In the footsteps of Carlo Guzzi

100 years ago he designed a new motorbike with the characteristics of stability, technology, functionality and affordability.

Carlo was the son of a wealthy Milanese family. His father taught at the Milan Polytechnic, his brother engineer Giuseppe “Naco” designed the company’s buildings and collaborated with Carlo on several motorbikes, including the Norge. His sisters were very sporty and Fanny had a passion for motorbikes.

As a boy, Carlo Guzzi spent his holidays in Mandello, spending his free time in Giorgio Ripamonti’s workshop. At the age of twenty he had already motorised his bicycle.

During the First World War he met two aeroplane pilots: Giorgio Parodi and Giovanni Ravelli and they shared the dream of a motorbike manufacturing company. When the war was over, Carlo built the frame for the first motorbike and Giorgio Parodi convinced his father to finance the project. Ravelli died in a plane crash and the Italian Air Force eagle became the symbol of Moto Guzzi.

On 15 March 1921, the Moto Guzzi Company was established, with registered office at Genoa and headquarters in Mandello del Lario, near the Guzzi family home. In 1921, 17 motorbikes, all green in colour, were produced. Carlo decided to take part in racing and in September 1921 a Guzzi won the famous “Targa Florio“. 100 years after its foundation, Carlo Guzzi’s ideas and spirit continue and are updated in new models, appreciated all over the world.

It is summed up in 3 words: originality, practicality, experimentation. The project for a new motorbike was born on the drawing board or on a notepad with lines and calculations, but it began in the workshop, where problems were solved in practice.

He was a very experienced draftsman and technician, a great planner, with a strong spirit of observation, attached to his work, precise and meticulous, with brilliant ideas and brilliant intuitions. He had a talent for management and assigned tasks to the right people.

A great expert in engines, materials and fuels, Carlo was always keen to check designs and his bikes were tested in different situations. He was always present in the various departments, sharing moments of work with the employees.

A practical man, reserved, of few words, he did not like official ceremonies and notoriety. He loved hunting, skiing, photography and could not resist the allure of beautiful women.

Since 2011 a sculpture by Ettore Gambioli has been welcoming motorcyclists and tourists to the town square in Mandello.
Carlo Guzzi holds a stopwatch in his hand; dressed in English style, with his cap, he is facing the rider who is starting a race and those who pose for a souvenir photo.
On the wall is engraved the chequered flag and the famous “Otto cilindri“, designed by engineer Giulio Cesare Carcano.

In Via Parodi 51, there are pictures of Carlo Guzzi as a young man, with his friends, his dogs, his riders, his collaborators, in the pits during a race, along a track or in the wind tunnel. Text and photos recall the man who changed Mandello with his ideas.

In Mandello del Lario there is a completely urban itinerary, practicable on foot, lasting 30-45 minutes, that allows you to discover the places where Carlo Guzzi lived and designed his motorcycle, as well as those where he is now remembered. It will soon be marked with a green line and info points.


Virtual tour in the most significant places for carlo guzzi


Via Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, 61 – Mandello del Lario (LC)


Via Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, 39 – Mandello del Lario (LC)


Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci (Town Hall) – Mandello del Lario (LC)

The villa

Via Armando Diaz, 4 – Mandello del Lario (LC)