Asti Langa

Partisan Airport Museum Excelsior

in Vesime

Business Hours

Saturday 15:00 → 18:00
June to September, throughout the year by reservation.

Closing Day

Holidays

Beppe Fenoglio called “the archangelic realm of the partisans” that sea of hills between the Asti and Cuneo Langa, where freedom fighters, like the Johnny from his great novel, for twenty months waged war against the fascists and the Germans.

Often flanking them were British and American special services officers and agents, parachuted between enemy lines by Lysander, Mitchell, and Dakota aircraft. It was happening in the rest of Europe to be liberated, it was happening in Italy and in these parts, in southern Piedmont.

Up here they were able to do even more. Following the example of Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia, the British Soe, the Special Operation Executive, devised and set up a real landing field for the purpose of facilitating the arrival of Allied missions and the transport of wounded and fallen soldiers to free Italy.

They identified the most suitable place in Vesime, on the right bank of the Bormida River, near the Perletto Bridge, where the Nazi-Fascists carried out a massacre.

The project was completed together with local residents and partisans of the Second Langhe Autonomous Division, the Badoglian Blue Handkerchiefs of Fenoglio’s own formation, between October 1944 and March-April 1945.

The
History

Partisan Airport Museum Excelsior

The first Allied mission to arrive in the Langhe was that commanded by Major Neville Lawrence Darewski known as Temple

He takes action with Piero Balbo Poli to build a small partisan airport in Vesime.

In October 1944, units of the autonomous "Savona" Brigade arrived in the Vesime area, coming from Cairo Montenotte, where it had suffered a harsh roundup.

While the construction of the airport, which arose on the initiative of these departments, is taking place, they are framed in Poli's 2nd Division, garrisoning the Uzzone Valley as far as Cortemilia.

The construction of the Excelsior, however, coincided with the resumption of the Nazi-Fascist military counteroffensive: a series of large-scale raids against the Resistance Front brought down, one after another, the free zones and partisan republics established in the previous months.

Alba, liberated on Oct. 10, was recaptured by the fascists after 23 days of freedom on Nov. 2, 1944.

On November 19, the first Lysander landed at the Excelsior, but a few days later the Germans arrived at Vesime and made the runway uninhabitable by plowing it up.

In early February 1945 the Langhe partisans reorganized and the Excelsior was restored: the first landing took place in late February; later the runway was lengthened to 1,100 meters.

In April, Capt. McDonald commands the SAS Canuck mission: some 50 commandos armed with heavy machine guns and mortars are parachuted into the Castino-Vesime area. The group participated with autonomous partisans in the April 15 battle of Alba and the liberation of Turin.

The Interior

The history of the airport is told through multimedia experiences and framed in the context of the Resistance

The exhibition itinerary is divided along six stages that reconstruct the adventure of the partisan Excelsior airport, a small piece of a large puzzle that was being put together throughout Europe during those war years.

Through film footage and multimedia installations, the visitor is immersed in the preparation and construction stages of the runway.

In other sections, the material and living conditions of the Resistance period are recounted so that the harshness of the partisan struggle can be understood.

The various films, with the help of period clips, help to better frame the activities of Excelsior Airport in the context of the Resistance.

One can understand the strategic importance of a small airport that became a reference for northern Italy at that time, ensuring supplies and communications.

The reproduction of official documents drafted by the protagonists of those events also provides insight into the dynamics between the Allies and partisans.

N° of rooms

4

N° of floors

1

Visit Duration

Ticket Price

Free Entrance

Audioguides

Not available

Guided Visit

Optional

Partisan Airport Museum Excelsior

Comune di Vesime, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Vesime, AT, Italia
Directions ↝

The castle of Cisterna d'Asti

Piazza Maggiore Hope, 1, 14010 Cisterna D'asti, AT, Italia
Discover ↝

The parish church of saint Anthony the Abbot

Via del Castello, 25, 14051 Loazzolo AT, Italia
Discover ↝

The tower of Castellino Tanaro

Torre di Castellino Tanaro, SP115, Castellino Tanaro, CN, Italia
Discover ↝

The Tuesday market in Canelli

Piazza Carlo Gancia, Canelli, AT, Italia
Discover ↝

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