Che bella! 21st Annual Concorso Italiano

Still plenty of memories to share with all of you from last week's automotive orgy in Monterey and Pebble Beach. Today's coverage is from the Concorso Italiano. Originally held at Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club as a Maserati Club International meet in 1981, the Concorso Italiano has grown to become one of the largest annual gatherings of all things Italian. "A celebration of Italian style," it covers Italian music, cuisine, fashion and tourism, as well as those exquisite cars we all love for their passion. The show gave up its former digs to the Quail show and now takes place at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey Bay, allowing a much bigger field of cars and more elbow room for the huge crowds this show always attracts.

Follow the jump for more details and a mega gallery of wallpapers.

Not as strictly judged as Pebble or as exclusive as Quail, Concorso is the place to take a break and soak up the Italian atmosphere.

We ran into Lamborghini test driver extraordinaire Valentino Balboni admiring a Miura.

We saw 100 308s all lined up like some factory production line photo. We listened as owner after owner came down between the grandstands to show off and talk about their vehicles. We learned about the 100 years of Lancia, 100 years of Targa Florios, 50 years of Giugiaro designs, 35 years of Panteras and the tiny manufacturer Apollo, who was one of the first Euro-American ventures.

Along the way we passed Boras, Miuras, Mangustas, Spiders, Spyders, and Scorpions,

as well as a gorgeous Vignale bodied Ferrari, a Fulvia rally car....

...even a fresh-from-the-Flats, salt-caked, Bonneville-record-setting F40.

And this being an Italian themed show, there was plenty of music, food, wine and girl watching as well. "Che bella" could have been just as easily spoken about the cars as the women.

We wandered around the picnic grove that was the Ferrari corral.

Stopped in a few tents along the half-mile long vendor row that doubled as Maserati/Alfa/Lancia/other corral.

Checked out the non-Italian makes assembled across the way near the Kruse Auctions tent. Mostly German, but a few Brits and Yanks as well. And then we hit the hotspot of the show, Lambo land.

Sharing the prime spot with DeTomaso this year, the Lamborghini zone was like the hottest club in Miami Beach. The models and music and cars were all kicked up a few notches and showed what the younger Italians might prefer. Definitely more sizzle and shake for those looking for some action. With that much excitement the thought of taking photos seemed a distant memory unfortunately. The party seemed to want to continue all weekend long, but the light started fading and so did the crowd.

Although not a judged event per se, a beautiful Bizzarrini Strada won Best of Show, and Chris Wong's wicked black Diablo 6.0 won in the People's Choice category. Overall it was quite a fun day in Italia, and a lot cheaper than airfare to Rome. Enjoy some of the highlights in the wallpaper-sized gallery below.

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