Luigi Orlandini Founder of Canossa Lectures to Strategic Management Class

Luigi Orlandini, founder of Canossa Events

Luigi Orlandini, founder of Canossa Events

On Tuesday, Prof. Silvia Pulino‘s Strategic Management class was joined by Luigi Orlandini, Founder and Chairman of Canossa Events. He began by telling the class about his childhood, and how he grew up in the “motor valley” of Italy, 20km from Maranello where the Ferrari headquarters are located. He always had a passion for cars growing up as a child, so it was destined that he start a company in a place where cars were the focus.

Orlandini graduated with a degree in Electronic Engineering in 1994, and soon after opened an IT consulting business, before starting his own IT company 5 years later. His company was the leader in Italy in IT systems for transportation and logistics business. In 2008, his company provided a solution for GPS tracking in race cars which quickly became an industry standard all over. A year later, his company started working with Ferrari to put the GPS tracking in their cars as well. Having proven very successful, Orlandini decided to sell the company in 2010 and make a fresh start.

He decided to take his passion for cars (classic and sports) while unemployed after selling his company, and organize a classic car rally in his region. He also carefully planned his new company, using the name Canossa, because he owned a home in Canossa and he has a daughter called Matilde. The Matilde di Canossa story is very well known in Germany, which is a rich and neighboring market for classic car events, and also because the word Canossa is easy to pronounce in all western languages. Using Canossa as the title also made it possible for them to receive funds from the local government to promote the name because in 2011, when the company started, it was the 9th century death anniversary of Matilde di Canossa.

Orlandini’s goal in creating the company was to gather people from other countries to get together and celebrate their shared passion for cars, not for business. Some of his other roles include President of the Scuderia Tricolore, a drivers collectors club established in Reggio Emilia, Board member of Automobile Club Di Reggio Emilia, and a founding member of Motor Valley Development.

The company began in 2011, along with the first edition of Terre di Canossa Classic Car Rally. Orlandini also bought back his old GPS tracking solution company, and started providing event services to third parties including Ferrari. Soon, Canossa had 12 full time employees, 30 collaborators, and a 5 million euro revenue. They started organizing the Cavalcade event under license of Ferrari in 2013, and they also host private tours, club events, and corporate events. Their first Terre di Canossa rally in 2011 was a good success, with participants growing year after year until 2015 when they reached the limit of 100 cars. They had their first event in the U.S. in 2015 in San Francisco, and on November 10 they will hold their first event in Japan.

Canossa has offices in Reggio Emilia and Milan, with representatives in London, San Francisco, Moscow, Dubai, Tokyo, Paris, Hanover, and Lugano. They have events in Europe, USA, and Japan. Their mission, is to be a leader in driving events, organize events for classic and sports cars, host a variable content of competition and leisure, delivering “money can’t buy” experiences. Orlandini stressed that they want to provide a careful and detailed concierge service, while always being friendly and following their passions.

Orlandini stressed that word of mouth is very important because the small community of classic and sport cars where everyone attends the same events. Canossa hopes to expand their business in America by doing “Italian style” driving events in California next August. They are also hoping to expand their product catalogue in Italy and Europe by doing “cruises on the mainland”. He explained that Italy is perfect for amazing and surprising places to show clients, because of the beautiful landscape and small cities, and the local governments are usually very supportive when they are asked to open up their treasures to show off.