Itala was a car manufacturer based in Turin, Italy from 1904-1934, started by Matteo Ceirano and five partners in 1903.

Fateceased production, remnants sold to Fiat
HeadquartersTurin, Italy
Key people
Matteo Ceirano, founder

Ceirano family background

The Ceirano brothers, Giovanni Battista, Giovanni, Ernesto and Matteo, were influential in the founding of the Italian auto industry, being variously responsible for : Ceirano; Welleyes (the technical basis of F.I.A.T.); Fratelli Ceirano; S.T.A.R. / Rapid (Società Torinese Automobili Rapid); SCAT (Società Ceirano Automobili Torino); Itala and S.P.A. (Società Piemontese Automobili). Giovanni's son Giovanni "Ernesto" was also influential, co-founding Ceirano Fabbrica Automobili (aka Giovanni Ceirano Fabbrica Automobili) and Fabrica Anonima Torinese Automobili (FATA).

In 1888, after eight years apprenticeship at his father's watch-making business, Giovanni Battista started building Welleyes bicycles, so named because English names had more sales appeal.[1] In October 1898 Giovanni Battista and Matteo co-founded Ceirano GB & C and started producing the Welleyes motor car in 1899. In July 1899 the plant and patents were sold to Giovanni Agnelli and produced as the first F.I.A.T.s - the Fiat 4 HP. Giovanni Battista was employed by Fiat as the agent for Italy, but within a year he left to found Fratelli Ceirano & C. which in 1903 became Società Torinese Automobili Rapid (S.T.A.R.) building cars badged as 'Rapid'. In 1904 Matteo Ceirano left Ceirano GB & C to create his own brand - Itala. In 1906 Matteo left Itala to found S.P.A. (Società Piemontese Automobili) with chief designer, Alberto Ballacco. In 1906 Giovanni founded SCAT (Società Ceirano Automobili Torino) in Turin. In 1919 Giovanni and Giovanni "Ernesto" co-founded Ceirano Fabbrica Automobili (aka Giovanni Ceirano Fabbrica Automobili) and in 1922 they took control of Fabrica Anonima Torinese Automobili (FATA).


Itala Grand Prix Racer
1907 Itala Grand Prix Racer with 14.75 liter (900 cubic-inches) straight-4 engine.
1907 Itala - Project Gutenberg etext 17432
The 1907 Itala mod. 35/45 HP which won the Peking to Paris motor race in 1907.
Itala 35 45 2 HP
The Itala mod. 35/45 HP at the Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile in Turin.[2]

Three cars were offered in the first year, an 18 hp, a 24 hp and a 50 hp. In 1905 they started making very large engined racing cars with a 14.8 Litre 5 cylinder model which won the Coppa Florio and the year after that the Targa Florio. In 1907 a 7,433 cc (453.6 cu in) 35/45 hp model driven by Count Scipione Borghese won the Peking to Paris motor race by three weeks. These sporting successes helped sales dramatically, the company continued to grow. The company experimented with a range of novel engines such as variable stroke, sleeve valve, and "Avalve" rotary types and at the beginning of World War I, offered a wide range of cars. During the war Itala built aeroplane engines but made a loss producing them.

After the armistice car production resumed with models based on the pre war cars such as the Tipo 50 25/35 hp and a re-appearance of the Avalve in the 4,426 cc (270.1 cu in) Tipo 55 but financial success eluded the company

From 1924 the company was being run under receivership and they appointed Giulio Cesare Cappa from Fiat as general manager. He produced a new car, the Tipo 61 with 7 cylinder alloy engine which was well received but he then decided to return to motor sport producing the Tipo 11, a very advanced car with front wheel drive, 1050 cc supercharged V12 engine and all round independent suspension[3] but the car never raced. Two Tipo 61s did take part in the 1928 Le Mans 24 hour race winning the 2 litre class.

The company was bought by truck maker Officine Metallurgiche di Tortona in 1929 and a few more cars were made up to 1935. The remains of the company was sold to Fiat.

Itala rotary valves

A distinctive feature of the pre-World War I 50 hp & 90 hp models was their use of a rotary valve. Each valve fed a pair of cylinders and was mounted alongside, rotating parallel to them. Four ports cast into the valve alternately connected ports to the cylinders through the side of the valve to the inlet and exhaust manifolds at bottom and top of the valves.[4]

Itala rotary valve

Valve and cylinders from above

Itala rotary valve strokes

Engine stroke and valve position

Itala rotary valve cooling

Internal water-cooling of the valve

Leo Villa began his career as a racing mechanic working on these rotary valve engines for the driver Giulio Foresti. He met Malcolm Campbell, when in 1923, Campbell took over the Itala and Ballot concessions in London. Seeing the publicity potential of racing them at Brooklands, Campbell also bought two of Foresti's race-prepared cars. Foresti and Villa delivered them in person from Paris to Campbell's house at Povey Cross. Impressed by Campbell's wealth and ambitions, Villa accepted an offer to become his permanent mechanic.[5]


  • Barzini, Luigi and L P De Castelvecchio. Peking to Paris 100th Anniversary Edition. Demontreville Press Inc, 2007.ISBN 0978956311
  • Clutton, Cecil (1967). The 1907 & 1908 Racing Italas. Profile Publications. 61.

See also


  1. ^ "YourWebHosting". Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ "ITALA mod. 35/45 HP (Pechino – Parigi)". Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  3. ^ "ITALA mod. 11". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. ^ Rankine Kennedy C.E. (1912). The Book of the Motor Car. Caxton.
  5. ^ Leo Villa and Kevin Desmond (1979). Life with the Speed King. London: Marshall Harris & Baldwin. ISBN 0-906116-06-6.
1906 Targa Florio

The 1906 Targa Florio was the inaugural running of the Targa Florio, an open road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near Palermo. Founded by wealthy Sicilian wine producer, Vincenzo Florio, it was held at Madonie on 6 May 1906 and run over 3 laps of the 92.473 mile circuit, totalling 277.42 miles.The entry list was badly affected by a dock strike in Genoa but the race was won by the Italian driver Alessandro Cagno in an Itala.

A.S.D. Itala San Marco Gradisca

Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Itala San Marco Gradisca (usually abbreviated to I.S.M. Gradisca) is an Italian association football club located in Gradisca d'Isonzo, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Currently it plays in Eccellenza.

Alessandro Cagno

Alessandro Umberto Cagno, Umberto Cagno, nicknamed Sandrin (2 May 1883 – 23 December 1971) was an Italian racing driver, aviation pioneer and powerboat racer.

Apprenticed at 13 to a Turin engineering factory he was later recruited by Giovanni Agnelli as employee number 3 at F.I.A.T. (Fiat), where he progressed to be a test driver, Agnelli's personal driver and works racing team driver. In 1906 he won the inaugural Targa Florio in Sicily after switching to the Itala team.

Cagno co-founded 'AVIS-Voisin' (Atelier Voisin Italie Septentrionale) to build Voisin aircraft under licence. He designed and tested aircraft, founded Italy's first flying school in Pordenone, and was the first person to fly above Venice. After volunteering as a pilot for the Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912) in Libya he invented a bomb aiming device.


Alì is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 180 kilometres (110 mi) east of Palermo and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Messina.

Alì borders the following municipalities: Alì Terme, Fiumedinisi, Itala.

Alì Terme

Alì Terme is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 180 kilometres (110 mi) east of Palermo and about 25 kilometres (16 mi) southwest of Messina.

Alì Terme borders the following municipalities: Alì, Fiumedinisi, Itala, Nizza di Sicilia.

Charpentieria ornata

Charpentieria ornata is a species of small, very elongate, air-breathing land snail, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks in the family Clausiliidae, the door snails, all of which have a clausilium.


Fiumedinisi (Sicilian: Ciumidinisi) is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 180 kilometres (110 mi) east of Palermo and about 25 kilometres (16 mi) southwest of Messina.

Fiumedinisi borders the following municipalities: Alì, Alì Terme, Itala, Mandanici, Messina, Monforte San Giorgio, Nizza di Sicilia, Roccalumera, San Pier Niceto, Santa Lucia del Mela.

Giuliano Zoratti

Giuliano Zoratti (born July 13, 1947) is an Italian professional former footballer and manager. He's currently managing I.S.M. Gradisca, in Serie D.

Helicella itala

Helicella itala is a species of medium-sized, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Geomitridae, the hairy snails and their allies. The common Heath snail is a West Palearctic species found in the British Isles, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. It is now also widely distributed in Australia (first found in Australia in 1891). In English this is known as the Heath snail.

Itala, Sicily

Itala is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 180 kilometres (110 mi) east of Palermo and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Messina.

Itala borders the following municipalities: Alì, Alì Terme, Fiumedinisi, Messina, Scaletta Zanclea.

Itala Fulvia Villa

Itala Fulvia Villa (1913-1991) was an Argentinian architect whose main forte was city planning. She was an integral part of creating and designing the urban model for the city of Buenos Aires. As part of urbanization process, she designed and built a plan for the neighborhood known as Bajo Flores, where Pope Francis grew up, for which she received first prize in the 6th National Exhibition of Architecture Fair in 1945. In 1979, she was a representative of the Argentina Federation of University Women.

Itala Pellegrino

Itala Pellegrino (Milan, born 1865) was an Italian painter; she mainly painted genre and seascapes.

Ithala Game Reserve

Ithala Game Reserve is situated in 290 km2 of rugged, mountainous thornveld, about 400 km north of Durban, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is one of the youngest game parks in South Africa. The altitude varies from 400 m along the Phongolo River to 1,450 m along the Ngotshe Mountain escarpment. The reserve consequently encompasses a great variation of terrain, from densely vegetated river valleys and lowveld to high-lying grassland plateaus, mountain ridges and cliff faces.

Matteo Ceirano

Matteo Ceirano (1870 in Cuneo – 19 March 1941 in Torino) was an Italian businessman in the early automobile industry who co-founded the manufacturers Ceirano; Itala Fabbrica Automobili in 1904 and Società Piemontese Automobili (S.P.A.) in 1908.

Matteo Tomei

Matteo Tomei (born 28 June 1984) is an Italian footballer who plays for Serie C club Vis Pesaro.

Quedlinburg Itala fragment

The Quedlinburg Itala fragment (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Cod. theol. lat. fol. 485) is a fragment of six folios from a large 5th-century illuminated manuscript of an Old Latin Itala translation of parts of 1 Samuel of the Old Testament. It was probably produced in Rome in the 420s or 430s. It is the oldest surviving illustrated biblical manuscript and has been in the Berlin State Library since 1875-76. The pages are approximately 305 x 205 mm large.The fragments were found from 1865 onwards (two in 1865, two in 1867, one in 1887) re-used in the bindings of different books that had been bound in the 17th century in the town of Quedlinburg, home of Quedlinburg Abbey, a large Imperial monastery, where the manuscript may well have spent much of its life.

The illustrations are grouped in framed miniatures occupying an entire page, with between two and five miniatures per page, with the corresponding text being on the other side of the pages; there are fourteen miniatures in total. One folio contains only text. The illustrations, although much damaged, are done in the illusionistic style of late antiquity.

Vetus Latina

Vetus Latina ("Old Latin" in Latin), also known as Vetus Itala ("Old Italian"), Itala ("Italian")  and Old Italic, is the collective name given to the Latin translations of biblical texts (both Old Testament and New Testament) that existed before the Vulgate, the Latin translation produced by Jerome in the late 4th century. The Vetus Latina translations continued to be used alongside the Vulgate, but eventually the Vulgate became the standard Latin Bible used by the Catholic Church, especially after the Council of Trent (1545–1563) affirmed the Vulgate translation as authoritative for the text of Scripture. However, the Vetus Latina texts survive in some parts of the liturgy (eg., the Pater Noster).

As the English translation of Vetus Latina is "Old Latin", they are also sometimes referred to as the Old Latin Bible, although they are written in the form of Latin known as Late Latin, not that known as Old Latin. The Vetus Latina manuscripts that are preserved today are dated from AD 350 to the 13th century.

Ville Itälä

Ville Heimo Antero Itälä (born 10 May 1959 in Luumäki) is the Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and a former a Finnish politician. He was elected member of the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta) from the district of Southwest Finland in 1995. Itälä served as the Minister of the Interior under Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen from September 2000 to April 2003. He was elected chairman of the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) in 2001. Following his resignation as party leader in 2004, he was succeeded by Jyrki Katainen. Itälä was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 until 29 February 2012. He was a member of the European Court of Auditors from 2012 until February 2018. Since August 2018 he is the Director-General of OLAF.

Ítala Nandi

Ítala Nandi (born 4 June 1942) is a Brazilian actress. She has appeared in 33 films and television shows since 1964. She starred in the 1974 film Sagarana: The Duel, which was entered into the 24th Berlin International Film Festival.

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