“A nation which does not know its past has no future”
CONTENTS OF THIS SITE
In a hypothetical choice of various works of man which could represent the Twentieth century, the ocean liner would certainly be part of the selection. The history of the liner, although beginning in the Nineteenth century, is a parabola which, above all, progresses through the Twentieth century and which concludes with the transformation of the liner into the cruise ship: travel by sea by necessaity now becomes a voyage of pleasure. In the second half of the Nineteenth century, the steamship became a floating city, as Jules Verne suggested in his novel La Ville Flottante, and its evolution ceased in the 'Sixties with the final triumph of the jet plane. In a world which was still immense, the globe was criss-crossed by an endless number of ships, uniting the farthest corners. Among the many sea-lines, all over the World, the most prestigious routes were the ones between Europe and the eastern coasts of the Americas, above all to the United States and especially to New York, where the flagships of many countries would meet each other and would compete in beauty, speed, luxury and the high-class service which they provided, striving to attract the attention of the international public. At the end of the Great War, the new generation of ships (the period between the two World Wars is considered by many historians to have been the Golden Age of the ocean liner) brought to prominence the search for speed (the myth of the Blue Riband) but also the role of the ship as an ambassador for a country's art, culture, design and cuisine; as Gio Ponti recorded on the pages of Domus, “The furnishing of ships, through the work of the artist and the technician, becomes a lively testimony to the tone of the civilisation of whichever nation owns the vessel: functions which represent the country to the highest extent and from which are derived prestige and great authority: functions of ambitious responsibility.”
The intention of this website is to fill an institutional gap: Italy had one of the largest and most highly-regarded ocean liner fleets in the World but it is virtually the only major shipping nation which does not have an archive or a museum at least partly devoted to it. On the contrary, it sometimes seems that many of the public institutions and other bodies are competing to obliterate the historical link between Italy and the sea, exception made for a few laudable cases which would deserve greater consideration and gratitude for their hard work. This website is an attempt to answer (within the limits imposed by the resources available to a group of aficionados) the numerous requests for information and images related to the Italian ocean liners, the country’s merchant marine and its shipbuilding industry; and, above all, to keep alive a beautiful page of history – recording the technology, the art, the architecture to which so many people have contributed: the people who planned those ships, designed, created, managed and steered them as well as those 18 million Italians who boarded them in the hope of finding a better future in a far country. In other countries – in Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, the United States, for instance – there are organisations trying to preserve the history of their liners with the support of public institutions or private benefactors. They have archives and museums, can mount exhibitions and, event and can produce documentaries, etc. They bring knowledge to the public and safeguard the historical heritage of their merchant navies, at the same time involving new generations in keeping alive the history of their countries and the roots of their culture. It would be wonderful to see the day when in Italy and among the Italians there were those who knew and proudly safeguarded their own past, aware that it is one of the most important means of achieving a better future.
ITALIAN LINERS TEAM
Nicolò Capus (co-founder)
Having been born in the maritime city of Trieste, Nicolò is an enthusiast for the history of passenger ships which have fascinated him ever since he was a child. He works in the fields of graphics and shipping. In 2011, after graduating in architecture in his native city, he gained a second level European diploma in "The architecture of ships and yachts" at the prestigious IUAV in Venice. After working in the cruise ship design sector, he gained experience as a quality inspector on behalf of the shipowner during the construction of a vessel for the Carnival group at the Monfalcone shipyard. Currently, he works regularly for Thalia SaS, a consultancy company specialising in the vast fields of shipping and of maritime publishing.
Michele D'Iorio (co-founder)
Fascinated since childhood by computer sciences, Michele started developing his first web sites as a hobby in the late 'Nineties, in the wake of what was then known as the "Web 2.0" era. 2006 was a turning point for him when he decided to move to Bangkok, where he founded TechFido Online Solutions which, over the following years, developed projects in web design, SEO & SEM, and digital and social marketing,which were then fields which were still in an experimental phase. In 2009, D'orio founded, together with an international working team, TechFido News Aggregator and built up a vast base of users, as a result of which it was soon bought by a leading American concern. In 2013, besides starting a partnership with PRMedia 360 and DA Digital Solution, important Thai agencies in the fields of marketing and development - where he now has the role of DM Director he also started two important "Online Education" projects - Code Adventures (aiming to bring access to Computer Science to the poor children of South East Asia); and, now, Italian Liners.
After a long career as a stockbroker, Anthony Cooke founded Carmania Press in 1991. To-day, Carmania is one of the best-known international publishers of maritime books. In addition to publishing other authors’ works, he has himself written seven books about passenger ships and has translated others from Italian into English. He is also well-known as a lecturer at maritime museums and societies in Britain, Italy and America and on board cruise ships and has broadcast on BBC television. In 2009, he was the recipient of The South Street Seaport Museum of New York’s prestigious Silver Riband award for maritime history.