After leaving the track at Monza, we headed for Lake Como in Northern Italy. Allan had received a message from a Facebook friend, Gabriele Arnaboldi, who wanted to meet us on our way to Switzerland. He was a big Villeneuve fan and wanted to show Allan some of the things he had collected. Not knowing what to expect, we put Martha on the hunt and ended up in front of a non-descript building. Gabriele met us and showed us inside a space that was something in between a big garage and a barn. When we walked in, I could see immediately that Allan was surprised and moved by what he saw.
Every inch of wall space was covered by images of Gilles through all the different points in his racing career. Some were Allan’s and two were even taken by Gabriele. Gabriele knew every image, every moment. It was an homage to the man they both loved. In addition to the images, he had cabinets of racing cars, statues and other memorabilia that he had collected over the decades.
Gabriele also started the Gilles Villeneuve Slot Car Racing Club, another homage to Gilles. The track took up the entire room and every Friday night, a group of racers came to test their skills. Allan and I even took a crack at it. It was a lot of fun!
It was heartwarming to see and hear Gabriele and Allan talking as they moved through the room and through the pictures. Gabriele’s collection was in many ways better than going to a museum. It had heart and Gabriele kept it beating with his own love and passion for Gilles.