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Aviano ( ) is a town and comune of province of Pordenone at the foot of the Dolomitesmarker mountain range in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, northern Italymarker.


Although Aviano has been inhabited only since the 10th century CE, evidence of a human presence dates to before the Romans entered the area in 186 BC. Most historians believe that Aviano developed with a commercial center located where present day Aviano is situated and a cultural and defensive center in the castle area. Aviano was a possession of the Patriarchate of Aquileia until 1420, when it came under the influence of the Venetian Republicmarker. Aviano became a part of the Italian State in 1866.

Main sights

  • The remains of the Castle (first half of the 10th century), on a hill nearby the city, including two towers, the mastio and the walls. The latter include the Renaissance-style church of Santa Maria e Giuliana (1589), which houses a precious stone Pietà sculpture by masters from Salzburgmarker.
  • The Cathedral of San Zenone (Duomo), built between 1775 and 1832. It has paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, one of which attributed to Paolo Veronese' school.
  • The church of St. Gregory, in the frazione of Castello, with a precious fresco cycle of the Passion of Christ (late 16th century).

In the neighbourhood is the ski resort of Piancavallomarker (1,267 m), at the foot of Monte Cavallo (2,250 m).

Aviano Air Base

Pre-dating the U.S. Air Force, Aviano Air Base was established by Italymarker in 1911. The base is considered the birthplace of Italian aviation. There has been an Americanmarker presence at Aviano Air Basemarker since the end of World War II. In 1954 the Italian and American governments signed a joint use agreement and by 1955, HQ United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) had moved its Italian operations from Udinemarker to Aviano. The base went through a period of hosting rotational fighter squadrons. With the declining use of the Italian live fire range, the rotational squadrons became a thing of the past. Aviano became a war reserve material storage base and played a big part in Desert Storm. In 1992, HQ 16th Air Force and the 401st Fighter Wing moved from Torrejon Air Basemarker, Spainmarker to Aviano. The Wing became home to two F-16 fighter squadrons, the 510th FS and the 555th FS. Both squadrons relocated from Ramstein ABmarker in 1994 and redesignated. The wing was redesignated from the 401st Fighter Wing to the 31st Fighter Wing in 1994 as Aviano took on permanently based aircraft for the first time in over 50 years. The base currently performs a NATO mission with close coordination with Italian personnel.

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