Strada Vecchia 2018 – Bardi 24th – 27th July – Trans-European Classic Vehicle Road Trip

2018 Strada Vecchia Poster

Double Zed Ltd is pleased to announce that registration is open for next year’s Classic Vehicle run to Bardi, Italy

Strada Vecchia 2018 – Bardi 24th – 27th July is a trans-European classic vehicle road trip for teams of a minimum of 2 people. A UK to Italy Classic Vehicle journey along a classic AA-inspired route from the 1960s via France and Switzerland, with fun challenges (although this is not a race), grand hotels and in period vehicles.  Destination Bardi in the Italian Apennines.

We have lined up some fabulous Grand Hotels for our two overnight stopovers along the route which include supper and breakfast. Our accommodation in Bardi, due to the lack of any such hotels in the area, will be across several of the wonderful agriturismi/B&Bs in the area*.


Not far from the French town of Pontarlier and just inside the Swiss border the first overnight stopover point will be the Grand Hotel des Rasses. The hotel for our second night’s stopover on Lake Maggiore will be one of any four of the Zacchera group of Hotels below and will be assigned to the group two months before the event as this hotel group work on a so-called “roulette” formula.

There will be lots to do in Bardi as well as displaying your vehicles, including a local drive and our gala dinner and prize giving. A full itinerary will be given nearer the time. We are very happy to have been able to keep the price per person for this event to below £800 which works out at less than £200 per person per day. All you have to do is choose your team and get them to Calais any time after midnight, on the morning of July 24th 2018. This is not a race but a lot of fun competitive challenges await you so get booking as soon as you can. After we reach our 20 team target we cannot guarantee entry to any more teams.  You have till April 30th 2018 or until we reach those 20 teams to get a placing. Please go to the registration page on the website for more details and booking forms:

Keep an eye on the website for regular updates on our Hotels and other news.

Best wishes

Romano VIazzani and the Strada Vecchia Team

Bardi Castle
Bardi Castle











*Not all of these will be in the town itself but a free minibus service will run between the town Bardi and the B&Bs so drivers can relax and drink without needing to drive to their accommodation up mountain roads.

The town will also provide a watchman to keep an eye over the vehicles.

Please note that if you have a connection with Bardi, and may already have accommodation of your own or family then you may opt out of the accommodation for the last two nights of the event which will give you a per head price of £695 instead.

Strada Vecchia – Classic Road Trip – UK to Bardi, Italy 20th-23rd July 2017

Strada Vecchia 2017 Poster

Strada Vecchia – A nostalgic holiday for classic vehicle lovers or classic route lovers

Strada Vecchia (meaning “Old Road”) is an event with only a tenuous link to accordions (The link will be revealed to those taking part).  It is in fact a nostalgic road trip from the UK to Italy based on a 50-year-old route via France and Switzerland celebrating the early days of that post-war era when, after wartime austerity was finally over and finding themselves being able to afford a motor car, people first packed their families and suitcases into their only family car and ventured across the channel on an adventurous journey across our continent.

Ford Consul with roof rack
Ford Consul with roof rack









Things were not as easy as they are today where such a journey we take almost for granted. Preparation started well before departure. Cars needed to be serviced twice a year in the 60s. Roof racks were often mounted and tyres changed if needed. Green cards would be needed to cover insurance abroad. The AA and RAC could print you out long fold-over maps detailing the best route to your chosen destination. Petrol coupons could be bought to make petrol in some countries more affordable. One needed a different currency for every country one passed through and there were limits on the amount of cash one could take out of the country so one would need travellers cheques as credit cards were relatively rare and even more rarely accepted. Ferries would be booked as would some hotel accommodation along the route at a suitable stopover point. Some preferred to see how far they got then take pot luck that they would find a hotel with rooms available.

Silver City Freighter-Lydd Airport


Sealink Ferries





Then with every nook and cranny in the vehicle utilised for cramming in any holiday essentials they would set off. First stop was the ferry from Dover, Folkestone, Southampton or any other way to the continent. There was even a car-carrying aeroplane service from Lydd Airport in Kent that ferried cars across to Le Touquet. Who can forget the famous Hovercraft from Ramsgate and Dover which got you across the Channel in half an hour! Long queues at customs at every border control with officials looking through luggage to make sure nobody had too many packets of cigarettes or bottles of alcoholic beverages. If one chanced to see another UK number plate or GB sticker on a car one would inevitably toot or wave and even travel tracts of the road together for company only to wave good-bye when the routes diverged and one car would pull off the road. Inevitably one would stop for baguettes in France and maybe play some musette music on the tape cassette player or radio (if one could tune to a local channel) whilst cruising along those dead straight tree-lined hilly roads in France. At four o’clock a suitable “pull-in” would be sought at the side of the road and out would come the camping gas, the kettle, the tea bags, the thermos flask of cold milk and some warm custard creams that someone had partly crushed accidentally in the squeeze to fit more things into the car.

Pavesi Autogrill Milan

Cortemaggiore Petrol Station






There weren’t as many motorways in those days and once off the M2 in Kent one might not use one at all. The fledgling motorways seemed very glamorous with their space-age service stations and sunny names like L’Autoroute de Soleil or L’Autostrada del Sole. Later as the motorway network in Europe expanded some chose to take it whilst others remained faithful to the “old road”. If heading to Spain the Pyrennees would need to be scaled and if one was travelling to Italy the the Alps made a formidable obstacle with snowfall sometimes taking one by surprise at the top of a pass even in the summer months.  The Simplon Tunnel (once the longest tunnel in the world) offered (and still does today) a regular train ferry service between Brig in Switzerland and Iselle in Italy thus sparing the tired drivers and their vehicles the climb up the pass. One might sleep out for a second night or even a third.  The drive was part of the holiday and walking around a continental town by night and enjoying an ice-cream whilst hearing the trains whistle as they sped through the town station on their way to a more glamorous destination all added to the thrill of being there. Eventually the final destination would be reached and real relaxation would begin, but conversations with other holidaymakers or friends and family living abroad would be peppered with stories of how death was narrowly avoided when a tractor and cart pulled out in front of the car on that country road or how the fully laden car had to be pushed for half a mile to the petrol station because of an empty tank! Loads more of these funny stories are on the website.

Ford Zodiac on the Simplon Pass
Ford Zodiac on the Simplon
Alfa Romeo on the Simplon Pass
Alfa Romeo on the Simplon Pass

Relais du Mont D'Or









Tempted? Read on…

In a nutshell, Strada Vecchia aims to recreate this more leisurely approach to travel. It’s not a race but there’s loads of harmless competitive fun. The event starts on the 20th July and your destination is Bardi in the North West Italian Apennine moutains.  It’s a beautiful mountain village with a dramatic castle perched on a rock jutting out of a mountainside. You have to book your own ferry and two nights of accommodation according to your needs and your vehicle’s abilities. (on day one and day two) along the route but the package does include two dinners en route and 2 nights stay in Bardi and various other things outline on the website. Each car will have a tracker so progress can be charted on the Strada Vecchia Facebook page  Each team will have certain fun challenges to complete en route and will have to adhere to the 1967 route which will be provided as part of the package. There will be a place to exhibit your classic vehicle in the Piazza in Bardi (Non- classic vehicles may participate but will not be part of the classic car display). On the second day at the destination (Sunday 23rd July- Day 4 of the event) there will be a local cavalcade and then a gala dinner with trophy presentation.

This event will be limited to 20 vehicles so register early via the website. Teams of two minimum but the more you have in your team the cheaper it gets.  For more information please look at the website and register your interest until the registration documents are released on March 1st 2017. 

Bardi Castle
Bardi Castle