While studying abroad in Florence WAY back when, I had my dream bike with me. One long weekend in January of '92, I took the train to Grosseto to meet il Signore. That was the name given to Irio Tommasini in an article I stripped from its issue long ago. I had been a fan of Tommasini since I had started riding, the name sounding as sexy and utterly Italian as the wild-colored bikes he produced. Of course, the late 80's in rural Iowa was not the best place to learn about Italian cycling masterpieces.
Daughter Barbara met me at the train station and I proceeded to stumble through as much Italian as my submersion class could give me in just three weeks. The family was so welcoming. After touring the factory, I ended up having lunch with them before spending a good part of the afternoon with Irio in his office and then doing a bit of shopping before getting down to the business at hand... I wanted my Racing repainted in a pearl white with the tricolor as bands.
I managed to snap as many photos as I could of the Monte Amiatas, Velocistas, Diamantes and Super Prestiges before heading back to Florence with my empty bike box.
Since then, I've run into Irio, Barbara and others from the factory, most recently at last year's l'Eroica. He's always remembered me as the Cannondale guy when we've bumped into each other at the trade shows, even though I was still a year from landing a job when we first met... way back in '92!