A Visit to the Morbidelli Museum in Pesaro, Italy.

The Morbidelli Museum in Pesaro, Italy.

The Morbidelli Museum in Pesaro, Italy.

Sometimes we find important motorcycle stuff in the least likely places. Pesaro is a sleepy little Italian city (population less than 100,000) on the Adriatic coast just about 1/3 of the way down the Italian peninsula and more or less directly east of Florence. Tourism, fishing, and the furniture industry are staples of the local economy. Fun fact: Graziano Rossi, father of many time world champion Valentino Rossi, is a native of Pesaro. But wait, as they say in the late night TV ads, there’s more. Jump back to that last comment about the furniture industry. Craftsmen working in wood require a variety of special tools – both manual and machine tools as well. In Pesaro, in the ’60s, one very reputable source for precision woodworking machine tools was Morbidelli – founded and operated by one Giancarlo Morbidelli. In that time frame Giancarlo’s business flourished and provided the necessary capital for Morbidelli to indulge his true passion for motorcycling and motorcycle racing. Beginning in 1969 in the 50cc class the tiny Pesaro based firm began entering Grand Prix races throughout Europe. By 1971 they were winning races in the 125cc class with a liquid cooled, rotary valve bike entirely of their own design. World Championships soon followed, first in the 125cc class in 1975, ’76 and ’77. A 250 class championship was added in 1977. Morbidellis were successfully raced in various categories up until 1982. All the while, Giancarlo Morbidelli was also quietly gathering up a substantial collection of significant motorcycles, both street and racing, which have now come to be displayed in his own private museum. It’s situated right there in the industrial heart of Pesaro, in the same building where the woodworking tools and all those racing bikes were produced some four decades ago. The more than 300 motorcycles in the museum, opened in 1999, capture both the detailed history of Morbidelli’s Grand Prix racing success and also the history of motorcycling itself, especially as it applies to moto-mad Italy. But make no mistake, there are a wide number of marques on display from Harley Davidson, the the big four Japanese, and a vast selection of other Europeans, to a wide variety of tiny Italian brands seldom seen here in the USA such as Linto, Ringhini, and Cimatti. The Morbidelli Museum is literally a complete compendium of motorcycling from just after the dawn of the 20th centruy through the 1980s. Below are just a few pics from my recent visit and private tour conducted by Giancarlo Morbidelli himself, now well into his 80s. Sadly, the Morbidelli Museum does not keep regular hours but, if you ever have occasion to travel in this part of Italy, see if you can arrange a visit. The pertinent contact info, as well as a lot more information and pictures can be found at http://www.museomorbidelli.it/

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Some 350 motorcycles, all brillantly displayed fill the numerous aisles of the Morbidelli Museum.

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Among the most famous of Morbidellis, the 850cc V-8. Built in very limited quantities in the 1990s, it was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the world’s most expensive motorcycle. Perhaps more accessible to Americans, another example of the Morbidelli V-8 resides in the Barber Museum in Alabama.

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Check out the name on the windscreen. I believe it is legally required in Italy for any motorcycle museum to have some manner of tribute to Valentino Rossi! Vale’s father, Graziano, successfully raced Morbidelli’s in the 250GP class.

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The museum is not just filled with motorcycles but fascinating memorabilia.

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A very complete selection of historic Morbidelli racing motorcycles fills an entire separate gallery.

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The Morbidelli racing gallery also includes an extensive collection of racing souvenirs and memorabilia.

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Ahead of it’s time. In 1942, during the height World War II, Benelli kept themselves occupied with this – a four cylinder, liquid cooled, supercharged 250cc bike that made over 50 hp at 13,000 rpm. Talk about technically advanced!

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Learning more about this Pre-War Benelli 175 GP Racer from Giancarlo Morbedelli himself.

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Bad picture. Incredible bike. 1964 Ducati, four cylinder, twin-cam, four valve 125cc GP racer. 23bhp at 14,000 rpm.

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One last look at the rows upon rows of incredible historic motorcycles at the Morbidelli Museum.

If the opportunity ever presents itself you need to visit this museum! Again, more info and pics can be found at http://www.museomorbidelli.it  And, to make things even more interesting, the recently re-opened Benelli Museum is just about 5 minutes away. http://www.officinebenelli.it/ Make a day of it!

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