Piaggio industries

The aeroplane factory in Finale

To counteract the economic depression and the migration phenomenon that hit the local community, in 1900 the Town of Finalmarina announced a tender to attract on the territory businesses capable of guaranteeing stable employment at least for a hundred workers, in exchange for contributions and tax concessions.

Six years passed before the start of the project and in 1906 the “factories of Finalmarina” were founded, for the production of railway carriages of which the installations are partially still present today in the vast area that runs along the coast, from the Pora torrent to the Caprazoppa promontory.

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In the period before the First World War the establishments risked closing. The relaunch of the finalese plant was due to the conflict: it was taken over in 1917 by the Genoese entrepreneur Rinaldo Piaggio who transformed it into the “Piaggio & Comp.” aeronautic yard for the production and reparation under license of seaplanes for recognition and bombardments.
At the end of the first world conflict Piaggio continued with the production of aeroplanes and aeronautical motors, starting also with the construction, under license, of some passenger seaplanes, like the Dornier Do J “Wal”. Some vehicles stayed in the shape of drawings, of others prototypes were built while others were constructed only with few exemplars.
During the Second World War the factory was subject to aero-naval attacks but still continued producing the first exemplars of the famous P. 108 bombardiers, of which the assembling line was then later moved to the Pontedera plants.
The immediate post-war period favoured the recovery of the aeronautic market, with the realisation from Piaggio of numerous vehicles of international success: the finalese factory became a successful and qualified automotive centre for the installation and revision of propeller, turboprop and reaction pistons as, for example, the Rolls Royce “Viper”, mounted also on the Aermacchi MB 339 of the Frecce Tricolori.
The new international equilibrium induced by the fall of the communist system between 1989 and 1991 and the aeronautic market contraction affected negatively the Aeronautic Industries and Mechanic IAM “Rinaldo Piaggio”, name adopted since 1964, and the finalese factory went through a period of crisis and attempts to re-launch. Therefore, numerous industrial readjustments and transfer of ownerships followed: from IAM “Rinaldo Piaggio” to “Piaggio Aero Industries” and lastly “Piaggio Aerospace” in 2014 when the transfer of the production in the new plants of Villanova d’Albenga signed the definitive closure of the finalese establishment. The now abandoned industrial buildings, as the 1937-1938 office buildings and the large 1918 hangar were destined for demolition and Finale Ligure ceased to be the città del volo – city of planes, as it had been known for almost a century.

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