short video to whet your appetite!