Italian stamps are very interesting when it comes to various air mail issues. They were, of course, the ones that issued the very first air mail stamp in the world, way back in 1917.

But I was working my way around this stamp from 1934.

It marks the first direct flight from Rome to Buenos Aires. I have it because it forms part of the greater Imperiale definitive set, which I'm working on at the moment. The original, non-overprinted stamp, a 2l blue, was issued in 1930.

For this commemorative issue, the stamp was overprinted and reissued in four new colours. It really marks the end of a period and the start of a new. The early 1930s saw the bloom of the Zeppelin flights, very much becoming a symbol of the totalitarian states of Europe. But looking at the various Italian issues, you see that the Zeppelin was fast becoming a symbol of the past. The Zeppelin stamp issues of Italy symbolize this by adopting archaic designs, as on this 1933 stamp.

The new aeroplanes, however, are depicted in a modern stylistic way, such as on this Air Express stamp from 1933, also part of the greater Imperiale set.

It was soon followed by an issue to mark the first Transatlantic Mass formation Flight by Flying Boats,

and the whole old versus new battle culminated in the above-mentioned 1934 issue to mark that first direct flight from Rome to Buenos Aires. An extra poignant feat, when you realize that the Zeppelin could only perform this flight with two halfway stops!

More on all this can be found here. An interesting read!