I was standing next to a blue 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo in rural Ohio when the sky turned black. I frantically clicked shutters on two cameras, trying to capture the best photos of my life. I only had three minutes under the total solar eclipse, and when the moon’s shadow lifted, I was left with mixed emotions. To explain why, I have to start at the beginning.

I first saw a solar eclipse in Wyoming in 2017. So April 8th, 2024, marked my second time experiencing totality. I was lucky to have snapped some decent pictures back then, but was a relative newbie with a camera and didn’t know much about shooting the sun. I’m still just an amateur photographer, but 30 seconds after my first totality, I knew I’d be underneath the moon’s shadow in 2024, snapping away. 

My only questions were: where to go, and how to get there?

2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
Maserati Grecale Trofeo Clock

The path of totality would cover pretty much the entire northern half of the state, stretching from Toledo to just north of Cincinnati. Ohio was a quick 300-mile drive from my northern Michigan home, so road-tripping there was a no-brainer. That afforded all kinds of space for taking photos, provided I could find the right spot. Maserati offered me a Grecale Trofeo—the top trim of the company’s entry-level SUV—for the journey. 

Motor1 has sampled the Grecale Trofeo before. To refresh your memory, there’s a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood making 523 horsepower. Power routes to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. It doesn’t matter which of the Alfa’s drive modes you choose; When you step on the gas, the Grecale Trofeo goes. Stay on the gas and you’re rewarded with delicious exhaust pops between shifts. For those who love power, the Grecale’s engine is as addicting as deep-fried cocaine. 

But my journey wasn’t to a race track. In the Grecale’s boot I stowed two large folding chairs, a modest fabric cooler, a backpack with miscellaneous electronics, a laptop, and two travel bags with three days of clothes for me and my wife Michelle. My cameras sat on the backseat floor, within easy reach lest something of interest cropped up during the trip. In other words, I was using this crossover for its intended purpose—transporting people and goods safely and comfortably.

As such, I had little use for the Maserati’s on-board G meter and launch control. Sprinting to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds or attacking highway on-ramps in Corsa mode isn’t wise with a packed SUV. Frankly, I’d trade some of the Grecale Trofeo’s performance for a bit more comfort. The 14-way seats were wonderfully cozy, and on most surfaces, the Grecale was a compliant companion. Road noise from the aggressive Bridgestones was constant, however. And the engine had a surprising amount of burble even outside the performance settings. It’s a good sound, but not necessarily something you want to hear all the time.

2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo

And when the tarmac got a bit unruly, I knew it by both sound and feel. Even in Comfort mode, the Trofeo’s performance-tuned adaptive air suspension yielded a stiff ride. It’s not jarring per se, but each thump on heavily blistered sections of Detroit highways made the Grecale shimmy. It was accompanied by resonance through the cabin, reminding me that the Trofeo’s suspension was tuned to resist movement versus smoothing it.

But, the Grecale got me to the eclipse in style with its snazzy leather interior, and the SUV’s overall design looks fantastic. The styling is properly subdued; I think a BMW X4 M or something from Mercedes-AMG would garner more attention, but I like the Maserati's sleeper aspect. Then again, folks spending $120,000 for a vehicle (the MSRP on this particular Grecale) may want some extra attention.

2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo

Still, after 300 miles I was happy to pull up to my hotel in Perrysburg, just south of Toledo, on the very edge of eclipse totality. But the plan wasn’t to stay here for the event. Near Perrysburg, I had access to major highways heading in all directions, giving me options to sprint anywhere in Ohio or even into Indiana to find clear skies. 

Fortunately, the forecast for north-central Ohio looked good. That left me scouting rural locations just 20 miles south of Perrysburg the day before the eclipse. Big cities with their influx of eclipse seekers were to be avoided, but simply parking on the shoulder of a back road was out of the question. Aside from the safety aspect, I needed a worry-free spot to set up my gear and get some test shots. Thank goodness I found William Henry Harrison Park in Pemberville, Ohio.

2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
William Henry Harrison Park In Pemberville Ohio

Located 15 miles southeast of my hotel, Pemberville officially became a town in 1876. According to the 2022 census, 1,330 people call it home. A friend of mine tipped me off to a park on the Portage River, just south of town. It’s near the location where, during the War of 1812, General William Henry Harrison’s troops set up camp to await supplies and reinforcements. Harrison would become the ninth president of the United States, and 212 years later, I was parked in his former camp with a Maserati, a bag of Doritos, and a couple of cameras awaiting a rare celestial event. Life is strange.

I’d found the perfect spot, but still had no idea what to expect on eclipse day. The sky was clear and the gate was open at 9:30, but was this park for locals only? I’ve been to similar locations where strangers were not welcome, but those worries quickly evaporated. The folks from charming Pemberville were thrilled to have visitors. Park officials handed out free eclipse glasses, and speaking with a police officer coordinating parking, they were excited to be hosts for something truly special. Icing on the cake.

William Henry Harrison Park In Pemberville Ohio

The cake, of course, was just over three minutes of totality. I wanted photos of the Grecale with an eclipsed sun overhead as well as close-ups of the eclipse proper, so I budgeted 30 seconds for the Maserati and the rest for the black-hole sun in the sky. Light afternoon haze faded shortly before the shadow descended, but once it did, I knew I was in trouble. Images with the Grecale came out way too dark. I adjusted the camera’s ISO, making it more sensitive to incoming light, but the timer I set on my phone went off. Thirty seconds had already passed. It felt like five.

Total Solar Eclipse Over Maserati Grecale

I closed in for one more shot at higher ISO, then beelined for camera two on the tripod. I wanted clear images showing solar prominences—pink-colored bits of heated gas magnetically anchored to the sun but visible in the corona—and the so-called “diamond ring.” If you catch the eclipse just before or just after totality, you’ll see the ring of the corona with a bright orb of sunlight escaping the moon’s shadow. The Diamond Ring lasts only a fraction of a second, but thanks to some great photo advice and my previous eclipse experience, this part of the session turned out better. Much better.

Total Solar Eclipse From Pemberville Ohio
Solar Eclipse Prominences
Total Solar Eclipse Pemberville Ohio

Once the headlining act was over, word of my presence had spread through the crowd. Some of the 300 or so folks in the park came over to see the guy from “a magazine” who drove hundreds of miles in a Maserati to see the eclipse from Pemberville. For the next 45 minutes, we talked about what we’d experienced. I shared photos and a close look at the Grecale. The police officer from earlier was still shaking a bit when I asked if he had a business card. Pemberville’s finest will be getting some of the photos I took. It’s the least I can do for their hospitality.

As for the Maserati, it carried me and Michelle just over 700 miles. Cruising on the highway I generally saw between 23 and 26 mpg, spot-on with EPA estimates. While it’s not great for a smallish SUV, we’re talking about a 523-hp crossover with supercar speed. On Ohio’s back roads (there are curves in Ohio) it was supremely entertaining with surprisingly little body roll, even in Comfort mode. But I’d caution would-be buyers to consider lower trim levels if sizzling performance is something you’d only enjoy occasionally. You can certainly live with the Trofeo every day, but the sound and ride might exact a toll after a while.

2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo

The next total solar eclipse in North America won’t happen until 2044. Maserati should be an all-electric brand by then, so there’s something a tad bittersweet in this combustion-powered road trip. That is, unless I jump across the pond for another eclipse road trip. Northern Spain will see a total eclipse in August 2026, and yes, I’m already looking at flights.

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Gallery: Maserati Grecale Solar Eclipse Road Trip

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