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After an original idea by Paul Freeman.
First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 - 2018 RonaldV





Runway: n/a

The Marsala-Stagnone hydroplane base (Italian: Idroscalo di Marsala-Stagnone) was located at the extreme west side of Sicily, Italy.
It was built on the banks of the Marsala Lagoon by the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) in 1935.
the location was chosen because the the water level in the lagoon rarely exceeded one meter of depth.
Following a tender from the Air Ministry, two concrete hangars were built after a design by Pier Luigi Nervi, for which reason the hangars are known as the 'Nervi Hangars'.
It also had a ramp, connecting the two hangars and their platforms to the sea.
Although a Regia Aeronautica base, the airfield was mainly used by the Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy).
Their single engine Cant Z.501, present in varying numbers, and tri-motor Cant Z.506 of 85° Gruppos 144 and 197Sqn were frequently moored in the lagoon.
144Sqn used the hangar located on the south side along with the Large Military Aircraft Repair Squadron (SGRAM).
197 Sqn used the northern hangar, along with a squadron of the Ala Littoria, who flew white unarmed Cant Z.506 rescue seaplanes with red crosses on the fuselage and wings.

One of the Nervi Hangars in August 2011, as shot by Silvano Marti, co-author of Aquile di Chiana (Eagles of Chiana).

The sea ramp and the Nervi Hangars were still relatively intact in August 2011 (Silvano Marti)

Youtube video showing photos of the base ca. 1940 and today

During World War II the base was also used by the Luftwaffe, amongst others with Do-24 flying boats. After the Allied landings on Sicily near Gela on 13 July 1943 144Sqn moved out to the Orbetello hydroplane base. 197Sqn flew to Naples, where it was disbanded.
Postwar the buildings and hangars formed the headquarters of the Seaplane Detachment Stagnone (Italian: Distaccamento idroscalo di Stagnone). The staff of the Seaplane Detachment Stagnone was moved to Trapani airbase in 1961, however. The seaplane base was from then on only used as a base for a Control and Reporting Center (CRC). The CRC left the base in 1974.
Although the base was still military property, it began to be vandalised from about 2003 onwards. By 2010 what remained of the base was supposed to be transferred to the city of Marsala.

Mersala in 2010, showing the two hangars and a helicopter landing spot on the pier (Google Earth)

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