Tall and dignified, moving with the easy gait of Marcello Mastroianni in a ’60s Frederico Fellini movie, Gerolamo Gavazzi supervises the dock crew. They’re winching down his Caproni seaplane from its lofty perch. Most days, it hangs suspended from the hangar rafters for all to see and admire at Aero Club Como, one of the most celebrated seaplane bases in the world.
Several hands guide the seabird on its wheeled cart down to the soothing blue-green waters of Lago di Como—northern Italy’s lush playground, Lake Como. Gavazzi is a perfect match for the Caproncino, or “little Caproni.” Fellini himself couldn’t have cast this duo of plane and pilot any better. Signore pilota Gavazzi has the silver hair and dashing smile of an aristocrat or matinee idol. Likewise, the airplane, in its immaculate restoration, exudes a simple elegance from every polished brass fitting and every taut rigging line.