The ceremony was held today in Vigna di Valle, on the shores of Lake Bracciano, in the presence of authorities, guests and representatives of the press, to present the modernization and redevelopment works that involved the Historical Museum of the Air Force, a project which is part of the initiatives for the Centenary of the Air Force which is being celebrated in this 2023.
The event was presided over by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Air Force General Luca Goretti, with the participation of the Chief Inspector General (ric) Basilio Di Martino, president of the program office "Centenary Committee of the Air Force" and of numerous civil, religious and military authorities; among the illustrious guests also the vice president of the chamber of deputies, the Hon. Giorgio Mulè.
Many innovations have affected the Museum, which after about 18 months of work sees its exhibition area expanded by 30%, reaching a total of over 16.000 square meters, consolidating its position among the most important aeronautical museums in the world. The Historical Museum of Vigna di Valle, inaugurated in 1977, stands on the oldest aeronautical settlement in Italy; its origin, in fact, is linked to one of the fathers of Italian aviation, Major Maurizio Moris, who in 1907 created the Experimental Aeronautical Shipyard there and in 1910 the Airship Pilots School. The "Umberto Nobile" documentation center also stands inside the museum.
A completely new visual identity, with a stylized logo that recalls in an iconic way one of the symbols of Italian aeronautical ingenuity and of the history of the Armed Forces, the Siai S.55 seaplane and an exhibition itinerary organized in chronological order through five pavilions. Thanks to the work of a Technical-Scientific Committee and the support of both external experts for the scientific curatorship, for the layout and graphics, and of engineers and specialized personnel of the Armed Forces, the existing spaces have been redesigned – placing memorabilia and aircraft in more rational and functional way – and created new spaces, with screens and multimedia areas, flight simulators, a cinema room, relaxation areas for visitors and suggestive connecting tunnels between the hangars with the original shape of an aircraft cockpit.
Not only aircraft and memorabilia, but many innovations that have affected the Museum structures, which have undergone profound redevelopment interventions: new air conditioning systems, new LED lighting systems, new two-tone flooring and, as mentioned, a new exhibition itinerary. A reception center has been created, adjacent to the visitor car park, which will act as an information point before the departure of the visit and where a sales point for aeronautical items will also be built; the construction of a new double-span pavilion has also allowed the spaces to breathe. An old warehouse near the main hangar was also completely redeveloped, which was used as a multipurpose area with an exhibition of engines, uniforms and memorabilia, teaching areas, exhibition halls and a multimedia area with flight simulators and virtual reality.
"The occasion of the Centenary, a particularly symbolic date, was seized to revisit the Museum" underlined the gen. insp. chief Basilio Di Martino in his opening speech at the ceremony. “Redesigning the collections, proposing it in a key in line with the modern concepts of museum science: this is what was done, also taking the opportunity for an infrastructural adaptation that would bring it in line with the most recent regulations. The goal is to have a museum system that encourages interaction with the visitor.” General Di Martino then commented: “In a museum like this, the future, the present and the past are intimately connected. History allows us an interpretative key that uses the interpretations that come to us from the past to interpret the present and the future. Over all this there is a dominant drive which is towards technology, because the Air Force cannot fail to be technological excellence and this inevitably projects it towards the future.”
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Air Force General Luca Goretti then took the floor: "This ceremony has a very high symbolic value, but it is also substantial because today the Air Force honors its history and the deeds of all those who made the choice to serve the country with the blue uniform, living, fighting, in some cases up to the extreme sacrifice, using some of the means and artifacts stored inside these glorious and renovated hangars.” He then continued saying: "With a concerted effort by the entire Armed Forces, we have renovated the house of our history so that in the coming decades it can welcome all those who will seek further study and will be interested in discovering the values and traditions of a centenary institution but at the same time young, dynamic, vital and technologically advanced at the same time.” Gen. Goretti then concluded: “A museum is an educational place par excellence, especially for the new generations and for young people who are forming their own conscience and intellect. Speak in simple language and use a universal code that not only knows no boundaries, but often crosses them. This represents a concept very close to the aerial vehicle.”
The Museum houses precious and unique pieces, starting from the Garnerin balloon, the oldest aeronautical relic in the world, expertly and patiently restored under the supervision of the Superintendency of Cultural Heritage which also oversaw the restoration of SIAI S.79 sparrowhawk.
A unique collection of its kind with about 80 aircraft on display. From the Blèriot, to the Austro-Hungarian Lohner seaplane and then moving on to the seaplanes: Vigna di Valle is the aeronautical museum that can boast the largest number of seaplanes on display, among which the Macchi MC.72 stands out, holder of the speed record for seaplanes with over 709 km/h on average. We then continue with the IMAM Ro.37 and Ro.43, with the FIAT G.212, the last multi-engine built by FIAT, the SIAI SM.82 and the CANT Z.506 which served with the Rescue at Vigna di Valle Airplane. And again the jets of the first post-war period and the current ones, with particular attention to missions outside national borders, to the National Aerobatic Team, to the helicopters and paratroopers of the Air Force. The Museum also welcomes new aircraft in the sector dedicated to the modern period, such as the Tornado IDS with desert livery, theEuro Fighter and the HH-3F and AB-212 helicopters.
The opening to the public of the Historical Museum will take place within the first ten days of May: the details of the opening will be advertised through the Air Force website, the Centenary App and all the social profiles of the Armed Forces.
Also new for the entrance ticket: in order to improve the quality of the services provided, and taking inspiration from the many requests and suggestions that visitors have reported to us over the years, the management of the Museum will be entrusted to a specialized company identified by Difesa Servizi SpA, the body dedicated to the management and enhancement of the structures of the Ministry of Defence, which has already started a procedure to identify the economic operator to whom to entrust the museum's activities. The first MUSAM shop, inaugurated today, is the symbol of this synergy between the Air Force and Defense Services for the enhancement of the cultural assets of the Armed Forces, through the creation of iconic products that tell the story of the Military Institutions.
For the renewal and redevelopment of the Historical Museum of Vigna di Valle, the Air Force extends a public thanks to Avio Aero, which as financial sponsor has provided its contribution to the realization of the work.