GT Adventures: Mediterranean
Nowhere is better-suited to a sun-drenched driving adventure than the south of France or the Italian region of Tuscany.
Both areas feature some of the world’s finest roads and most beautiful destinations – from spectacular coastlines to vertiginous mountain passes and landscapes that have inspired history’s greatest artists. Just add the GT and you have all the ingredients you need to create the ultimate road trip.
The south of France contains an evocative roll call of roads long associated with motorsport, cycle racing and historic journeys: the Col de Vence, Col de Turini and 300km-long Route Napoleon, to name just three. But you don’t need to stay on the well-beaten track to find truly special tarmac, as there is an abundance of lesser-known and quieter passes as well as the more heavily populated, but frequently spectacular, coastline. It’s the perfect playground in which to enjoy the McLaren GT’s unique blend of athleticism and comfort.
Tuscany has a similar ability to turn any journey into an adventure, thanks to its breathtaking scenery and stunning roads. Highlights include the Val D’Orcia valley near Siena – beautiful enough to be a UNESCO World Heritage site – and, further north, the Futa and Raticosa passes, which are practically unchanged from when they formed part of the Mille Miglia during its 1950s heyday.
Whether you are seeking culture, cuisine, scenery or solitude, you will never cease to be surprised and delighted by the south of France. From the luxurious trappings of the Cote d’Azur, such as Monte-Carlo’s famous casino, to the prospect of a quiet mountain road all to yourself, even the most seasoned traveller will never tire of exploring the region. Tuscany offers a similar diversity of adventure, from a chance to experience both the art of the Renaissance and the areas that inspired it, to authentic Italian cuisine based around both region and season. Whichever waypoints you pick, there’s no better way to connect them than with a GT.
The Car Culture
The combination of peerless roads and luxury living has long drawn those in search of dynamic thrills to both the south of France and Tuscany, and they arrive from far afield in all types of performance machinery. The Italian love of supercars is well known, and genuinely does extend to the ones that don’t represent what the nation tends to regard as its home teams: journeys should be planned to include time for what will likely be an appreciative audience at every stop. Although enthusiastic, the French are likely to be less demonstrative, and in summer there is no better place to see an abundance of supercars – and talk to their owners – than the more fashionable parts of the Riviera.
While those searching for the very grandest hotels have no shortage of choice in this part of the world, the relaxed atmosphere of the Columbus – in Monaco’s Fontvieille district – offers a modern take on luxury. Once owned by former McLaren Formula 1 driver David Coulthard, the Columbus has been in the hands of L+R Hotels since 2010.
Il Falconiere, Cortona, Tuscany
With a terrace that features spectacular views over the hills of the Tuscan countryside, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers diners one of the finest panoramas in the world. The food is just as good, chef Richard Titi’s cuisine combining traditional cooking from the region with influences from world cuisine.