He was called the “ace of aces” and was one of the most famous aviators of World War I:
Francesco Baracca (1888-1918), “the Prancing Horse,” author of 34 aerial victories during
“the great war,” and one of the most celebrated wartime figures of the era.
As a young cavalry officer in training at the Scuola di Cavalleria (Cavalry School) in Pinerolo township (Piedmont), he befriended Baron Edoardo Pizzini Piomarta Delle Porte (1882-1966), founder of the Barone Pizzini winery. Some time after Baracca became fascinated with aviation and abandoned horsemanship to become one of the most decorated “fly aces” of early aerial combat, he wrote to his friend Edoardo, inquiring about a favorite horse at the school. In response, the young Baron sent him a sketch of the “prancing horse”: the cavallino rampante or horse rampant, a symbol of courage and ferocity borrowed from European heraldry, a rich tradition with which the Baron was surely intimately familiar. “Your horse is fine,” wrote the Baron in the note that accompanied the sketch, “but whenever someone tries to mount him, this is what he does.” Baracca was so attached to the horse that he decided to have the drawing reproduced on the side of his aircraft (a Nieuport 11, nicknamed Bébé in aviator parlance). And thus was born the legend of the prancing horse, one of the most enduring icons of the era between the two world wars (“Un’eredità Lombarda, Da Milano alla Franciacorta” Franca Pizzini ed. Mazzotta).
“As stated by the scholar and popularizer of Mozart, Rudolf Angermuller, among various trips that Mozart made with his father between 1769 and 1772, is a visit to Baron Pizzini in Rovereto, whose drawing room was often frequented by important personages from the intellectual world of the period.”