One of the truly great Italian WW2 planes. This was the Fiat Centauro(Centaur) It was a great plane; thanks to the German Diamler Benz DB 605. Like all other Axis planes, there were only a handful produced.
Rommel thought well of the Italian soldiers he fought with in North Africa, and they fought hard against the Soviets. Most of the later Italian fighters: Fiat, Reggiane and Macchi, used the Daimler-Benz 601 V-12 built by Alfa-Romeo.
I really don't know about Rommel, but I do know they were crushed when Stalingrad was surrounded (they were protecting one of the flanks), and besides, they failed in all their objectives when the war with France was declared (I believe it was Rommel himself who came and rescued them), and their performance in the war with Greece was so pathetic that once again the Germans had to come and save their asses, which cost them precious time for Barbarossa. Plus lets not forget what army actually defended Italy during the allied invasion.
Wow, that engine screams quality! Too bad those planes were so misused...