Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

CNA Rondine Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Italian Marque

Compagnia Nazionale Aeronautica was established in Italy by Count Giovanni Bonmartini in 1920. They built aeroplanes and aircraft engines, and in another partnership Bonmartini worked on a racing motorcycle, the GBR (Gianini, Remor, Bonmartini).

Work on the motorcycle began in 1923. Carlo Gianini and Piero Remor were joined by Bonmartini and by 1929 the machine, now named OPRA. A dispute with Bonmartini led to Remor leaving [1], and control of the company passed to CNA. At this stage the motorcycle was renamed Rondine, in honour of the aeroplane of that name which overflew the March on Rome of 1922.

The CNA Rondine took 1st and 2nd at the Grand Prix of Tripoli by Taruffi and Amilcare Rossetti, and a streamlined version was taken to record-breaking 244.6 km/h by Taruffi.

In 1935 CNA sold the project (six watercooled and supercharged motorcycles, the plans and the rights) to another aviation company, Aero Caproni. Caproni had no real interest in the project, and Taruffi talked Gilera into buying it from them. Gilera, of course, made Rondine famous.

1. Remor later worked with Gilera and then MV Agusta on their fours. Bonmartini was not the last person with whom he fell out.
2. The Icenicam article by Mark Daniels is well worthwhile, as is the Wikipedia piece on Piero Remor.
Sources:, wikipedia, et al

If you have a query or information about these Italian motorcycles, please contact us