Idea Baloon was born in 1994 from the passion of Stefano Travaglia and Gianna Volpi for the balloon flight. They’re the first to fly regularly to Tuscany, but they don’t initially have a fixed take-off location, thus bringing their expertise and equipment wherever it’s required. This allows them to be known far and wide for the region and beyond, making more and more people passionate.
Over time, the activity settled on Florence, where in 1999 they founded the Tuscany Aerostatic Association and built the first aerostatic port in a city of Italian art.
Following a partial closure of the flight spaces above Florence, the business moved to Chianti, to be precise to Tavarnelle val di Pesa, where since 2000 it has continued to pursue the principles of the association: to spread the culture of balloon flight, the tradition of the first and most ancient means by which man has flown, the pleasure of visiting the skies and seeing the landscape from an unprecedented point of view, to experience the most important physical principles of flight. All this putting passenger safety first: flying only in optimal weather conditions and with certified and periodically revised equipment.
Designed by the same pilot, Stefano Travaglia, since 2007 the association has a special basket that allows even people with disabilities to fly, in total safety.
Over the years, Stefano and Gianna have welcomed more than 30,000 passengers and the business continues to grow, making use of the help of other pilots and a proven team, which makes this experience of natural flight over the Chianti hills ever more engaging, with the addition of rich breakfasts with typical products of the area and the possibility of buying videos of your flight, made on the spot with a drone, without forgetting the spirit of adventure and the magic that the balloon carries within itself.
Stefano Travaglia, the founder
Stefano Travaglia, who has always been particularly curious, has experimented with various activities and jobs that have led him from an initially artistic path of study to then, at the beginning of the nineties, the first handling in Italy, at Panerai at Peretola airport. He dealt with the management of flights from the ground, where he followed the airport at the various stages, or as a flight steward.
It was the meeting with Robert Hetringhton, an English pilot who lived in Tuscany in those years, who introduced him, together with Gianna, to the balloons world. When during a flight, organized to celebrate a friend’s birthday, Robert explains the salient aspects of riding a balloon, Stefano falls in love with it and in just three months he takes the pilot’s license, choosing Brian Jones as an instructor (who did the around the world in a balloon with Bertran Piccard) expert in flight and meteorology. The passion is so overwhelming that Stefano starts hitchhiking for England, where he spotted the balloon he could afford to buy at the time, on Brian’s advice. Since then the constant practice poured into Idea Ballon and the Aerostatic Association has made him an expert in the field, collaborating for years with Don Conner, pilot of the balloon Gulf Air, and with Lindstrand, the well-known balloon maker, as well as his historic supplier.
Stefano has always reflected himself in the hot-air balloon, with a strong personality and great presence, often fiery, but then able to amaze giving moments of absolute lightness and “sweetness”. After all, he always felt the air as his natural element.
Over the years, he has also spent himself in the dissemination of aerostatics, organizing and participating in countless national gatherings, forming more than 20 pilots in his career and pursuing the idea that aerostatic ports can also be integrated with city planning. In this regard, he gave lectures at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence, which resulted in some degree theses on the topic “Aerostatic Ports in the Medici Villas”.
The association’s gatherings over the years
The numbers of the Association
Over the years we have flown thousands of people over the skies of Tuscany
People flown with us
Happiness and emotions experienced during our travels.
Over the years, the passion has never abided, accompanying him to the end, in September 2019, since the activity is carried out by his partner Gianna, by his daughter Costanza and by the team he has trained over the years.
A passion that has always stimulated him, because as he often said:
Every flight is a new adventure;Stefano Travaglia
there’s something to learn from every flight