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Museo Storico dell'aeronautica Militare

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Hello Everybody,

The Italian Airforce museum at Vigna di Valle is about 40km northwest of Rome on Lake Bracciano, and for once there are very few reasons to be apologetic about an Italian museum. The setting is spectacular, the layout very good, with none of the down at heel feeling that you usually get in Italy (or at Hendon for that matter), and the quality of the exhibits is generally excellent, allied to the fact that most of the italian stuff on show is beyond rare. The first three halls are immaculate with (thankfully) no audiovisual rubbish taking up space. Funnily enough, the WW 1 hall is an ex Austro Hungarian hangar that the Italians got as part of War Reparations, whilst the WW2 hangar dates from 1930 (Vigna di Valle was a flying boat base). The fourth hall is being brought up to scratch at the moment so alot of the postwar exhibits can't be seen, but if the museum just consisted of the three Schneider Trophy 'planes under a leaky tent it would still be worth the visit...


Museo Storico Aeronautica Militare

Aeroporto Vigna di Valle

00062 Bracciano



Tel. 06 99 88 75 00


Opening Times:-

01/06 - 30/09 09:30 - 17:00

01/10 - 31/05 09:30 - 16:00

Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, New Years Day and Easter Sunday

Entrance is free


Photos below are of:-


Caproni Ca. 3 - Spad 7

Macchi M.39 - Macchi castoldi M.C. 72

Suface Radiators of the M.C. 72 - Fiat C.R. 42

Savoia Marchetti S.M. 79 - Macchi M.C. 202

Savoia Marchetti S.M. 82 - Macchi M.C. 205

North American P 51 - D - Fiat G. 212

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX - De Havilland DH 113















Edited by Stefano
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It is not a bomber but a transport plane - as per the original description in the first post it is a Fiat G.212



Basically the G. 212 was an uprated version of the Fiat G.12 transport plane (bigger fuselage). It was already on the drawing board in 1943, but due to the way the war was going did not actually fly until 1947. Originally equipped with three 860hp Alfa Romeo 128's, the later models received three Pratt & Whitney R 1830 twin Wasps with a slightly more comforting 1065hp per engine, and after having seen civilian service, were used by the Italian Air force up until the late fifties. Out of the nineteen built, the 212 at Vigna di Valle is the only survivor, and possibly the only three engined Fiat extant.

Edited by Stefano
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Good. But why the Maltese cross? Would have presumed that the Maltese had planes of British origin (if they had something like this - this size).



I had a vague idea that the Maltese cross on the S.M. 82's fuselage had something to do with Order of Malta so I looked it up and this is the basic jist.-

The S.M.O.M. (Sovrano Militare Ordine di Malta), Is an internationally recognised extraterritorial Christian organisation based in Rome (on similar lines to the Vatican State and the Republic of San Marino in that it issues passports, stamps etc, but differs in not having an autonomous territory) that traces it's roots back to the 10th century. From 1530 until the French occupation in 1798 it governed Malta, and at one time posessed the strongest fleet in the Mediterranean. Nowadays it collaborates with the Italian Armed forces with humanitarian aid and provides relief around the world in collaboration with the U.N. The S.M. 82 therefore in all probability carries the Maltese cross as well as the Italian Air Force markings because it was last used as a hospital aeroplane.

I must admit that I'm still trying to get my head around the idea of a sovreign state with absolutely no territorial aspirations but there you go....



Edited by Stefano
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According to the surrender of Italy to the allied forces at the end of WWII, the Air Force transport fleet of Savoia Marchetti SM82 should have been destroyed.

However they could have been useful for relief operations nd such proved just after the war.

We must bear in mind that, for instance, just from the land surrended to Yugoslavia, the refugees coming to Italy amounted to some hundred of thousand of people.

So the planes were given to the Military Branch of the Order of Malta, thatis an organisation consiedere, under international law, as an autonomous state.

Of course the Order of Malta had kept neutral in WWII, so they could use the planes for international rescue and relief operations.

The planes were, however, flown and paid for by the italian Air Force.


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