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Slide item 1

View from Piazzale della Vittoria of the former College of Military Aeronautics

Photo: Giorgio Sabatini

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Former College of Military Aeronautic with the Piazzale della Vittoria in the background

Photo: Luca Massari

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Cesare Valle’s work combines functional and celebrative elements

Photo: Luca Massari

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Icarus statue in front of the building (1940, Francesco Saverio Paolozzi)

Photo: Luca Massari

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Fascist propaganda: the monumental marble statue celebrating the myth of flight

Photo: Luca Massari

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Internal courtyard surrounded by hallways displaying the famous wall mosaics

Photo: Luca Massari

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Hallway with wall mosaics narrating the history of human flight: Fascist propaganda

Photo: Luca Massari

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Representation of the flight of Icarus

Photo: Luca Massari

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Representation of the achievements of the Italian balloonists, the Lunardi brothers (1784)

Photo: Luca Massari

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“World flight distance record, Ferrarin, 1928“, “Aviation speed record, De Bernardi, 1927“

Photo: Luca Massari

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Fascist propaganda: “...261 shot down aircrafts”. In reality, the Italian Campaign in Greece failed.

Photo: Luca Massari

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Indoctrination of future aviators: “Believe, obey, fight”;

Photo: Luca Massari

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Interiors: “Atrium of Constellations”

Photo: Luca Massari

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Ceiling paintings representing a celestial map in the “Atrium of Constellations”

Photo: Luca Massari

Former College of Military Aeronautics

Terribly fascinating

The College of Military Aeronautics was designed to indoctrinate young aviators being trained there with the ideal of the flying hero, ready to fight. The unique mosaic walls inside the building celebrating the myth of flight exert a deep fascination on the spectator still today – despite the terrible ideals behind them.

Fusion of functional and celebrative elements

The college of military aeronautics was designed to give future pilots and engineers an appropriate technical and ideological training for the Fascist regime. The imposing U-shaped building is dominated by two blocks: a residential block and one for educational and sports activities. Cesare Valle designed the building for 400 students, combining celebrative and functional elements in a monumental stile littorio, though rationalist in its layout. Thus, besides the functional aspect, the building shows strong propagandist elements.

Architecture, art and propaganda

Architecture and art were merged for propagandist aims. In front of the building, a monumental marble Statue of Icarus celebrates the myth of flight. In the entrance hall, unique wall mosaics narrate the history of human flight from its mythological origins up to the “glorious” days of Italian Fascist aviators. The fascination of flight was used to indoctrinate future aviators with the ideal of the courageous flying hero, ready to fight.

Propaganda v. reality

The College of Military Aeronautics, the Forlì airport and the Caproni aeroplane factory in Predappio were the result of an invented new “brand” related to the vocation of flying. However, propaganda was far from reality: Forlì never became a modern centre for aviation; the predominantly rural population never embraced the ideal of the flying hero; the Caproni factory never produced fighter aircrafts, but airplanes of low technology with no mechanical tradition to build upon. Today, the mosaics tell the story of an ideological folly in total contrast with reality.