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Holiday times, do you remember mass migrations of 60 years ago?

Autogrill and the history of the Italian journey

This is the history of all of us about the first Italian highways and first Autogrills [tn. rest areas in highways]. Black and white images reminding us our childhood, parents, grandparents, according to our biography.

And that make us feel part of a big family photo album, not only made of pictures but also great cinema and television. The Fifties and the Sixties, the boom, the irresistible charm of that confidence that we are trying to find back. The mass migrations for summer holidays start right at the end of the Fifties and in the Sixties in the highways, even more crowded as years go by and cars increase. Fiat 500, 600, 1500 and then 124, filled to the brim with suitcases. And then, the craved departure.

Since then, Autogrills represent an important stage of the trip. Actually, they represent a kind of trip inside the trip.

Entrance in Autogrills represents a discovery of the world of the economic boom, of consumptions, of the chance to choose between many different items. A vertigo that in Italy precedes the one of supermarkets, which spread later, as Simone Colafranceschi told, a professor of contemporary history at the university of Roma Tre and author of Autogrill, una storia italiana [tn. Autogrill, an Italian history]. And which perfectly matches with the thrill of the travel, of the departure towards the sea. A break in rest areas meets the requirement to take refreshment along the route.

This is the time of full lunch meals, especially thought in order that drivers do not feel too bloated but also to be complete and tasty. They cost 750 liras and include consommé, roast-beef or grilled chicken with potatoes, chips, butter, cheese and crackers, soda Pavesi, cake with Pavesini biscuits.


'Il pollo ruspante' from the movie of Ugo Gregoretti  film Ro.Go.Pa.G 

The choice is not relying too much on challenging traditional dishes. A choice authoritatively approved by Mario Soldati, devotee of wine and food: «Nobody more than me loves genuine and old foods. That is why, maybe, I abhor to interrupt a hundred-fifty km/h race, and start it back at the same speed after a short break, expecting, in a short break, to gulp down sausages, household tortelli, game, local specialties, spicy and plentiful dishes […]. The old wine is welcome: the great old-style meals are welcome: but in due time and place. Along the highways, the Autogrill Pavesi, with their light and nutritious menus, and their fast service, are simply perfect: an unequalled and essential perfection».

As years go by the holiday mass migrations are increasing. The trunks are more spacious, but there is also the appearance of luggage rack to hold what is useful and unnecessary. Autogrill are modernized and are always integral part of the summer rite. With their multiform products that exert an irresistible charm that can be found also in the cinema.


Pasquale Ametrano at the Autogrill - Bianco Rosso e Verdone

As of the Nineties the mass migrations for holidays slowly start to change. Holidays become shorter as time goes by, but travels more frequent. A trend that is stressed in the third millennium. Autogrills go along with this evolution. Until the upturn represented by the new autogrill Villoresi Est, risen up on the autolaghi in front of the historical one built in the Fifties.

This is the future Autogrill, an all-round sustainability project that obtained the LEED-Gold certification, for planning and realization in compliance with the energy efficiency standards and ecological footprint of the LEED Protocol - New Construction for retail, and the label of Quality Design For all thanks to the accessibility of its rooms. A volcano-shaped facility gradually emerging from the territory up to reach a height of 27.5 metres. But the upturn is not only in shapes and eco-sustainability. It can be found also in service and method to enjoy the break.

We want to meet the requirements of customers becoming even more diversified. The trend is the lacking of time. But there is also who, good for them, have more time available and want to take their time. They are mainly foreign tourists that, in an increasing number, visit Italy. That is why in the place an ideal division between a fast path, for people needing a fast break, and a slow path, for food service and retail service with a more relaxed mood, has been traced.

You have also the chance to undertake an innovative travel in the traditional kitchen and international culinary proposals, with an offer ranging from oven baked goods to luxury refreshments and from DOP and PGI products up to wheat gluten and tofu. In the fast pathway there is a “grab&go” offer of ready-made dishes and snacks, and a range of wine and food excellences of the Italian territory. There is a point where both pathways meet. In that area there is a delicatessen concept for everyone with a range of luxury pastries and chocolates. The pleasure of a break in Autogrill, hence, is for everyone, any is the available time and the holiday duration: one or two months, like in old good days, or a weekend, like it happens even oftener.

Therefore, when after loading luggage we start driving to enter in that timeless dimension we call holidays and, through the rite of the break in Autogrill, we are ideally connected to that red string that joins all the Italian mass migrations, from the Fifties until today. Either we choose to have a long break or we have just a cut and run, loyal to the fast food spirit.