Macchi M.16: The bare minimum maximized.

This ultra-light -avant la lettre- single-seat biplane appeared just after the end of WW1. An orthodox design with its pregnant-looking fuselage and toy-like wheels as charming peculiarities. The M.16 was powered by the ultra classic 30hp Anzani which delivered the goods, with an altitude record and various successful participations in sport events. Equipped with floats a trio were even evaluated by the US. Navy.

Naked. It was kinda irresistible, despite this guy’s facial expression.

Breda 75: Un’aria di famiglia.

This shoulder-wing monoplane bears a definitive family resemblance with the previous smaller Breda 65. The 75 was a large two-seat ground attack and recon prototype built in the late 1930s powered by a 900 hp Isotta-Fraschini K.14. With the recon mission in mind, the 75’s fuselage was provided with a considerable number of observation windows on its belly. Tested unsuccessfully in 1939, it was soon forgotten.

Very Lockheed Vega or even Consolidated 17 Fleetster. That fixed undercarriage looked both anachronistic and ultra cool.

Ricci R.4: Pensare in Grande.

The Ricci R.4 was a transatlantic double-hull quadriplane seaplane project which appeared just after the end of WW1. This huge catamaran was designed to be powered by eight engines of a nominal power of 5000 hp. The cabin, seen here between the two inner wings, has two levels able to carry around 155 passengers. It was  conceived to offer a luxurious service worthy of the great liners of the time.

Photo Source.

Savoia-Marchetti S.84: Look twice.

A DC-3, right? Well, this almost forgotten prototype was in fact a twin-engined development of the classic S.73. First flown in 1936, this handsome 18 passenger airliner has left almost no trace. So much so that Savoia-Marchetti reused its number in their also pretty, but not very good SM.84.

Magnificent photo taken at Dusseldorf. Only those struts on the tail betrayed its origins.

Piaggio P.111: Ben oltre la bellezza.

This beauty was conceived in 1939 purely as a high-altitude research aircraft. In particular, to investigate cabin pressurization in line with the development of the company P108C airliner. First flown in the spring of 1941, this relatively small bimotor monoplane was powered by a pair of 1000hp Piaggio P.XII R.C.l00/2v two-stage supercharged radial engines which allow it to achieve a ceiling of about 39,000 feet. An active test career followed which concluded with its unceremonious scrapping before the Italian armistice.

The sparkling brand new prototype at Villanova d’Albenga (Savona), 1941.