Next up on the agenda was the assembly line, where four Aventadors and five Gallardos leave the factory each day. Other than the persistent hum of the machinery, every worker goes about his or her job in eerie silence, with a level of fastidiousness that will make Audi, the company’s German owners, proud.
While the assembly line where Aventadors are “birthed” was accessible to visitors, the Gallardo’s wasn’t. The latter is currently being re-jigged (when I was there) to accommodate the production of the Huracan, and I was under strict orders not to even sniff the air surrounding it or, in the words of my guide, risk being “drowned in a giant bowl of spaghetti bolognese”.
The thing is, she wasn’t smiling when she said it, leaving me to wonder if a place to carry out culinary capital punishment actually exists on the factory’s grounds.
Over in the upholstery section, workers (mostly female, in contrast to the all-male assembly line) inspect, measure, cut and sew every piece of cowhide to ensure the dramatic visual impact of a Lamborghini applies inside the cockpit as well. Only the finest leather is harvested for this (12 specially bred cows are needed to furnish the interior of just one car), and they come in more colours than an explosion in a paint factory.
The final stop was the realisation of any petrolhead’s fantasy: the museum. Spread out over two floors, the exhibits include some mouth-watering one-off concepts, limited editions and prototypes.
Among the cars on display are the four-door Estoque, the roofless Gallardo Concept S and the Sesto Elemento. It isn’t all modern cars, however. There are nods to Lamborghini’s past, including the Miura, the Countach LP400 and even what the automaker touts as the world’s first luxury SUV, the LM002 from the 1980s.
The Lamborghini factory and museum are a glorious celebration of the flamboyant stuff that boyhood dreams are made of. Not bad for a company that got its start making tractors.
Before we left the grounds, we had to ask our guide: Can you buy a Lamborghini in rosso corsa, the signature shade of its “next door neighbour” and arch-rival Ferrari?
She replied with a grin: “Of course you can. We’ll just charge you more!”
If Sant’Agata is hallowed ground for those who worship four-wheelers, its two-wheeled equivalent would surely be in the district of Borgo Panigale, just a five-minute train ride from Bologna’s city centre.
That’s because one of the most storied marques in motorcycling, Ducati, has its factory and museum there. As someone who favours two wheels over four (very slightly), I had to suppress a minor fanboy moment (or several) during my visit.