Book Review: The Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero

Luigino Caliaro Collection

The elegant, three-engined Savoia Marchetti S.79 ‘Sparviero’ (Sparrowhawk) was for a period the fastest medium bomber in the world. Designed by Alessandro Marchetti, the first prototype was produced in September 1934 and over 1,300 aircraft were built up to 1943.

Luigino Caliaro Collection

During the 1930s, the S.79 made several record-breaking long-range flights to North and East Africa, the Middle East, and South America and also was used as an airliner. The S.79 first saw combat in the Spanish Civil War where, from 1937, it carried out bombing operations against a range of Republican targets including ports and strikes against shipping. During the Second World War, the Regia Aeronautica first deployed the S.79 as a conventional bomber against targets in France, Corsica, and Tunisia in 1940 as well as in Italian East Africa and in the Mediterranean where the aircraft saw intensive operations over Malta. The S.79 gained a deserved reputation as a highly effective torpedo-bomber, carrying out several notable attacks against Royal Navy warships including a damaging strike against the British aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable in July 1943.

Luigino Caliaro Collection

In this book, aviation historian and photographer, Luigino Caliaro, presents the full story of the S.79, exploring its origins, design, development, construction, and operations, as well as offering a detailed account of its civilian, twin-engine, and export variants, and projected developments. The book is enhanced by hundreds of rare photographs, color artworks and detailed technical drawings, making this the most comprehensive account of this interesting and successful aircraft to be published in the English language.

The book can be purchased at the following LINK.

Luigino Caliaro is an acclaimed aviation photographer based in northern Italy. He has flown in the ‘back seat of many aircraft starting with an RAF Tucano in 1995. Since then he has flown numerous photo sorties with many of the world’s premier military aerobatic demonstration teams including the US Navy’s Blue Angels, the Canadian Snowbirds, the Frecce Tricolori and the Red Arrows. He has photographed, air-to-air, many of the world’s most advanced military jet aircraft including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, Tornado, Mirage, MiG-29, and Harrier, and also flown a six-hour mission on board a B-1B ‘Lancer’. He has visited US Navy and French aircraft carriers several times and he has made a landing and take-off in an Italian Navy Harrier from the deck of the aircraft carrier Garibaldi. In addition, he has flown photo sorties with aircraft from several historical aviation collections and museums around the world. Luigino is also the author of several books on Italian aviation history and aviation photography as well as numerous magazine and journal articles published in the English language in Aeroplane, FlyPast, and The Aviation Historian. For more information about Luigino’s work, visit

Luigino is also one of our regular contributors and a great friend, you can check his work HERE.



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