The Aviation Park
The Aviation Park, inaugurated on 2 April 1995, offers visitors a rare collection of aircraft that have played an important role in some of the most significant moments of the post-war period. These planes, of which over forty are on display, were the protagonists of several wars (Korea, India–Pakistan, Vietnam, Iran–Iraq, Gulf, Bosnia) and other episodes over the last 50 years. Silent witnesses of past conflicts but now resting on green lawns, they are finally available for close examination by the many enthusiasts of aviation history. The exhibition itinerary covers a total distance of over 2 km, and highlights include the possibility of boarding the plane once owned by Clark Gable, on which celebrities and important public figures like Marilyn Monroe, John and Ted Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and Ronald Reagan flew in the past.
On display there is also a MiG–23 similar to the Libyan aircraft that crashed in Italy’s Sila Mountains at the same time as the Ustica air disaster. Other planes include the famous American Phantom fighter, the Lockheed F–104, which can reach speeds of over Mach 2 and is still used in Italy’s defence strategy, an aircraft of the Italian Frecce Tricolore aerobatics squadron, and other planes that have served in air forces all over the world.
The museum’s most recent acquisition is in fact closely linked with the Italian Aerobatics Squadron, and the new exhibit presents the remains of the three aircraft (Aermacchi MB. 339 P.A.N.) destroyed in the tragic accident at Ramstein in 1988. To commemorate the victims of this disaster (sixty-seven civilians and the three Italian pilots), the Aviation Museum Park has installed a monument in memory of the sad occasion.
The theme park also offers other facilities such as a refreshment area (a bar and restaurant seating more than 300 people), a pleasant building immersed in the woods with an adjoining area where children can play peacefully. There is an area equipped for helicopter landings, and a partially asphalted car park completes the facilities offered. The museum always affords everyone a warm welcome and to help the disabled almost all architectural barriers have been removed and a stair lift has been installed in the pavilion. A visit to the Aviation Park can last from a minimum of two hours to as long as four hours or more, depending on interest in the exhibits, and free guided visits are offered by request for parties.