Our dear friend Piero Coppi phoned a few weeks ago, wondering when we were going to make our annual pilgrimage to Castellania where he's the ex-mayor as well as first cousin to the the Campionissimo, Fausto Coppi.
To be frank, we weren't sure we'd be able to visit this year, but when Piero Coppi calls, you better answer!
Some emails to our clients arriving early for More Monferrato (which starts today) confirmed they were up for a visit. It's just an hour away in the van, so the plan was to load up the bikes and ride some of the famous "Strade Coppi" to the tiny town of Castellania.
As you can see above, Piero was ready-and-waiting when we arrived. We toasted with not your ordinary sparking wine - he had bottles from Francesco Moser complete with the "51.151" (his hour record distance) label...what a guy!!!
We visited the tombs and the reliquary, complete with some classic stories from Piero about his famous cousins.
And then took a look at a recent installation, a bronze of the Campionissimo created for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.
Few seem to think this a great likeness of the Campionissimo, but it's the thought that counts, right?
Next, as usual we retreated to Piero's favorite - Osteria del Poeta Pescatore for pranzo.
After a tearful arrivederci to our friend Piero, we capped the day with a visit to the Museo dei Campionissimi in nearby Novi Ligure.