Cadillac Ranch; Unexpected Neon Shrine to America

Driving between to the twin picturesque mountain villages of Miranda and Pesche there seems little to surprise. The views over Isernia are panoramic as expected, the city sits in the valley below and the distant hills, the narrow roads climb, and wind up the steep mountainside. Old stone built houses, many of which lie empty, and crumbling line the streets, with faded, arched shaped doors and tattered shutters line the streets. Small piazzas scattered haphazardly throughout, small bars and restaurants sit side by side churches, and in Pesche, fortified towers stand guard over the village, it’s all quite predictable.

The Molise village of Pesche in Italy  on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-212_pesche_italy

The mountain village of Pesche

Then, you come across “The Cadillac Ranch”! It’s difficult to imagine any place seeming more out-of-place, in the medieval surroundings of Pesche, Molise in Italy. At first, it seems like a theme park in the middle of the village, but on closer inspection it’s surely a shrine to America. In fact it’s a shrine to the American open road, and the freedom of the great American roadtrip.

The Cadillac Ranch theme park diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-190_cadillac_ranch

Pesche ‘theme park’

maybe they’re just slightly crazy”

Cadillacs are obviously important here, but only one was around, the others being serviced. Harley Davidsons and motorcycling is also a consistent theme throughout. This is hardly surprising when the owners are two Italian bikers slightly crazy about the iconic American motorcycle; actually maybe they’re just slightly crazy.

The Cadillac Ranch theme park diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-192_cadillac_ranch

My Pink Cadillac

Benito “The Boss” is especially eccentric, the town’s ex-sheriff, fan of the other boss; Bruce Springsteen, American music, a free spirit and hater of Japanese motorcycles. The driving force behind the diner, he originally visited the States and brought back a souvenir, since then he and his partner have visited many times, returning with an eclectic assortment of American paraphernalia.

The Cadillac Ranch theme park diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography

A door with a view

A museum to the open roads of the United States, overflowing with colourful, and usually brash, garish items, there’s barely any space available. Whenever Benito or his partner return from a trip however, they challenge their regulars to spot any new additions, which seems quite a challenge. Everywhere there’s a quirky item of decoration, under the bar, every vacant spot on the walls, or floors, and it’s genuinely a fluorescent shrine to American roadtrips.

The toilet of the  Cadillac Ranch theme park diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-198_cadillac_ranch

Answering the call of nature in quirky surroundings

worth visiting just for the toilet

There are hub caps, model motorcycles, full-sized motorcycles, saddlebags, oil drums, juke boxes, sidelights, mirrors, and of course dozens of licence plates and signs. It’s brightly lit interior walls are painted in almost neon reds, yellows and orange, and it’s almost worth visiting just for the toilet; a whole new concept in lavatory interior design!

There’s also a hollowed out beetle outside, being used as dining booth, and a Volkswagen camper is to be converted to become the smoking area in the winter months. Even more impressive, all the vehicles; Cadillacs, Volkswagens and Harleys are actually in working order, that’s pretty cool.

American wall artistry at the Cadillac Ranch American themed diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-196_street_art

America Graffiti

The Cadillac Ranch American themed diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-201_cadillac_ranch

The American dream

It’s location overlooks Isernia, with the sunset view being especially dramatic. Oil drums in the foreground, and the impressive valley as the backdrop makes for a stunning place to share a pitcher of American beer, with Springsteen thumping out from the speakers.

Route 66 sign at the  Cadillac Ranch American themed diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-204_route66_sign

Finding Route 66

The Cadillac Ranch American themed diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-193_cadillac_ranch

Riding the pink cadillac

It may seem like a crazy theme park, totally out-of-place in this beautiful part of Molise, but it’s really, very cool, oh and incidentally the American diner styled food is pretty good value too.

The Cadillac Ranch American themed diner in the village of Pesche, Molise in Italy on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-199_cadillac_ranch

Sunsets and oil drums

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6 Responses to “Cadillac Ranch; Unexpected Neon Shrine to America”

  1. Michael November 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    That’s so awesome. I recently realized that I had explored more of the rest of the world than I had my own country so I did a Rt. 66 hybrid drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Cadillac Ranch was one of my favorite spots because of the mini travel-community that forms with everyone that’s there with you. It’s cool to see someone thousands of miles away that has the same love for road trips, travel, and cheesy Americana that we do.

  2. Sylvia November 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    What an excellent idea :) that definitely makes this place interesting to stop by. I’m planing a trip around Italy for next year with my family and I’ll make sure to put Molise as one of the places to visit.
    Thank you.

  3. Jeff November 19, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Amazing! I like their creativity, their uniqueness. This is the place to be.

  4. Maria November 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Fantastic sunset and what a fun location. The Cadillac Ranch in Texas is something to see but you can’t food and drink delivered to your table… you’d have to bring that yourself, and the table too. *laugh* this is a great find – I appreciate their sense of playfulness.
    Maria recently posted..Alice, Down the Rabbit Hole

  5. Arianwen November 10, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    It’s so random, but I love it!
    Arianwen recently posted..Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley

  6. Heather November 9, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    It seems so amazing to me when people on the other side of the world find your ordinary world extraordinary! It teaches me to appreciate what I have in front of me every day. I had no idea someone could be so passionate they’d build a theme part to the American road trip, of all things. What a unique place to find and enjoy! Now that I know it exists, I just might see it someday.
    Heather recently posted..The Best Livingstone Hostel: Jollyboys Backpackers vs Fawlty Towers

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Cadillac Ranch; Unexpected Neon Shrine to America