You got to know Madonna di Campiglio early on in your career. What did it mean for you to live here in the “Pearl of the Brenta Dolomites”? What did it leave you with?
It left me with a great many wonderful memories that I will take with me always. As for my career, it is there that I learned to achieve a lot with limited resources. It was life experience, not just work experience, and at times I miss it, and I think that I was very fortunate to have lived and worked in such a beautiful place - a setting that, once you’ve left to pursue other challenges, makes you realize how special it is. I do miss it in many ways, but it makes me happy again when I can come back here and enjoy the beauty, even if only for a few days.
Past, present and future. What was Madonna di Campiglio like back then? How do you see it now? And how would you like it to be in a few years?
Campiglio back then.... Perhaps there were greater values, a greater connection with local tradition and history. I remember Franco’s panini at Laghetto, the pastries at Giorgetto Stefani’s dairy, and the Beltrami brothers’ Stork Club where entire generations of young people passed the time. I remember the “old” Montanara, Bar Maturi (at the bus stop) and Bar Alpi, the most popular café for the locals and where tourists would also try to get in - or Suisse, where it was the other way around as local kids tried to mingle with the locale’s VIP clientele. Then there was the shop of the legendary Bisti, black-and-white photos of which still adorn the walls of many cafés, shops and hotels. Or the Artini brothers’ polenta concia at Montagnoli, the Ballo delle Guide, and world cup skiing and 3Tre working hard to welcome teams from around the world for the slalom and giant slalom competitions. Some of these places don’t exist anymore.
There is no future without solid roots in the pastOthers have changed, evolved, to adapt to the needs of today. Sometimes rightly so, but other times leaving a sense of regret; but the times change, and the world moves on. I remember one day I was chatting with Claudio at Ristorante Genzianella, who had just changed his menu in an attempt to adapt to the need of a more sophisticated clientele. I complained, saying that city folks ate food all year round, even for - let’s say - work reasons, that was more about design than substance. I told Claudio he should go back to the old menu, bring back the tradition of local, homemade cuisine, so that people could, at least when on vacation, eat a truly traditional, homecooked meal. He listened to me, and I think this is a good example to keep in mind of how there can be no future without solid roots in the past. Nowadays, things are changing, but there are young people in Campiglio who are working hard, particularly in volunteer work, with sports organizations, on historical reenactments like the Habsburg Festival, or in their businesses, like Roberto Maroni at Chalet Fiat and many others who are following this example.
What do you think are Campiglio’s strengths to be protected and promoted? What are the weaknesses to be worked on?
The main strength is the environment. The weaknesses… well, those certainly don’t come from nature - especially in summer - because I believe that this is where Campiglio has an extraordinary gift, and not even from the wonderful lift facilities. I think they come from those people who, as often happens in Italy, spend more time criticizing that working together for the good of us all.
We know about the affection you still have for this tourist destination, but can you describe it in a few words?
When I’m in Campiglio, even for just a few hours or a few days, I feel the peace, serenity and joy of spending time with a few good friends: Gigi, Dario, Walter, Claudio, Robi, Adriano.... I often think this is the place where I like to be
In 1991, the annual press event “Wrooom” was created. It became an international event and has been called “the 21st Grand Prix”. How did the idea come about? And what have been some of the most memorable moments?
On today’s F1 calendar, Wrooom could be like the twenty-second event of the year. It all began, like the book says, with four friends (Botti, Franco Bisti, Lidio, and Ercole Colombo) at a café. Just an ordinary PR event for the press that, in just a few year, became something huge. The moments I remember? There’ve been a lot: the Ferrari F1 car and Luca Badoer taking on the ice track on the frozen lake many years before Red Bull would do something similar; Ducati on the ice with Vittoriano Guareschi; or Bernie Ecclestone, who looked up from Spinale at the Brenta mountain range and said, “Where have you been hiding all this beauty?” Above all, I remember the Italian and international journalists who, by June and despite being busy with the Grand Prix races, were already asking if they would be invited to the event this year. And finally, I remember the walks, the skiing, the talking and the laughing, the business and the good times, with Michael Schumacher and with a great many other champions who have come there.
What can you tell your Campiglio friends about your new experience as the team principal for Ferrari?
An experience becomes experience when it’s in the past, but I’m still experiencing it now. I could liken it to being in a roped climbing party, always looking upward and paying attention to every move, assessing what lies before you and being aware of what’s going on behind you, guiding your climbing companions with courage, trust, the utmost determination and - why not? - even a bit of fear, because it is that fear that, at times, teaches you to assess and face risks as you climb for the summit.
Could there be room, in the future, for other collaborations between motor racing, Ferrari, and Madonna di Campiglio?
I don’t think so, but never say never.
You need to act with honesty, courage, and loyalty.
Are people born leaders or entrepreneurs? Or is it something we learn?
I’m no entrepreneur, so I respect those who are. To be a leader, you need to be someone who acts with an entrepreneurial spirit, accepting your responsibilities and guiding and respecting your team. You need to act with honesty, courage, and loyalty. You aren’t the one who has to declare yourself a leader; if those who work for you see you as one, they’ll let you know!