A journey through the history of the Italian aeronautics: stories of planes and pilots

The itinerary deals with the aeronautical theme from three points of view: sporting, military, technological. Protagonists of the conquest of the sky are the aircraft and aviators who made the history of Italian aviation from 1909 to the early fifties of the twentieth century. Photographs, biographies, documents and objects refer to an ‹adventure› which is inextricably linked to the main war conflicts faced by Italy, from the war in Libya to the Second World War.


«Today we’re flying»

«The airplane! […] Here is a large engine weighing a quintal that remains in the air recommended to simple looms covered with canvas: here is a man who, sitting comfortably on the looms themselves, rises in the air, and dominates it, submitting it to his will, and travels, and rises free. And he descends as rapidly as his inspiration advises him».

Luigi Barzini, «Trionfi dell’aviazione a Reims». La Domenica del corriere, 5-12 settembre 1909.

«The dominion of the air»

«Here we fly. But you already know. And sometimes you die. You don’t know this […] because you’ll think of us as fat and big ambushes who are together for a holiday. No, here one dies and, I realize, with a certain ease».

Lettera dell’allievo pilota Emilio Bernasconi all’amico Raffaello Cresci, Campo di Foggia, 6 settembre 1918 (Fabio Caffarena, Dal fango al vento: gli aviatori italiani dalle origini alla Grande Guerra, 2010).

«The Air force adventure»

«I embraced that job there [the testing] with a lot of enthusiasm because for me to see a propeller turn… I was breathing, I was in my own world».

Testimonianza di Ernesto Zanlucchi (Salisburgo, 1915-Trento, 2013), combattente nella guerra di Spagna e nella seconda guerra mondiale, è poi collaudatore presso le Officine Caproni di Trento.