Date: Friday, the 18th of September 2009
Title: Visit to Italian Air Force Museum in Vigna di Valle
The Italian Air Force Museum is situated in the old seaplane station of Vigna di Valle, the oldest in Italy, located on the south shores of Lake Bracciano where in 1904 the first Experimental Aviation Yard was established in accordance with the wishes of Major Maurizio Moris of the Corps of Engineers and the acknowledged father of Italian Aviation. Here, in 1908, the first Italian Military Airship, the N1, the work of two engineers, Gaetano Arturo Crocco and Ottavio Ricaldoni, lifted off. The Museum, built by the Italian Air Force as a worthy home for the rich heritage of Italian Aviation, is set among the buildings and structures of the seaplane base, today the only site of this kind where the typical architecture of an Aviation center that evolved from the birth of aviation to the 1960s is preserved intact. The Italian Air Force Museum, with its 13,000 square meters of covered exhibit space, is one of the largest and most interesting flight museums in the world. It is divided into four large hangars that are now used as exhibit halls, housing over sixty aircraft and a vast collection of engines as well as mementos of all types that tell, in chronological order, the history of military aviation in Italy and of the men who lived it and shaped it. The museum tour winds through the various sectors dedicated to the Pioneers, the Airships, First World War (Troster Hangar, starting point); the General Nobile epic Polar Flights, the Great Flights in Mass Formation, the Schneider Trophy, the airplanes of the period between the two World Wars (Velo Hangar); the Second World War and the large airplanes (Badoni Hangar); it ends with the last hall displaying the post-war revival of the Italian Air Force, including jet aircraft of current times (Skema Hangar).
Never in my life have I visited such an immaculate museum like this one. The hangars as well as the displayed items were very clean and free of dust. For more detailed info about the museum’s collection please see this link. Plus, they serve excellent coffee! For aviation enthusiasts this is a must-visit!