Sunday, September 13, 2009

Propeller aircraft, racing cars and the rampant horse

In the middle of Piazza Baracca in the provincial town of Lugo you see a 5.7 metre high, petrified man in a jump suit. Behind him, a 27 metres tall pillar or airplane wing towers with, if you look carefully, a Ferrari logo engraved on the side. Where is the connection, I wonder, and after a quick search on the Internet, I managed to come up with an answer.

May 1888 a boy named Francesco Baracca was born in Lugo. He grew up among the bourgeoisie and took a military training in the cavalry. Baracca then caught interest in flying, and he became a successful pilot in the Italian Air Force during the First World War. To emphasize the link to his earliest military career, he painted a rearing black horse on his propeller airplane.

Baracca partipated in 63 battles and defeated 34 enemy aircraft until June 1918, when he was shot down and killed near Montello in Trieste. But the myth about him and "il cavellino rampant" lived on, aided by Baracca’s parents. In 1923 they met Enzo Ferrari and gave him the rights to use the rearing horse as a logo on his cars.

That is why, the 'Ferrari logo' can be found on memorial Baracca in Lugo. And you can also see it on the Baracca Museum which is housed in the flying hero's childhood home.

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