DRIVEN’s West Coast correspondent Jonathon Ramsey recently returned from Rome where he had the chance to test out the eye-popping new Lamborghini Aventador.

Read on for his report from the field:

The Via Vittorio Veneto is the address of Rome’s most selective dens and a celebration of Italy’s finest moments:

Our setting for testing the Aventador: Rome’s storied Via Vittorio Veneto

Final victory in WWI, the final strains of unification, the Piazza Barberini and Palazzo Margherita, and of course, Marcello Mastroianni’s desultory search for La Dolce Vita.

It is a storm of wealth and history and spirit, tucked into a scant 800 meters.

Click to enlarge

Apropos, then, that via Veneto is where we tasted the Lamborghini Aventador.

An even scantier 4.8 meters, it is also a vault of wealth and history and spirit:

The $380,000 supercar is a vault of wealth and history and spirit

The $380,000 hellion had its genesis 40 years ago in the original, otherwordly Countach, and the V12 evolution carried on through a Taurean bloodline of equally outrageous supercars known as the Diablo and the Murcielago.

To that ancestry has been added technology like a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, a transmission that can swap cogs in 50 milliseconds, and design cues from the Reventόn.

Or rather, angles and creases that suggest a Decepticon.

Click to enlarge

If Lamborghini had named it Ravage or Bombshell or Scourge, we wouldn’t be surprised, yet the Aventador is named after a fighting bull.

It’s the kind of alien machine that blackens the sky behind it

And although roughly the same size as the Murcielago, it trades that coupe’s malicious-scarab looks for something even more venal – the kind of alien machine that blackens the sky behind it, bringing a storm that will rain dark, angry things.

Hear the wail of 700 horsepower erupt from its wide diamond of a central exhaust, and you will know there is no color than can tame it.

Click to enlarge

We unleashed it fully at the 4.1-kilometer, ten-turn Autodromo Vallelunga.

The Aventador’s cockpit remains cozy, but is much more luxurious and braced with polished function.

Rest a hand on the central buttress, lift the red tab and press the Start button.

Absolutely everything happens so quickly you almost don’t have time to enjoy the instruments

It defaults in Strada mode and will shift for you, but one touch later we’re in Sport, and in command.

Command, and attention, being the operative words.

Sixty miles an hour happens in 2.7 seconds – in fact, absolutely everything happens so quickly you won’t have time to enjoy the gleaming, digital tryptich of instruments in the dash.

Click to enlarge

Grab the wheel and demand action and the Aventador will bolt for the setting sun, the a Formula-One-style pushrod suspension firm but never punishing, the coupe dancing a tad when braking hard from beyond 150 mph – but unless you’re being utterly brainless the all-wheel drive will get you around the next corner.

You’re not sure if the Aventador thinks you’re late for an appointment with Satan or if the car actually is Satan

Quickly.

Move from Sport to Corsa and that alacrity turns to an explosion as gears are swapped in half the time it takes to blink, and you aren’t sure if the Aventador thinks you’re late for an appointment with Satan or if the car actually is Satan.

No matter which one might be true, we love it.

Click to enlarge

Returning to via Veneto and retiring to Elle, the tony club just a skip from our hotel, we discovered Vin Diesel celebrating the opening weekend of his latest flick in the box across from ours.

The Fast and the Furious meets La Dolce Vita

It was an apt end to the day: The Fast and the Furious had met The Sweet Life – and we knew its name was “Aventador.”

J.R.

Click to enlarge