My son Alessandro is three years old and is already a travel-addict.. in the first years of his life he has already chewed up more miles and taken more planes than many other adults. It doesn’t matter if he is on a car, or a train or plane, he sits on his seat looking out the window curiously and keeps asking "What's that?", “What's that for?”, “Could we go to have a look there?”. Airplanes are his true passion, even better if they can in any way glide over the water. For this reason the last morning we decided to bring him to Volandia, the aviation museum, close to the Malpensa airport and it was an amazing idea!!
Volandia is situated in the original site of the industrial structures of the historical Gianni Caproni aeronautical works a 10/15 minute walk from the Malpensa-Terminal 1. The museum could be a funny entertainment for your free time if you’re waiting for the next flight to take off. In order to reach Volandia, go to departures and check-in areas, then get to the exit n. 17. Walk the way outside the airport till the pedestrian bridge, which directly takes to the museum. You can get there by taking the bus or train to Malpensa and then walking along the pedestrian link. We live in Varese so we preferred to use the car we left in the ample free parking, unattended of the museum.
The tour of the museum begins with the illusion of going up the plane ladders and, instead, you are in a large pavilion. The aircraft on display are really many, from the beginning of the last century to the brand new convertiplano. The museum is composed by 11 pavillons divided up in 5 areas: forms of flight, fixed wing, rotary wing, model aircraft and the convertiplane. In the various pavilions the history of aviation is presented, from the first flights in hot-air balloons to the most recent innovations in the industry. Thus, it is possible to admire original examples of the first propeller planes, jet planes, and helicopters from the past and from the present, up to the Agusta Westland AW609 VTOL aircraft, which combines vertical and horizontal flight.
For those over 12 years there is also the possibility to try the flight simulator . The beauty of Volandia is that it also hosts an indoor and an outdoor play area where children can romp after visiting the museum, complete with an inflatable airplane. Ideal for those with children of very different ages: while the big ones make the rounds of airplanes and helicopters (naturally accompanied), the little ones can stay with the other parent to have fun with buildings and cars. In the former workshop area you will also find a bar and a restaurant.
If you are interested in some other kids friendly activities in the close city of Varese have a look to my article " Varese for kids".
The Volandia Museum is managed by the Fondazione Museo dell’Aeronautica (Aeronautical Museum Foundation), with its offices in Varese, established by institutes and companies in the Varese area. The learning experiences and the guided tours benefit by the precious contribution of the Associazione amici di Volandia (Friends of Volandia Association), a group of enthusiasts and former employees of the aeronautical companies.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.