Boomer Flash Back:  1967 European Car of the Year … the FIAT 124 Spider.  To celebrate the 50 year anniversary of this seductive Italian sports car, I’m taking Italian Style to the streets of Ottawa with the NEW 2017 FIAT 124 Spider Classica from Ottawa’s Capital Dodge Dealership.

 

Adreanne Budd is the Ottawa’s Capital Dodge FIAT expert and with the flick of a wrist she has the top down (it literally takes 30 seconds) and invites me to get comfortable in the luxurious hand stitched leather seats that fit like a glove. Now, I am no car expert, but from the moment I slip into this classic Rosso (red) beauty, I can feel the thrill of a real sports car. The leather wrapped steering wheel, one touch start button and rear back up camera gives me the confidence to get this baby on the road. Top down … engine revved (164 horsepower and 184 lb-ft torque) … ready for take off … Ciao Ottawa!

Well … you didn’t think I would do this alone did you?  After a short speed test (honestly, I stayed within the limits … almost, I mean it is a sports car!) I handed over the controls to my man for the real drive test.  We may not be Italian but we are for today.  And what do Italians do on a sunny weekend in a sexy red FIAT 124 Spider?  Let’s find out … ps I did live in Italy for 11 years, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert.  Food and wine are definitely in the mix … but that comes later.  Although Italians love to eat out, there is nothing like a home cooked meal … just like mamma prepares.  For that,  fresh ingredients are a must!

The Westborough Farmers Market is almost like shopping in the markets of Italy … fresh tomatoes, zucchini and garlic are on the menu.  But let’s head across town to the Byward Market and my favourite Italian grocery shop.  Our recipe calls for, real Parmigiana Reggiano, mascarpone and extra virgin olive oil.

When I first moved back to Canada, La Bottega Nicastro became my second home …  they are literally “famiglia”.   It feels like Italy, smells like Italy and tastes like Italy!  And best of all, many of the staff speak Italian, so every shopping experience is an opportunity to practice my language skills.  As you can see, the FIAT 124 Spider fits right into the scene and is getting some admiring looks from the men!

We can’t do Italian in Ottawa without a visit to Little Italy.  Wood oven margarita pizza and a Moretti Birra at La Favorita on Preston Street … classica Italiana just like my Classica FIAT 124 Spider!  With our bellies full and our shopping complete we need to have some fun Italian style!

The scenic Rockcliffe Parkway provides some sharp curves and fine straightaways to test out the 124 Spider’s aerodynamics.  Remarkably quiet, even with the top down, the FIAT 124 boasts acoustic windshield glass and added insulation.  This may be a replica of the 1967 FIAT 124 Spider but the 2017 model features a hands-free communication system and 9 speaker Bose Premium Sound System.  This classic beauty is a true pleasure to drive.

Take it from me … you can drive Italian Style right here in Ottawa.  Visit my friends at Jim Durrell’s Capital Dodge and test drive the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider Classica, Lusso or Abarth and escape the everyday with the top down and the freedom to fly!  I’ll leave you with this hilarious FIAT video … BOOMERS will get a kick out of this!