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Family Holiday  Italy3-17 September 2009

This year we planned our family holiday in the beginning of September. The first week of our vacation in Italy we stayed in Roma, to see the ruins of the Roman Imperia. The second week we planned our stay at a nice camping in Figline Valdarno, Tuscany, which is close to Florence.


Around five o'clock in the morning we started our long  journey to the Italian capital, Roma. As we had to stop now and then I planned some stops on our way to Roma at some airfields, close to our route. The first airfield we stopped was Emmen AB, in Switzerland. We arrived here around noon, but unfortunately it was very quiet out there. Despite that, I managed to read some aircraft which were parked inside the big hangar. We were also very lucky a Hornet was pulled out of the hangar, which resulted in the first shots of the holiday.


We only made a quick stop at Emmen AB, so we still needed a nice place for our lunch. Therefore I planned a long stop at the  spotters hill near Alpnach AB, which is only 20 minutes from Emmen AB.


Since the last time I visit Alpnach AB (click here) the Swiss Air Force received twenty new EC.635s helicopters. So I really wanted to take some nice shots of these new helicopters. When we arrived here we saw some of the Eurocopters parked at the ramp. And a lot of them were parked inside several hangars. I was very happy with the shots I took of the EC.635s which were flying. At the end our visit we had a total of eleven Eurocopters. Later that day we arrived at Lomazzo, near Milano, after we drove 965 kms. Here we had a nice, but very expensive motel, were we stayed for the night.


The next day we had to drive another 700 kms to Roma, so again we had to plan some stops on our way. The first stop was planned at the airfield of Bologna-Borgo Panigale were some nice Italian units are stations. From a nice spot on the west side of the airfield we saw a AB.412 of the Vigili del Fuoco (fire department) parked inside a hangar, and a AB.206 of the Polizia di Stato parked at the ramp. I managed to take some shots through the fence, but the result was not really good. When we walked back to our car, we heard a helicopter, which was a AB.205 of the Italian Army. Despite the backlight I was able to read the code from the photo.



The second stop of the day was planned at the small airfield of Arezzo, were a small detachment of the Vigili del Fuoco is stationed. When we arrived here the ramp was empty, which was a bit disappointing. After we had lunch here, we walked to the aeroclub where a preserved G-91 can be found. Suddenly the guys of the Vigili del Fuoco opened their hangar, and a nice AB.412 was towed outside. We were very lucky as this helicopter left for Livorno, five minutes later. Around six o'clock in the evening we arrived at our 'Fabulous Camping' in Roma, where we stayed for five nights.


During our stay in Roma we had some lucky moments as some nice Polizia di Stato and Carabinieri helicopters came overhead. During our first day in Roma, when we visited de Roman Forum a nice AW-109N of the Carabinieri came very low overhead. I even managed to take a very nice shot of the helicopter. We also made a quick stop at Roma-Ciampino during our stay in Roma, which resulted in a score of four CL-415s. Unfortunately we were unable to take some shots of these nice yellow birds.


On Wednesday, 9 September our stay at the camping in Roma was over, so we had to drive to Figline Valdarno for our second part of the holiday. As we had a lot of spare time this day I planned to stop on our way to Tuscany at the hot water wells near Viterbo AB. This of course for two reasons. When we arrived at Viterbo AB we first had a look at the northern part of the base to see the Chinooks. From here we also saw a nice Do-228 parked close to the fence. So I couldn't resist taking a shot of this bird, through the fence. After we read twelve Chinooks and a NH90 we decided to drive to the hot water wells near the southern part of the airbase. From here you have a very nice view on the ramps and the hangars, so I was able to read fifteen AB.206s, some AB.205s and some stored helicopters. It was also a very nice place to have lunch and to relax in the warm water of the wells. Later that day we arrived at the 'Norcenni Girasole Club' camping in Figline Valdarno where we stayed for eight days.


During our stay in Figline Valdarno we saw several aircraft/helicopters from Viterbo AB overhead, but unfortunately we were unable to read any of them from photo. On Saturday the 12th we planned to spent a day in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, but on our way to Pisa we got stuck in a huge traffic jam, so we decided to go to Florence (or Firenze as the Italians call it) in stead. Close to the city you'll find the airport Firenze-Peretola where a small detachment of the Polizia di Stato is stationed. We couldn't resist to have a quick look over here, so we were pretty happy we saw a AB.206 parked at the ramp out there.


The 16th was the first day of our journey back home. Around nine o'clock in the morning we left our camping in Figline Valdarno and drove towards the airfield op Pisa-San Giusto where we planned our first stop of the day. When we arrived here we first had a look at the G-222s, which are stored on the south side of the airbase. From here you also have a nice view on the ramps, but it is just too far away to read the C-27s and C-130s out there. In the landing of runway 04 you can park the car on top of a bridge/hill  were you can take some very nice landing shots. For here you can easily read the C-130s parked at the ramp. We also had a nice surprise at Pisa-San Giusto as a AB.212 from nearby La Spezia-Luni made a quick stop to drop some people.


Later that day we had to stop near Luzern to spent the night, as we had some big delays due to some heavy traffic jams. When we finally found a nice motel near Luzern it was already nine o'clock in the evening. The next morning we were surprised how close Motel Br├╝ggli is to Emmen AB. From our room we could even see the runway of the airbase. After a quick stop at Emmen AB where we saw the F-5s of Patrouille Suisse depart to Kleine Brogel AB, we continued our journey back home. Around seven o'clock in the evening we finally arrived back home after driving 3987 kms, in two weeks. What a nice holiday we had in Italy!! The real highlight of the holiday was the visit to the Roman Colosseum, which was really impressive.   (Click here for a full log)


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