When did your career with Ducati start?
I remember well that, after an interview in November 1986, I was taken on, together with my twin brother Luigi, on 13 April 1987. We were both employed on the Paso bodywork assembly line, where our job was to mount the fairings to the finished bikes. In reality, I owe my chance to work for Ducati to my father, who had been for many years the medical consultant for the Ducati Mechanical and Electrical departments, and who introduced me to the company for the first time at Christmas 1971, when I was only five years old.
After a year's apprenticeship on the assembly lines for the F1, Indiana, Paso and the very first 851 bikes, in February of 1988 I was transferred to the Management Control Office, where I worked for almost ten years, monitoring the accountancy data regarding the development of new designs and calculating the efficiency and output of the various departments. My brother had already left Ducati a few months previously.
In November 1998, after a brief try out, I was assigned to be the assistant curator at the Ducati Museum, thanks to my knowledge of languages and contemporary history, which I had been studying as a hobby over the years.
In December 2001 I was nominated to be the new curator of the museum, to replace my predecessor, Marco Montemaggi. Since then, I am the single person in the company whose business it is to look after the history of the company from 1926 right up to... yesterday!
What was the most difficult project you have been involved in?
Let me make one thing clear right from the start: all of my work and that of my colleagues is difficult by definition. Let's not forget that from 1973 onwards the
entire company history has gone lost! I have to admit that sometimes I feel more like an archaeologist, digging among confused and disordered ruins, than a museum curator. But, with a lot of patience and hard work we are slowly managing to reconstruct the intricate mosaic that makes up the history of Ducati. But it's not easy, believe me!
As for projects I have been directly involved in or initiated, I would cite the return of the Apollo to Ducati, along with the project for the silver version of the 996 ridden by Bayliss at Imola in 2001, or, to mention another, the restoration of the Mike HailwoodTM two-cylinder 250, or some of the historical scoops, like the rediscovery of important documents related to the dark period of the Second World War, or the continuous updating of the company historical image bank, where the earliest pictures are almost 70 years old. But it would be completely unfair not to say that in every project I have had the help and trust of my colleagues and my brother, and this has always encouraged me to do my best to give our public a 360 degree view of the history of Ducati.
Livio, here everyone knows you as a sort of walking encyclopedia of Ducati history, as well as for your famous passion for your subject matter. Would you call any of the motorcycles in the museum your favourite?
If I could choose one to have for my own, it would be the Siluro. I'm the eccentric here, with my love for the peculiar, and this bike really attracts me with its unusual styling. Among the motorcycles of the '70s and '80s, I love the Paso, because it was the first one I worked on myself, as well as for its brilliant aesthetic design. But in reality its hard for me to say which one I like the most. I like them all, the beautiful and the less beautiful, the famous and the forgotten.
Among the people you have come to know working here at the museum, which ones have stayed in your memory?
I can perfectly recall the first time I met Fabio Taglioni, the creator of the Desmodromic system and designer of so many Ducati bikes. He was polite,
courteous...a man from another time, and a genuinely brilliant designer. I was also fortunate enough to have him as my neighbour at home. He lived just half a kilometre from me and in those days, on Saturday afternoons, I used to have a coffee with him and his wife.
What are your most important upcoming projects?
Certainly the creation of the museum's new room [the seventh - ed.] which will house the Desmosedici. It debuted in the World Motorcycle Championships just a year ago and its already an important part of racing history, and of the museum's collection. Infact our fans are calling for it to be shown here as well. Then, we want to put all our historical and iconographical findings from the last three years into a definitive chronological order. I'm talking about hundreds of documents and photographs, many of which have never been published before.
Finally, do you have any unrealised dreams?
Well, I'd like to get hold of the 125 Desmo. It's the only motorcycle we still don't have in our collection, and I don't want to leave this historic hole in the museum. And then, who knows, I'd like to create a museum for production motorcycles, an idea which has aroused a terrific response from our public, especially after the launch of the SportClassic models. As for my personal ambitions, well, I'd like to get married, but finding the Apollo and bringing it back to Ducati was like taking a refreshing stroll in the park for me, compared to the thousand uncertainties of finding the right partner for life! But...I haven't given up yet...
Do you think you'll realise your dreams?
I wouldn't say that all dreams can be made true, but let me just quote Martin Luther King on the subject:
"Dreams die not because they cannot be realised, but simply because we stop believing in them."
I still believe in good luck, in experience.