The Belle Époque (The Beautiful Age) coincides with the period of Edwardian extravagance so well depicted in the now famous TV series “Downton Abbey”. During this era at the turn of the 20th century, Paris was the epicenter of fashion and art , London of society and class, Vienna of intellectual activity. New York’s own golden age was based on money, that classic American value!
There was an ebullient atmosphere everywhere , decadent and magnificent at the same time, coinciding with the momentous changes brought by modern inventions including wireless communication the automobile, and the airplane. The privileged and moneyed classes enjoyed lives of extravagant luxury in sharp contrast to the desperate lives of the under classes, urban and rural. This contrast was even more evident in Sicily, where so many still endured medieval conditions. Palermo was one of Europe’s capitals of the period, visited regularly by royalty including the Czar of Russia and Germany’s Kaiser.
During those same years Vincenzo Florio, scion of Sicily’s leading family, created his eponymous race, the Targa Florio. He was only 23 when its first edition took place in 1906, but the honor commitee included the presidents of the Automobile Clubs of the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Florio intended Sicily to be at the center of the blossoming new world of auto racing . He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, and his story is being made into a movie titled ” Pistons, Passions & Sicilian Pleasures”. It will recount the early life of Vincenzo Florio and his friend and protege’ Felice Nazzaro, destined to become one of the greatest drivers of all time.
As a prelude to the release of the film, Upfolds Publishing has produced a companion book released in December 2013.
The book narrates the experience of making this film. It is rich in illustration both historical and modern. The photographic artist, Becca Parker, captures both the beautiful landscapes of Sicily and the excitement of one hundred year old racing cars, reliving the passions of the Targa Florio, the oldest race in the world.
The book is a hard covered coffee table style in high definition. It is priced to sell at £40 including Post & Packing in the UK, and to worldwide destinations £30 plus Post & Packing.
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