Aviation and flight during the Great War. An exhibition at Francesco Baracca Museum (Ravenna, Italy)

The trench is by far the centre of the World War I imagination, even though the aviation started playing a relevant role during the conflict and definitely turned into the undisputed protagonist of the wars that followed up to this time. Winged Victory by Victor Maslin Yeates is for example the first real novel about aerial combat in the First World War. In Italy we recently had the opportunity to read a study by Fabio Caffarena, Dal fango al vento ("From the mud to the wind"), dedicated to the fast development of aviation in our country, from the first Futuristic imagery to the real efforts of technological modernization. Caffarena’s innovative study keeps the distance from the myth of the aces and unveils for the first time the origin of a consistent part of the aviation corps: mechanics, clerks, farmers, carpenters that became aviators by chance or to escape the trenches.

Going back to the mythological interpretation, among the Italian aviation aces Francesco Baracca (Lugo, 9th May 1888 – Nervesa della Battaglia, 19th June 1918 - beside the image of the monument hosted where Baracca crashed, in the Montello hill) has become almost a symbol and a hero, thanks to his 34 victories. A new stage of the ALISTO project, led by the Treviso Province and launched in the international cooperation between Italy and Slovenia, is the new exhibition hosted precisely at “Museo Baracca (Ravenna, Italy). ALISTO is acronym standing for “Ali sulla storia” (Wings on History). The aim of this project is to reconstruct, recollect and give new interpretations to the huge quantity of aerial photography that for the first time was made available by Italian and Austro-Hungarian aviation. Of course these documents are representing also a precious piece in the understanding of the landscape as it was at the time. Beside of that, the exhibition, that is open until the end of March, sketches out the full range of “flying objects” of the First World War and so the visitors are encountering also the zeppelins and the pigeons, not only the first shaky planes always on the verge of crashing.

Aviation and flight during the Great War
Museo Baracca, Lugo, Ravenna (Italy)
1 March – 30 March 2014
(Open with the same time of the museum)
Here is the exhibition’s poster in Italian and Slovenian.