The Lucca is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Italian Air Force from September 1-30, 2023, with visually appealing exhibits, games and performances at the Cavallerizza in Piazzale Verdi.

Thanks to collaboration between the city administration and the General Staff of the Air Force, Lucca-rich content will add to the wealth of the traveling exhibit, which is aimed at a broad audience including teenagers and children. 

“Lucca has made a great contribution to the history of Italian aeronautics with its heroes, like the achievements of Aviator Carlo del Prete,” declared Mayor Mario Pardini at the announcement of the event, September 18th.  “This is why we invite everyone to visit the exhibition and participate in a program that will alternate moments of study with games and entertainment, to involve an audience of all ages”.

“The exhibition – said the councilor of the Province of Lucca and mayor of Borgo a Mozzano Patrick Andreuccetti – is certainly an opportunity to delve into the history of the Air Force… Many from Lucca have written fundamental pages of our history, bringing aid to populations affected by catastrophes or natural disasters, or carrying out explorations in uncharted territories.

We are therefore happy to contribute to the realization of this exhibition, making our collections of memorabilia available, including the recently restored flight suit of Carlo Del Prete, to enrich the exhibition and give due prominence to Lucchese aviators”.


The exhibition opened its doors on Friday, September 1 at 17:00 with an official inauguration and will be open to the public FREE OF CHARGE from September 2 – 30, from Tuesday to Sunday (11.00 to 19.00). One should note that there are no translations provided of the exhibits. Its 46 panels tell the story of the Arma Azzurra founded on March 28, 1923, as well as the history of local aviation, including characters and places in the Lucca area: from Carlo Del Prete and the many other local pilots to the aero futurist painter Uberto Bonetti, from Tassignano airport to the Torre del Lago seaplane base.

To enrich the exhibition, there will also be special objects such as a 1914 plane, Carlo Del Prete’s flight suit, tail rudders from WWII planes, original historic Air Force uniforms and much more.

The inauguration was followed by the presentation of a coin minted by the Ancient Mint of Lucca for the centenary, and a special exhibit on military aeronautics in the medals of Luciano Zanelli at the Casermetta di San Donato.

The main exhibition at the Cavallerizza will be accompanied by a series of related events on weekends throughout the month, from Friday to Sunday. Conferences, exhibitions, shows, games, books and comics, will include:

  • Sunday, September 3 at 18.00 the rhythmic gymnastics exhibition of the Blue Butterflies of the Italian Air Force;
  • Friday, September 8 at 21.00 at the Giglio theater the concert of the Air Force Musical Band,
  • Saturday, September 16th at 16.00 the launch of paratroopers from the ramparts of the Walls and
  • Saturday, September 16 at 18.00 the presentation of the biography of Carlo del Prete.

Additional special events dedicated to schools are planned, with the presentations of a comic strip for lower secondary schools, and a discussion of “The last flight of the Sparrowhawk” for upper secondary schools.

Lucca Crea will produce related games, and the Air Force’s History Office will manage workstations for Oculus virtual flight experiences.

A very rich and dense program of content, which can be consulted in its entirety at Access to the exhibition and related events will be free of charge.

“The events in Lucca offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and progress of Italian aviation – comments General Giuseppe Addesa, Commander of the 46th Air Brigade – it is a wonderful example of synergy between local institutions and the Armed Forces, underlining the closeness and affection of Tuscany, and of the people of Lucca in particular, for the Air Force – an armed force that has research and innovation in its DNA, that is projected towards the future but always close to the community, that is constantly, with its daily activities, always at the service of the nation”.


The celebrations for the centenary of the Air Force began in Rome on March 28, 2023,  and will continue throughout the year, moving around to about 20 Italian cities, including Lucca.

On August 18, 2023, in the Sala degli Specchi at Palazzo Orsetti, the complete program of the event was presented by Mayor Mario Pardini, the Commander of the 46th Air Brigade Giuseppe Addesa, the councilors for culture Mia Pisano and for tourism Remo Santini, together with Alessandro Garbini (president of the Arma Aeronautica Lucca) and Alessandra Del Prete (grandniece of the aviator Carlo Del Prete). The councilor of the Province Patrizio Andreuccetti and the exhibit’s sponsor Gino Guidi of the Guidi Gino Company also sent their greetings.

The curator of the celebrations for the Centenary in Lucca is Fabrizio Vincenti. Collaborators are: the Province of Lucca, Lucca Air Force Section, the Air Force Section of Viareggio and the Forte dei Marmi subsection, Aeronautical Fallen Families Association, Lucca-Massa Carrara Education Superintendency, Federighi Historical Archive, Giacomo Puccini Foundation, Puccini Museum Lucca, Lucchesi in the World, Teatro del Giglio, Metro Srl, Lucca Crea Srl, Chestnut Museum, Ancient Mint Foundation. Sponsor of the event is Guidi Gino Spa.

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