The Air Show at Brescia


Peter Demetz


In 1909 municipal authorities built an airfield in northern Italy and invited the world’s leading aviators to compete. The show attracted thousands of spectators–among them Giacomo Puccini & Gabriele d’Annunzio—and reporters, including Franz Kafka, Max Brod, and Luigi Barzini. This is an account of what happened in the air and on the ground before, during, and after the amazing show. Book elucidates Kafka’s subtle ambiguities about the consequences of flight, d’Annunzio’s lust for power in aviation, Puccini’s enthusiasm for speedy escapes, and Curtiss’s modest heroism.