In Nervesa, at the foot of the Montello hills, which were the scene of the most legendary air battles of the First World War, there is a unique place where you can admire some of the most famous vintage aircraft in the world, original or perfect replicas, like the mythical Fokker of the Red Baron or Francesco Baracca‘s hunting.
This very peculiar airfield museum includes an original Bessonneau hangar from the First World War, the only one in the world still used for aeronautical purposes and recognized as an asset of both historical and cultural interest by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. Here, you can see the historic aircrafts that have made the history of world aviation: from the Wright Flyer, the first aircraft to make a powered flight, this is actually the only flying copy in the world, to the Blériot XI, protagonist of the first crossing of the English Channel in 1909, or the Tiger Moth, the mythical aircraft used by the British Royal Air Force until 1952, present here with three original specimens including the one used for the filming of the English Patient.
The Collection also includes the Fokker Dr.I fighter triplane of the Red Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the Caproni Ca.3 first bomber in history used by Gabriele D’annunzio and the Spad XIII biplane, the fighter used during the First World War by Francesco Baracca, the aviation “ace of aces” who, after 34 glorious victories, met his death in Nervesa della Battaglia.
The fleet is made up of original models and perfect replicas that were, incredibly, built by Giancarlo Zanardo, President of the Foundation and brave pilot with over 2,500 flight hours to his credit, who faithfully reproduced every detail, based on official technical drawings. A challenge that, in addition to requiring years of work for each aircraft, also requires the use of vintage techniques and materials, such as a precious canvas from the fuselage of one of the 91st Squadron aircraft to which Baracca mounted on the Spad XIII or an original Alfa Romeo Colombo engine from 1927 for the Caproncino Ca.100.
The Jonathan Foundation was created in 2011 by Giancarlo Zanardo, an entrepreneur with a dream for flying who, after leaving the Presidency of the Treviso Areoclub, combined dreams, vision, and immense talent to give life to one of the most extraordinary and exciting collections of historic aircraft in the world.
His squad also includes a retired “top gun” team of enthusiasts who will guide you in this unforgettable adventure. Their story can be read on the walls of the Hangar and of the Club House where hundreds of photos commemorate their famous feats, such as participation in international air events, including the recent 55th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori, and flights with illustrious personalities such as the astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Colonel Lance K. Landrum commander of the 31st Fighter Wing in Aviano.
Book a guided tour (if you are lucky together with Roberto Tomadini, Head of External Relations of the Foundation who will tell you incredible stories) and, if you are lucky, attend a thrilling private air show. Do not miss the special events during which perfect historical reconstructions are organized, including spectacular plane shot-downs.
The prancing horse that stands proudly on one of the sides of Francesco Baracca’s aircraft will seem familiar to you. The Ferrari logo derives, in fact, from the symbol chosen by Count Francesco Baracca to distinguish the sides of his planes. In June 1923, Enzo Ferrari, during a race, meets Countess Paolina, Baracca’s mother, who suggests that he use the “prancing horse” logo on his cars as a lucky charm. The victories achieved with the use of the horse make the rider decide to adopt it as his only symbol. Curiously, the horse was also used by Fabio Taglioni for the Ducati motorcycle: his father was, in fact, very close friends with Baracca with whom he had fought in the “Air 91” squadron. However, the notoriety that Ferrari had achieved in the meantime made Ducati abandon the use of the horse logo.