Giuseppe Mario Bellanca (1886-1960) is credited with designing and building the first airplane in Italy. He emigrated to the United States in 1911 and set up a flying school where, like many aviation pioneers of those years, he began designing and building his own planes. After working for various other airplane companies, in 1927 he founded the Bellanca Aircraft Company. Bellanca aircraft were known for being rugged and efficient. Their one distinctive aerodynamic feature in the early years was the airfoil shape of the struts supporting the wings, with the intention that the struts should furnish extra lift rather than just drag.
The true Bellanca company existed until 1954, when Bellanca sold it to some investors. It was moribund for a while, but its name was resurrected through a 1970 merger with Champion Aircraft, which had purchased the rights to the Model 7 Champ from Aeronca. Advanced versions of the Champ were sold by the merged entity, named Bellanca although its planes had nothing to do with Giuseppe Bellanca’s designs. Its successor, AviaBellanca, appears to exist today in some form.