The Motherland

I have said it before in these pages that I LOVE my job. Well this week is going to be an exclamation point on that subject. I am Bologna, Italy for “Train the Trainer” covering the 2015 Model Year for Ducati North America. Sure the bikes are part of it… but for me it is so much more. It’s a heart thing – the Motherland.

Bologna at night – December 2014

My bloodline heritage is definitely German, but my heart is Italian. I remember growing up in Philadelphia hanging with one of my best friends – Charlie Bria, working at the “Riv” (Riviera d’ Italia), and hitting Club Ciao on the weekends. As a boy watching Public Television, the travel shows would give insider tips on enjoying a journey to Italy and I would be glued. No in my 40’s, its part of my job and I love it.

After my second visit to the factory, I began to study Italian and while I have a long way to go — I understand about 50% of what they say and can survive shopping and restaurants without a tour guide. It’s awesome. Let me fill you in on some of the trip this week has in store.

  • Arrive in Bologna Saturday and be whisked off to the factory for “Family Night” featuring a tour of the Corse Racing Department complete with engine dyno exhibitions. Hugs and kisses all around, its like seeing the side of the family you like for Thanksgiving.
  • Sunday – get up and take a walk after a European Breakfast. Baguettes, Croissants, meats, cheeses and Cappuccino.  The neighborhood is bustling with activity with Church Bells rocking the crisp winter air.
  • Sunday Night – a guided tour of the city with Gelatto, followed by a succulent dinner off the main square right across from the huge church by Neptune.
  • Monday is an early rise to launch training but is capped off with a “Concert by Request” with S.I.P. Tonic. This is my highlight of the week away from the bikes.
  • This pace will carry through to Friday learning about all the new advancements at Ducati – which this year is a distinguished list.
  • Saturday – Free-balling it. A couple of the field representatives and myself are trying to lay out a plan. Venice, Florence, Naples? The choice is ours and at our finger-tips.

There is a distinct sense of home to me when I am here. The meeting, greeting and heart that comes from being here is nearly in-explainable… if that’s a word. It’s like there is a whole in your heart you may or may not have known existed – then you experience something and the feelings are overwhelming.

Cathedral unmasked

When I arrived last year speaking albeit very poor Italian, the response was huge. I made an effort and they noticed. The relationships and ties to a product I have a passion for bring it all together.

Ciao, Ciao!!

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