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The Oldest Car Race in the World

In 1906, Vincenzo Florio, started the Targa Florio car race, an open road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near Palermo. It was part of the world sportscar championship and until 1977 the oldest sports car racing event. The first races consisted of an island tour, (later reduced to the 72 km of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, which was lapped 11 times). Notoriously difficult and dangerous, many of the famous names in car design competed over the years including Ferrari, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes and Porsche. After winning the race several times, Porsche named the hardtop convertible version of the 911 after the Targa.


In 1932 Florio became the first Italian producer of Marsala, and built splendid cellars in the town's tuff rock ... The town of Marsala is on the western coast of Sicily not far from Trapani and here inside a 19th century 'Baglio' are home to the Florio Cellars overlooking the sea.

As I sat on the flower filled terrace at Villa Igeia (once home to the Florio family) I worked on some earlier sketches taken from a lunette I had admired near Via della Liberta that leads towards the Giardini Inglese. The fig tree, whose symbolism I had so enjoyed at the Norman Monreale, reappeared here again in a more stylised form. I named the designs Florio after the family and a cuff and earrings of different sizes now appear in my Sicilian collection.

florio jewels