Fiat 500 Dolcevita, Italian glamour in a small package

In Car Reviews, Featured Articles, Fiat, Short Cuts by Peter Nunn

It’s celebration time once again for the Fiat 500. A ritzy new special edition model, the 500 Dolcevita, was launched with a flourish recently in Rome.

With this latest iteration of the hi-fashion 500, Fiat has taken the heady days and glamour of Italy in the go-go sixties as its central theme.

 The 500 Dolcevita thus comes to market with a neat modern-meets-retro look: with a
smart Bossa Nova white exterior colour and inside, a stylish wooden dashboard and set of ivory coloured leather seats. With these and other cues, does it cut a certain visual dash? That it does….

Meeting the press in Rome on July 4 (a special day in the Fiat calendar as two key versions of the pivotal Fiat 500 were launched on that day, back in 1957 and 2007), the 500 Dolcevita arrives as a new anniversary model, bringing something extra to an already well stocked 500 specials line.

And in case you were wondering, yes, the Dolcevita name is a direct spin off from one of the great Italian film classics of that sixties era, La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), directed by the legendary Frederico Fellini.

Today, the term ‘La Dolce Vita’ might not mean much more than, say, having a cool time, yet when it was released in 1960, La Dolce Vita was hailed as an arthouse classic. A complex film in moody black-and-white, it symbolized the hedonistic life style and celebrity night life of Rome of that time, when Italy’s capital was one of the coolest around and fashion was king.

One very famous image of La Dolce Vita shows the glamorous paring of Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg walking hand in hand along through Rome’s legendary Trevi fountain, with the gushing waters cascading all around them.

We didn’t quite get a repeat of that in 2019 (you’re not allowed in the water, anyway) although Fiat did chose the Trevi Fountain as the launch venue for the 500 Dolcevita, coupled with a high end reception at the nearby Palazzo Poli (also offering to-die-for views out over the Trevi Fountain by night).

So, as the 500 Dolcevita kicks off, you are invited to consider two versions: a 500 Dolcevita convertible with smart, blue and white striped top and red 500 badge, or a hatchback with Skydome fixed glass roof.

Having seen the Dolcevita for real in Rome, we’d say go for the convertible: the fold back striped top, inspired by the umbrellas and deck chairs of the Italian Riviera, according to Fiat, really makes a difference and add strong visual punch to the car.

Along with the exclusive white exterior colour, there’s a discreet red and white body line that stretches around the car’s centre and stylised ‘Dolcevita’ chrome badge on the boot. Diamond-finished 16-inch alloy wheels also come part of the package.

The Fiat 500 has long been a class act inside. That continues with a nautical themed wooden dashboard and set of plush ivory-coloured leather seats with embroidered 500 badges and red piping.

The Dolcevita follows in the wheel-tracks of two other recent 500 debutants, the Star and Rockstar, and takes Fiat’s range of 500 special editions up past the 30 mark….which might be a record.

Power comes via Fiat’s staple 69ps 1.2-litre engine, paired with either manual or Dualogic transmission. In Italy, there’s also a 85hp Twin Air 900 cc option.

Ordering began in the UK at the end of July, with 500 Dolcevita hatchback prices starting at £17,995. Alongside, the 500 Dolcevita convertible begins at £20,995.

Watch what the others say on Youtube…

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