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Meet an Italian couple who make steering wheels for American race cars, and hats for popes

Around Verona, Italy — This weekend, motor vehicle racing enthusiasts will have a likelihood to see the “Celebrity Racing Knowledge,” a new function debuting on CBS that aims to rival NASCAR. Some of the sport’s top drivers will compete head-to-head driving the wheel.

And as CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay stories, the steering wheel alone has an unlikely link to the Catholic Church.  

A file photograph demonstrates a race vehicle driver’s hand on a steering wheel created by U.S. organization MPI, which generates wheels close to Verona, Italy, using gain of the local craftspeople in “steering wheel valley.”


American race cars are prided for their dealing with, engineering, and velocity. But all that horsepower are unable to flip a lap without having craftsmanship from northern Italy, and an focus to detail that has even caught the eye of two popes.

So what do 200 mile-for each-hour race cars have in common with the 2,000-12 months-aged Catholic Church? It truly is all in the stitching: The stitching of hand-designed steering wheels, and of popes’ hats.

MPI is an American enterprise that makes bespoke steering wheels — just about every a single cast of aluminum and then custom wrapped in higher-high-quality leather-based — exterior Verona, Italy.  

The steering wheel could look like a smaller aspect of a race auto, but taking into consideration it is really where the driver’s talent arrives into immediate contact with the device, each and every tiny detail packs a massive punch on the monitor.

Every single steering wheel is embroidered by partner-and-wife duo Rosanna Castagna and Armando Benini. Their list of shoppers stretches from NASCAR, all the way to the Vatican.

Partner and spouse duo Rosanna Castagna and Armando Benini, embroiderers who perform in “steering wheel valley” in close proximity to Verona, Italy, wherever they make both steering wheels for U.S. race cars and vestments for the Catholic Church’s leaders.


Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, not to point out dozens of cardinals, have worn vestments embroidered by the pair — from papal hats identified as mitres, to the stole worn all over the collar.

No matter the customer, be they holy or additional down-to-earth, Armando and Rosanna always fork out obsessive consideration to element with their do the job.

“You have to be nuts to do this perform,” Armando informed Livesay, holding up a needlepoint depiction of a Picasso basic. “We don’t do it for the income. We do it just to see if it can be doable.”  

Armando said it was extremely satisfying to see his get the job done dashing across a racetrack, specifically understanding its broadcast on televisions around the globe.

“I may possibly be an aged man, but I am in really like with my work as if I have been a small boy,” he advised Livesay.

Armando and Rosanna, and lots of other artisans who work in the region, make so lots of race car steering wheels – more than anyplace else in the earth – that the picturesque backdrop they get in touch with dwelling in is acknowledged regionally as “steering wheel valley.”

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