Italian Air Force Museum (Museo Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare) – Vigna di Valle

Located some 25 kilometers to the North East of Rome, the Museo Storico Aeronautica Militare – Italian Air Force Museum, is the most important aviation museum in Italy. The collection of Italian pieces is hosted inside 4 largeBrochure Vigna di Valle hangars built on the Western side of the Bracciano Lake, next to the ItAF sports complex, in the old seapane station of Vigna di Valle, the oldest Italian aviation site, a place that became the first Experimental Aviation Shipyard. It was here that the first Italian military airship, the N.1, was built in 1908 by Crocco and Ricaldoni. Later, the airport served as the Experimental Seaplane and Naval Armament Centre up until 1945. It was the headquarters of the 88th Maritime Fighter Group and after the war it became the Search and Rescue Command, home for the 84th Seaplane Group. Vigna di Valle hosted an Italian CRP (Reporting and Control Center) that was later moved to Poggio Ballone (“Quercia Radar”). Information The large exposition follows the history of Aviation in Italy, from the origins of flight (with the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci regarding flight), passing to the monoplanes used in WWI and WWII until the present time. Particular sections are devoted to airships (and in particular to Gen. Umberto Nobile who flew over the North Pole with the “Norge”); to the history of the flight gear; to the period of Balbo Cruises, when Italian seaplanes crossed the Atlantic Ocean in formation to reach the US or S. America or flew to the Far East; to the Schneider Cup competition, with the MC.72 the hydro-racer that in 1934 fixed the absolute speed record (still unbeaten for this category) at 709.202 km/h. The Padiglione (Pavilion) “Troster”, is the first of the four pavilions of the Museum whose surface (1200 sqm) hosts models going from the pioneers of flight to the beginning of WWII. Interestingly, this hangar is the oldest of Italy: it was built by the Austrians during WWI and given to Italy at the end of the war. It was widely used for the launch and recovery of the seaplanes from the lake. The Padiglione “Velo” was built in only 200 days between January and May 1977. It has a surface of 3600 sqm and hosts planes of the WWII like the MC.200, the MC.202, the MC.205 and the Fiat CR32 and CR42. The Padiglione “Badoni” (from the company which built it in 1930), is a 60×66 mt hangar that was used until 1959 by the 84th Gruppo’s CANT Z. 506S, when the squadron received the Grumman HU-16 and moved to Ciampino. An “Albatros” is currently displayed outside this hangar hosting also a DC-3 used for transportation and Radio Calibration tasks and a P-51D “Mustang”, the best WWII fighter. The Padiglione “Skema” is a hangar with 2 floors (3000 and 1000 sqm) that was built by the Skema company and was opened in 1986. In this large hangar (80 x 40 mt) F-104, G-91R and Y, MB.326, Tornado F.3, S-2 “Traker”, Agusta AB-47 and Lockheed RT-33 (and many other aircraft) are exhibited. For more information about the museum, I suggest visiting the official website: The following is a 360° panoramic picture of the Italian Air Force Museum: These are some of the pictures I made during my visit to the Museo Storico on Sept. 16 2007: From now, the latest information and pictures about the Museum will be available at the following page: Italian Air Force Museum.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Pourriez-vous me faire parvenir une photo ou tout autre plan ou dessin du chasseur SAI 403 ou à défaut d’un SAI 207 ou même d’un SAI 107? Sinon pourriez-vous me dire à quel autre avion (de quelque autre pays que ce soit) ressemblait le SAI 403? Je parle de la silhouette, de l’apparence extérieure, pas des performances ni autres considérations d’ordre technique. Seulement pour me faire une idée de l’apparence de cet avion.


  2. I found two photographs my father (US Air Force) took while stationed in Europe in 1954. I do not know who the men are in the photographs, but my father wrote “Italian Air Force” on the back of the photos. Are these items you could use? If so, I am happy to mail them to you. I have no way of locating the men or their families…maybe you do.

    Thank you

  3. Hello
    Does any body out there know any thing about the Reggianne Sagitturo restoration gong on @ the Caproni Flight Museum in Milano
    Can’t seem to get a response from them.
    Any and all Imformation would be greatly appriciated.
    Text sent 07:20 A.M. Sunday September 25th 2011A.D.

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