BY CAROL J. COLLER

 

Driving across the flat plain which stretches between Castiglion Fiorentino and Marciano with its fields and sparsely scattered farmhouses, we come across a vast, open stretch of land, eleven hectares in all, home to the Centro Volo Serristori. Here all manner of light aircraft can be seen coming and going, particularly on the weekends – ultralights and small touring planes such as Pipers and Cessna.

 

The Centro Volo Serristori got its start in 1996 as the first flying school specifically for disabled persons in Italy when the Centro leased land for an airstrip from the Ente Serristori of Castiglion Fiorentino and the Center was able to purchase the property at auction in 1999. From this project came the Aero Club Serristori flying school, an amateur sports association headed by president Franco Bentenuti, who has been at the forefront since the Centro’s beginnings.

“Flying is the only sport where the disabled can compete at the same level and in the same events as the non-disabled” says Franco who was also instrumental in the formation of the National Flight Association “Baroni Rotti” for disabled pilots.

As part of the Centro Volo Serristori, the Aero Club Serristori offers flying lessons for all those who wish to become amateur pilots, while Etruria Volo prepares new pilots for going on to professional flying or becoming flight instructors, as well as holding courses for the professional use of drones.

The Aero Club Serristori has two parallel airstrips, one paved and the other a grass strip, both of which have ample lateral areas that allow for the movement of almost all types of small aircraft. There is an area at the end of the hangars for helicopters to take off and land and recently this small airport can welcome hot air balloons as well.

This is an ideal stop for air tourism in Central Italy with plenty of room for parking aircraft, welcoming accommodation, a fuel station and efficient maintenance services available.

The historic, stone farmstead that stood on the property has been restored and converted into the comfortable Serristori Residence which has 9 fully appointed rooms, but also several apartments, ideal for families and for longer stays here in the countryside.  There is a beautiful,  large swimming pool for guests, and a restaurant that can be enjoyed by visiting pilots and earthbound tourists alike.

Ristorante ‘Conte Serristori’ is a charming dining spot with a menu which includes the traditional Tuscan fare typical of the Valdichiana and locally grown ingredients.  This is an ideal spot for enjoying a pleasant lunch or dinner year round with friends and family,  while admiring the broad views of the green foothills of the Apennines to the east and the wide, fertile valley to the west.

The planes sail into the clear air high above the Centro Volo Serristori. Perhaps they are club members, or visitors who have stopped for a sojourn in a comfortable and well equipped air station, but undoubtedly all are here to enjoy the sheer beauty of flying.

 

Info: Loc. Manciano 225 / Castiglion Fiorentino (Ar) / Tel. 0575 653260 / www.centroserristori.it / info@centroserristori.it

 

 

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