February 23, 2023 – I’ll tell you about my greeting to the Truma later. Let’s focus on the good stuff first. Today, leaving the Veneto region, I passed by Felonica, a small town in the province of Mantua (Lombardy) which for some years has been a municipality together with Sermide where there is an unsuspected gem: a small, but rich, computer museum. Giacomo, who works at Gulliver’s Camper, paid me for it: “If you make that trip on the Po and pass by Felonica, remember to go and visit that museum: you won’t regret it!“.
With my head I obviously completely forgot about it, but this morning trying to figure out what to do during the day I found the “Museum of computer evolution” on Wikipedia, without any links. But this was enough to rekindle the memory of Giacomo’s words. And after more than 20 years of writing about technology, I certainly couldn’t miss the opportunity! So, I searched the internet and found everything I needed: the website with a phone number to call!
Among De Lorean owners…
Marco, curator and friend of Giacomo’s and, like him, owner of a De Lorean (yes, strange people!) answered promptly. But I digress… The museum is open by appointment only, but since I’m just passing through, I managed to arrange a visit for today. The Information Technology Museum (ITM) collects memorabilia from the 70s onwards, but it is not limited to micro informatics: there are also industrial artefacts of considerable historical value, such as the huge PDP-11 system that Enel used in Milan to manage and control all the power plants in Northern Italy; or as a Data General system with an incredibly original design and current forerunner of many of the innovations that we consider “normal” today (things like RAID disk systems, for example).
Thinking about more “personal” computing, they start with the Commodore Pet, then move on to the various Vic 20s, Commodore 64s, Amigas, Sinclairs interspersed with terminals, Olivetti systems and others with lesser-known names. There are the first suitcase laptops, including even a Commodore 64 with a color cathode ray tube screen, and then one of the first Apple laptops, and the Toshibas. For those who love Apple there are numerous products on display, from an Apple IIe to a Macintosh Classic, from iMac to eMac. In short, a joy for the sight and for the memories!
And then software, manuals, various equipment. All explained with great skill and passion by Marco, who not only collects the most interesting pieces, but tries hard to know their history and functioning, so much so that he has numerous contacts even in the United States to tie up the threads of information technology again. And the beauty is that most of the products on display are still functional: seeing them light up after so many years, often decades, was exciting for me. Even with the cursor on a green phosphor screen of a Commodore Pet!
The Torre di Pisa of the Veneto
Before arriving in Felonica I also made a stop in Ficarolo, just to browse a bit. Here I discovered that the bell tower of the Church of Sant’Antonio Martire, right in the center of the town and 69 meters high, is called “the Torre di Pisa of the Veneto“. In fac,t it is quite crooked (the photos do not do it justice!): its inclination reaches 2.8° (against the 4° of the most famous Tuscan monument, 56 meters high) and you can see them all live. I wouldn’t live in the house that was built next to it!
The seasoned stove
If past technology has been a cause for joy, Falkor’s slightly “old” one is causing me some headaches. My seasoned gas Truma E 4000 (strictly heating only) has been acting up since yesterday: it works well for about 15 minutes, then the fan starts to slow down and creak and finally the stove shuts down. The battery is charged, the gas arrives, the piezo works, but eventually everything goes out.
So, I put my knowledge into play. I first contacted the Camper Van Garage in Castel Goffredo, in the province of Mantua, managed by the legendary Luigi Van (people following his videos on Camperisti Italiani know what I’m talking about), who redirected me to the expert Italo, who works at Domus Camper in San Bonifacio (VR). In the end, he suggested that I contact Ferrario Camper in Milan, with whom I arranged an appointment for Saturday March 4th. The problem will be figuring out if spare parts will be found for such an outdated product. In the meantime, the stove works for a quarter of an hour and then goes out: if it’s not enough to keep me warm for 10 days, I’ll find a temporary solution!
- Where to sleep: In the parking lot of the lovely Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta, in via Palazza, Felonica
- Where to eat: Where to eat: Within walking distance is the Pizzeria L’Oasi: it is one kilometer away in via Argine Valle 50. The pizza is large and thin: if that’s your thing, it’s very good
- Camper service: A camper service is indicated on Park4Nigt in via Carlo Emilio Gadda 62 in Sermide (about 5 kilometres). I haven’t been there
Km travelled: 30.4
Km from departure: 216.9