I have never owned one, but I have ridden a few. Would the magic still be there without the badge, yes from a ride point of view (as I have ridden bikes that have copied their geometry) but the passion that goes with that name would be lacking from how it was built. I asked Johan Museeuw which where the best bikes he rode when he was a PRO, and the first name that came out of his lips was Colnago, the second Time. I asked him about his own bikes and he said that the geometry pays homage to the Colnago mark as he thought it offered the best balance of everything required to make a bike handle, climb and sprint well. I had a blast on Johans bike and was stunned how well the Flax works and the geometry felt.
Back to Colnago. On the road the major victories have dried up since the wonderful Mapie Team withdrew it's sponsorship. Rabobank never seemed to be able to create the magic that Mapei did with the bikes.
The institute still exists today and works with athletes to help them get the best out of whatever sport they compete in. There is a book which I think currently is only available in Italian, but I hope I am wrong. Shame there is no IBSN on it as I'd be able to check it out.
And so onto one of my other favourite Italian things, Coffee. I am by no means an expert but I like an Italian Cappacino (UK can't make one to touch it) and frankly at around a euro a pop for an expensive one feels like a steel compared to popping into any of the mass market establishments that adorn the high street. I really like lavazza coffee as I'm not really into super strong bitter coffee but I like a smooth brew. I was checking out there website and they have some great images on there from Calendars over the years, some really nice arty shots.