The Museum of Communication ‘Voices in the air’

The Museum of Communication ‘Voices in the air’ situated in the Oliveto area of Imperia, was born on 11th September 2008 thanks to the passion and will of Angelo Sessa, an entrepreneur who has been operating in this sector for a long time and who has devoted most of the past twenty-five years to searching out obsolete devices, which however have marked the history of Italian communications.

The museum hosts a selection of more than 500 devices (almost all working) which significantly summarise the history of communication: from the first electronic experiments to the Voltaic Pile, from the telegraph to the telephone, from sound recording with a phonograph and a gramophone right up to modern digital devices.

Sessa originally collected all the exhibits in Italy, and subsequently beyond the national borders, from England to France, from Germany to Italy, from Holland right up to Canada and other overseas countries. The most interesting section of this complete and very precious collection is undoubtedly the one dedicated to radio, where the name of Guglielmo Marconi is greatly important in his role as the father of this invention: the exhibits include radios built by the Officine Marconi in Genova, crystal Galena radios, popular receiving sets from the former regime and the first transistor radio ever built.

Amongst these ‘gems’ there is an Mk4 BURNDEPT model of the same radio used by General Umberto Nobile (the original ‘Red Tent’ one is in the Italian Navy Arsenal Museum in La Spezia), which together with the Ondina 33, the short-wave on-board emergency transmitter, was used by Radio operator Giuseppe Biagi at the North Pole in 1928 to transmit the SOS heard by Soviet amateur radio operator Nicolaj Schmidt during the unfortunate expedition of the airship Italia to the North Pole. Apparently, only six of these radios were produced and the consignees, in addition to Nobile, were Ciano, Mussolini and Pope Pious XI.


The very unusual and extremely interesting Museum of Communication ‘Voices in the air’ is located in Località Oliveto, Salita Garzini 5, in the northern section of Imperia, and may only be visited on Saturdays from 10 am to 12; however, it is possible to book other days (by contacting +39 0183 294988 or +39 347 4317611).

[Viviana Spada]

Available also in: Français (French) Deutsch (German) Русский (Russian) Italiano (Italian)