My route was from UAE (Skipping Iran), Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria and Italy.
During my course of travel I visited and spent a decent time in seven showrooms in different countries. Add Malaysia, India, Australia and US from my previous rides to that list to help you see the pattern.
The showrooms are inevitably dominated by a single color – Ducati Red, sprinkled with yellow, white and black Ducatis. The signboard has the classic Ducati white font on one side, mostly left, and the name of the dealership, mostly the name of the city, on the right.
During the Mission Red Planet all the showrooms were splattered with World Ducati Week livery. The whole world was preparing for the WDW it seemed!
In some showrooms there was a Ducati Caffe as well, which had nice white or red sofas to sit and read the latest issue of the Ducati Magazine on while sipping some nice, Ducati Coffee. The Ducati Magazine was another work of art. Fantastic paper quality and photos! Hopefully I will be seeing the Mission Red Planet being featured in the Ducati Magazine as well.
Then you have other stuff like Ducati coffee cup, coffee makers, coasters and almost anything that you can think of connecting various elements in the Caffe and the showroom. The Caffe is meant to be just a place to hang out with fellow Ducatistis and petrolheads, or when it is present along with a showroom and service center it can double up as a waiting lounge.
Undoubtedly the star of the show(room) these days was the fantastic Panigale, which inevitably enjoyed the prime spots.
Stick around a little bit more and there will be minor deviations visible from what perhaps seems like a standard template all across the showrooms. There will be personal touches from owners – like a custom deigned Ducati full wall creative in Sofia, Bulgaria or like the interiors which were heavily influenced by its owner in Ducati Istanbul. It becomes progressively clear that the dealers not only take personal stake, but deep interest in the showrooms as well, and treat them as their second home perhaps where guests, the Ducatistas, are of prime importance.
Stick around a bit more and your tour will be inevitably and intermittently interrupted by the arrival of a Ducati outside the showroom. The glass windows will vibrate under your palms as you peek outside to quickly assess what kind of Ducati and Ducatista he or she is. Maybe that will soon turn into a handshake and then into a friendship.
The showrooms and Caffes can quickly become your favorite place to meet more Ducatistas, and ultimately forcing you to buy one for yourself if you already don’t have one.
I was lucky to be under the aegis of such a powerful and passionate brand where I found friends despite the fact that the only common word that we both understood was Hello and Bye…
This time I was visiting the Fullgas showroom in Budapest, which was one of the best designed showrooms I had come across so far:
Me shooting the Red:
The showroom manager made me squiggle on a wall besides Paolo Pirozzi’s autograph.