The Amici Della Lambda Team has been organizing meetings to celebrate the Lancia Lambda Birthday for the past 25 years. Every 5 years, people from all over the world such as United States, Australia, New Zeland, Japan, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden,  Italy… have gathered in Fobello after a very long trip, just to stay together and meet with old friends. Travelling alone, or in small groups, across the ocean and the Alps with family and friends, thanks to a reliable and solid Lambda, makes you see life from a brand new prospective and creates bonds that last for a lifetime.


The History of the Amici Della Lambda Fobello Rally 

Fobello is a small mountain village in the Valsesia region of Piedmont, named after the river Sesia, about 2 hrs North East of Turin. It was here that Vincenzo Lancia was born on the 24th August 1881, lived and was buried there after his death, on the 15th February 1937.

In 1991 an International Lambda rally in Turin, run by the Italian Lancia club, celebrated the 70th anniversary of the first Lambda prototype being test driven up to the Mont Cenis pass on September 1st 1921, by unveiling a small plaque attached to the rock face on the Italian side of the pass.  Quite independently, Harry Scott, Ian Young and Pat Ure had had the idea to stage a rally from England to Fobello for the anniversary, they wanted to indicate that it was not for all Lancia Motor Club members, but, specifically for Lambdas, and so invented the name Amici Della Lambda (Friends of the Lambda). Around 50 Lambdas attended the Italian event, including 25 who had driven across Europe to take part. 17 of these were from Britain and they also included Ron Jacob who brought his car from New Zealand, and an Artena belonging to Hugo Modderman, driven by Terry Julien from Australia.  This group joined the Italian club at the Italian border after crossing the Mont Cenis pass.

Following the celebrations in Turin, the British cars drove to Varallo, a small town in the valley below Fobello.  Pat had organised accommodation for them at the Sacro Monte (Sacred Mountain) monastery, which is a World Heritage site. The hotels were the Casa Del Pellegrino overlooking the town below and the Albergo Sacro Monte lower down, with the cars parked in the drive of the nunnery below for safety. 3 couples stayed in the Albergo Monte Rosa hotel in the town. The next day, 1st September, the Lambdas drove the 15km to Fobello along the twisty mountain road, perfect for the Lambdas, to pay their respects at Vincenzo’s grave.

Fobello is a very small village and as the Lambdas drove into the square, the handful of residents sitting outside the café stood up and clapped. Pat and her brother Mike tried to walk up the drive to the Lancia family mansion, La Monta, but it was impassable, overgrown with vegetation and with a chain across it.  As Fobello did not have a restaurant, the anniversary lunch had been booked at the Albergo “La Montanina” in Cervatto, after a visit to the cemetery.  The anniversary lunch was also held there in 1996.

Unknown to them, a group of young men from Varallo who all owned modern Lancias, including many Fulvias, followed the Lambdas up the valley and stood guard over them in the car park in Cervatto, mainly so they could have a good look round the old cars!  

When Pat returned to Varallo in the spring of 1995 to plan the next rally, it was just after a dreadful landslide which blocked the road to the Sacro Monte. She stayed at the Albergo Monte Rosa in Varallo and the owner, Carlo Del Boca, asked if she would meet some young enthusiasts from the town.  Eraldo Botta, Giorgio Andreotti and Stefano Rigamonti, arrived  and told Pat they had guarded the cars in Cervatto in 1991, and that they had not only been astonished at the “mad” British who drove their old Lancias over the Alps to pay their respects to their own local hero, but were also in admiration of the Lambda owners. 

They also explained they had decided to create a local Lancia Club and call it the Valsesia Lancia Story, (not the Italian, storia), because of the British Lambdas coming to Fobello.  The rest, as they say, is history.

At some later point members of Valsesia Lancia Story had discussions with the Lancia family and it was agreed that the drive to La Monta should be cleared to allow access to this wonderful house. La Monta was Vincenzo’s summer residence and it is said that every time he successfully produced another Lancia model, he added another bedroom to the house! 

In early September 1996 Pat and Ian ran the second Fobello rally, again starting in Turin.  Most of the participants stayed at Luigi Capuzzo’s Hotel Crimea, and he gave a reception there for the whole rally.  Luigi introduced Pat to Manfredi Lancia, his wife Antonella and his sister Bianca, and she learned of their involvement with Valsesia Lancia Story for the opening up of La Monta.  The Italian Lancia club was involved in that rally, particularly in Turin, and through their FIAT connections the Lambdas were invited to drive round the banked test track on the roof of the old FIAT factory at Lingotto, used in the filming of The Italian Job, the first cars allowed there for many years. 

On this occasion there were over 30 lambdas including 11 from Australia and 2 from The States.  When in Fobello, with the steep drive to La Monta now cleared, a dozen lambdas made the twisty ascent to this lovely house high on the hill above the village.  In 2001 Pat ran the rally for the third time; now a firm favourite on the international Lambda calendar, nearly 50 lambdas attended from 7 or 8 countries.

Jonathan Wood then took over the reins and organised the next 3 rallies with ever increasing popularity in 2006, 2011 and 2016. Turin was no longer the start of the rally but Lambdas driven across Europe would congregate at Lanslebourg in France on August 31st to drive over the Mont Cenis on September 1st, pausing for a photo opportunity at the plaque. Jonathan also added lunch at La Giaconera at the base of the pass on the Italian side where Vincenzo had a celebratory lunch himself after the successful prototype test.

The 2021 centenary rally will be the last Lambda only rally to Fobello because in 2026 many of the cars and drivers will be too old to make the journey. This 6 day rally will combine the best bits of the previous 6 rallies and our aim of getting 100 lambdas to attend is looking very hopeful. We hope you enjoy what we have in store for you.

Fobello will continue to remain a top destination for all Lancia owners and many Lancia marques have already visited this mountain village and enjoyed lunch at La Monta.  It was The Lambda that put Lancia on the map in the automotive industry, and it was also The Lambda, and particularly Pat Ure, that put Fobello and La Monta on the map for Lancisiti from around the World.

Alison Ure