Our intrepid editor recently returned from Italy where he had a chance encounter with one of the world’s most beautiful vehicles.

Here’s his report from behind the wheel:

“What time can you get to Sant’Agata tomorrow morning?”

Rather fortuitously, we’d just finished buying some very beautiful driving gloves at Madova when the call came.

Ducking down an alleyway off Florence’s bustling Via de’ Guicciardini, we put the iPhone to our ear and heard the magic words:

“What time can you get to Sant’Agata tomorrow morning?”

Driving gloves at Florence’s Madova, est. 1919; click to enlarge

A Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder became available and we were summoned north

After attempting for several weeks to arrange a visit and test-drive at Lamborghini’s famed HQ near Bologna while on a jaunt to Italy, we’d all but given up hope.

It seems the automaker was too busy preparing for the Geneva Auto Show to indulge the high-octane fantasies of a pleasure-seeking sybarite.

At the last minute, however, a Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder became available and we were summoned north.

Lamborghini HQ, Sant’Agata Bolognese; click to enlarge

It would, of course, mean canceling our carefully made plans to see the cultural marvels of Florence.

It took all of two seconds to choose Lamborghini over Leonardo

And it took all of two seconds to choose Lamborghini over Leonardo.

It was warm and sunny, but up in the hills there would still be snow on the ground.

In the AM, we threw on a tweed hacking jacket from Lands’ End Canvas, a silk Polo scarf, slim-cut Dockers San Franciscos, Tod’s drivers, Paul Smith shades and a custom Project X “Stealth” Submariner to keep track of flying time.

A religious encounter in Sant’Agata; click to enlarge

A speedy train ride later, we arrived in Sant’Agata to be greeted by a bright-blue beauty with lines the Renaissance master himself would surely have slavered over.

We encountered a priest paying his respects to the shrine of speed

We took it as a good sign that in the Gallardo-festooned waiting room, we also encountered a cassock’d priest apparently paying his respects to the shrine of speed.

“Forgive me father for I am about to sin,” we murmured, nodding to the 550-2 being made ready for us by Lambo’s technicians.

Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder; click to enlarge

“Bless you my son,” he told us with a smile, “and go to it.”

We put on a pair of our new gloves and jabbed the start button

At least we think that’s what he said. Given our poor grasp of Italian, it may well have been “Get the hell out of here.”

Either way, we were more than happy to comply.

Pausing long enough only to ascertain that both the navigation and iPod hookup were functioning, we put on a pair of our new gloves and jabbed the start button.

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A mellifluous, window-rattling roar shook the building and we incautiously applied more pressure to the accelerator.

We were reminded that it does 0-100 km/h in a mere 4.2 seconds

And that’s when we were promptly reminded that the thing does 0-100 km/h in a mere 4.2 seconds.

Shooting past the startled Sant’Agata gatekeeper, we were soon barreling down some industrial byway, stuck behind a cement mixer.

But not for long.

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The nimble roadster made short work of any obstacle that didn’t have the good grace to simply pull over and wave us on.

Marveling at the absence of carabinieri, we made our way at about Mach 2

And while you’d think anyone driving near Sant’Agata must be quite familiar with the sight of lightning-quick Lamborghinis, judging by the flapping jaws it’s a spectacle that never fails to turn heads.

Marveling at the absence of carabinieri, we made our way at about Mach 2 to the nearest castle to take photos of our new playmate.

Only much later did we realize the sneaky bastards had some of those speed camera things set up.

At Castello di Guiglia; click to enlarge

(Note to self: submit expenses.)

The perfect backdrop for the ridiculously beautiful Spyder

The mélange of mellow stucco and stone made the perfect backdrop for the ridiculously beautiful Spyder.

Soon we were back on the road scouting another location, seeking out less populated routes where we could blast the Black Keys and really put our moccasins down.

Winding into the hills in the warm sun, we tested the reflexes of the wicked blue lightning bolt and were rewarded with one of the best driving adventures we’ve ever had.

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And that’s coming from a man who handles beautiful cars for a living.

The Lambo’s exhaust smelled as sweet and fragrant as woodsmoke

As anyone who’s spent time at the wheel of a mid-engine convertible can tell you, foul exhaust fumes can be an issue that infringes on your enjoyment.

But the Lambo’s effusions smelled as sweet and fragrant as woodsmoke on an autumn evening.

Perhaps it was just a side effect of the intoxicating experience in the driver’s seat, but we doubt it.

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Our original plan was to sample various local delicacies en route, but that would have required too much time not actually behind the wheel.

We plied the paddles on the scenic route back to Lambo HQ

We settled for a quick cheese sandwich cajoled from an off-duty taverna worker awed by the sight of the spaceship alighting in her front yard.

All too soon, of course, the Stealth Sub told us that it was time to head back to Sant’Agata for a tour of Lamborghini’s museum before closing time (more on that later).

Project X Ltd. Edition Stealth Mk II Rolex Submariner, Madova driving gloves and Lands’ End Canvas tweed jacket; click to enlarge

Wondering how far we’d get if we simply lit out for the border

We plied the paddles on the scenic route back, wondering how far we’d get if we simply lit out for the border.

A foolish notion you might think—but then you weren’t the one faced with having to let go of that wicked wheel…

JPS

Click to enlarge; ALL PHOTOS © JARED PAUL STERN FOR DRIVEN