After nearly a two-year break, the iconic Concorso d’Eleganza returned at Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como. Downscaled due to the ongoing pandemic, the chic and posh car show, hosted by BMW, has not lost its magic. A small and carefully selected crowd had the unique privilege of stepping on the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este, a Renaissance patrician residence in Cernobbio. One of those guests was yours truly.
For years I’ve been bragging about the beauty of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, but often I was met with the same response from my European friends: “Wait until you go to Como for the Concorso.” Of course, the Pebble Beach car show sets a high bar for any event in the world, but even though at their core both shows cater to a unique crowd, they do it in different ways.
The History Of The Concorso d’Eleganza
The Californian event is all about size and opulence, in contrast with the chicness and Italian flair of the Concorso d’Eleganza. The car show dates as far back as 1929 and was created to compete with prestigious concours events held in Paris and Monte Carlo. But in 1951, for several reasons, the exquisite car show was postponed indefinitely.
At the end of the 1990s, the event attracted the attention of the BMW Group who took sole responsibility as the patron of the Concorso d’Eleganza. The show was reinvented and a new award for Concept Cars & Prototypes was established as well. Today, Grand Hotel Villa d’Este and the BMW Group are celebrating the fourteenth anniversary of their cooperation.