In our quest for the past industrial heritage of the Insubrica region, we could not miss to pay a visit to Volandia Museum in Milano Malpensa, hosted in the former facilities of Caproni Vizzola Aeronautical manufacturer.
Caproni was an Italian aircraft manufacturer. Founded in 1908 by Giovanni Battista “Gianni” Caproni, the factory was initially named Società de Agostini e Caproni, then Società Caproni e Comitti from 1911. Caproni created the first Italian made aircraft in 1911.
The two manufacturing facilities were based in Taliedo, a peripheral district of Milan, close to Linate Airport, and for the Caproni Vizzola division, in Vizzola Ticino, close to Milan–Malpensa Airport.
During the First World War, Caproni developed a series of successful heavy bombers, used by the Italian, French, British and US air forces. Between the world wars in XX century, Caproni evolved into a large conglomerate named Società Italiana Caproni, Milano, which bought some smaller manufacturers. The main subdivisions were Caproni Bergamasca, Caproni Vizzola, Reggiane and engine manufacturer Isotta Fraschini.
Between the world wars, Caproni produced mostly bombers and light transport planes. The Società Italiana Caproni ceased to exist in 1950, although one of its divisions, Caproni Vizzola endured until 1983, with the mythical light jet-powered C-22J (which the Hollywood actor John Travolta managed to fly); the company was finally bought by Agusta.
The museum is very close to the Terminal 1 of the Malpensa International Airport. It is easily accessible with a large parking. The Museum is divided into seven areas with several airplanes – one was even touched by a saint 😉 – and mockups. It is a nice destination which has also some rare milestones of the Insubric aviation history, such as a model of Jorge Chavéz Blériot XI. Jorge Chavez was the first pilot who, on the 23th September 1910, successfully crossed the Alps starting from Brig/Wallis-Switzerland and landing in Domodossola/Italy. Unfortunately, Chavez crashed landing in Domodossola, perishing few hours after this first historical milestone.
Volandia Museum in Malpensa