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historical society


Italian Liners is a non-profit association founded in 2015 with the aim of protecting, promoting and spreading the memory of the Italian liners and the world in which they operated. The association is active in Italy with numerous events and, globally, with its ‘virtual’ museum

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The Association is constantly active in identifying and, where possible, acquiring documentary material in order to catalogue and study it and to make it available to members in the manner of similar societies and archives abroad.

We promote exhibitions, publications, lectures, discussions and courses at schools and universities. In addition, we are involved in organising events and television programmes which attract interest and praise from the general public and the press.

Our on-line museum has so far been visited by individuals and organisations in more than 100 countries. Thanks to the incorporation of an English language version within the site, the Association has attracted a membership in many countries in five continents.

History, sociological events, wars, engineering, shipbuilding, architecture, design, the arts, cuisine are all examples of themes relevant to Italian liners which are explored in our archives.

Italy possessed the second largest fleet of passenger liners in the World and is today the global leader in the construction of the large cruise ships of the latest generation. Paradoxically, it is the only major country which has not established a museum or a national archive dedicated to this fascinating page of industrial history of worldwide relevance.

The Associazione Culturale Italian Liners fills this gap with dedication and professionalism and has received great public acclaim for its cultural initiatives devoted to the themes of the sea and navigation. These are only made possible by sometimes small contributions by our members and sponsors who share our passion and who recognise the importance of history as an instrument of cultural enrichment for present day and future generations.


We are happy to offer all who are interested in liners the opportunity to sail with us on this voyage of discovery. The annual fare is 15€ for a Third Class ticket; 30€ in Second Class and 50€ in First Class.

A modest contribution by many makes it possible to keep alive a hugely important and fascinating aspect of our history. It is a page which records part of the lives of millions of men and women and of the entire nation.

When they embark, our members/passengers can gain access to many exclusive areas: browsing through the brochures of the time, reading authoritative articles dedicated to ships, companies, shipyards, etc. You will be informed each month by new material and further research in our archives which can be seen on line. You will receive by e-mail the newsletter “Programma di Bordo” containing information regarding new pages published on the site, accounts of our most recent initiatives and events and those which are planned for the future, plus an exclusive high-resolution digital image which you can scan and preserve in your own collection.

In addition, First Class passengers will also receive by post three artistic prints (29x14cm) depicting three of the most famous Italian liners of the post-War period – Giulio Cesare, Andrea Doria and Raffaello.


The Italian Liners Society has a vast archive, largely coming from the collections of Maurizio Eliseo and Paolo Piccione.

It consists of about 3,000 books and other publications dating from before the nineteenth century onwards: 7,000 brochures, leaflets, passenger lists, menus, postcards, envelopes and headed notepaper and other material; about 2,000 large general arrangement and technical plans; just under 100,000 negatives (glass, film, diapositive….) and original albumen photographic prints from the mid-nineteenth century printed with silver salts in both colour and black and white; about 100 large posters; paintings and other original works of art; about 500 deck plans, 1,500 technical specifications, annuals, itineraries, legal documents, hand-written administrative memoranda, statistics of traffic and passengers; and confidential notes resulting from “industrial espionage” by shipyards and shipping companies.

A great feature of this mass of material is that it has been catalogued in order to make it rapidly accessible and that it is being professionally digitalised – not merely the covers but also the internal pages. Thanks to our information systems we have been able to obtain digital copies of material in private collections or belonging to organisations whose owners, while willing to allow us to make copies, have preferred to retain the originals.


There is also an amount of material which has been physically preserved by the Society and which has come from the archives of Egone and Edda Missio, the administration of CRDA, Captain Claudio Cosulich, Engineer Maurizio Cergol, Doctor Giuliano Cominardi and others.

Thanks to our experience and our proficient collaborators, we have undertaken the cataloguing and have been involved in the restoration of material in public and private collections such as the archives of Lloyd Austriaco and Lloyd Triestino, partly held in the Civic Maritime Museum of Trieste and by Italia Marittima within the Evergreen Group.

We are dealing with a huge patrimony and the cost of digitalising it in order to make it available to the public is immense.



The Italian Liners Society mounts exhibitions in Italy in collaboration with public and private bodies such as Friuli Venezia Giulia; ERPAC Ente Regionale Patrimonio Cultura; the Region of Sicily; the Commune of Monfalcone; the Commune of Trieste; the Commune of Palermo; the Fincantieri Foundation; and the Ansaldo Foundation.

The exhibitions which the Society has organised or in which it has participated by providing material have been: ” La Grande Trieste”, “Saturnia e Vulcania, motonavi da record”, the FIFA Museum in Zurich, “Lloyd, le navi di Trieste nel mondo”, “Idrovolante (seaplanes), l’epoca dei cant tra le due guerre”, Museo della Cantieristica di Monfalcone.

“Saturnia e Vulcania motonavi da record”

With the construction of the Saturnia and Vulcania, the Monfalcone yard established itself for the first time as an internationally noted shipbuilder. Among the many innovations which were introduced on these favourites of the international travelling public on the transatlantic route were, for the very first time on passenger ships, cabins with private balconies, now a ‘must’ on all cruise ships.


From a technical point of view, the two sisters gripped the attention of the shipping world with their experimental diesel engines; and since then, over a period of many years, the yard has gone on to be awarded many prestigious orders not only from Italian owners but also from abroad.


The “Saturnia e Vulcania” exhibition, organised by the Italian Liners Society together with the Fincantieri Foundation, has been mounted at the Contemporary Art Gallery at Monfalcone; the Selva Room at the Gopcevich Palace in Trieste; and at the Naval Arsenal in Palermo, in each case receiving enormous public acclaim.



Monfalcone (Go): Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea; From the 4th to the 20th of  settembre 2015


Trieste: Palazzo Gopcevich, Sala Attilio Selva; from the 2nd to the 18th of October 2015

Palermo: Arsenale della Marina Regia; from the 14th of May to the 5th of June 2016

“Lloyd, le navi di Trieste nel mondo”

Dedicated to the 180 years since the birth of the longest lived shipping company in the World.


The exhibition dealt not only with the maritime aspects of this famous Trieste company but, through images, models, books, works of art, etc., it illustrated the evolution of the company and of the entire city of Trieste, not only from a shipping point of view but also culturally, intellectually and commercially.


The event was organised by the Port Authority of Trieste in the Hydrodynamic Centre of the Old Port of Trieste, from the 26th March to the 9th October, 2016.

"Metamorphosis: From Liners to Cruise Ships”

This exhibition recalls an epoch-making event in the history of the worldwide shipbuilding industry in which Italy was the protagonist. The years of the ’Sixties closed the age of the legendary ocean liners but initiated that of the modern cruise ships.

One of the participants in this process was the famous shipyard at Monfalcone. In the mid-’Fifties, its New Construction Office, directed by Nicolò Costanzi, had been engaged in the task of designing the ultimate Italian liners, which emerged a decade later as the Michelangelo and the Raffaello.




The Italian Liners Society promotes lectures and discussions, and also presents lessons at schools and universities. In addition, it introduces publications by noted experts in the maritime field.

The intention is to spread knowledge of the history of ocean liners and other vessels which have significance for the entire Italian nation.

Ciclo di conferenze “Trieste e il mare” edizione 2016

As part of the project to revive and restore the Old Port in Trieste, The Italian Liners Society, in collaboration with the Commune of Trieste and the Port Authority promoted a series of Lectures called “Trieste and the Sea” devoted to maritime themes.

The lectures were given by nine acknowledged experts in the maritime field and took place between the end of January and May in the Auditorium of Warehouse No. 26.

Videos of these lectures are available to subscribers to the Society through the Premium Area of the Society’s web-site.

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Ciclo di conferenze “Trieste e il mare” 2nd edizione 2017


Following the great success of the 2016 programme, the Italian Liners Society promoted a second series of lectures dedicated to themes linking Trieste with its natural place in maritime history.

Four speakers informed and entertained the public in the Sala Imperatore of the Hotel Savoia Excelsior Palace from the middle of March to the beginning of April, 2017.


“Trieste and cruises: a voyage from the future to the past and back” by Maurizio Eliseo as part of the Summer Circle organised by the Maritime Museum of Trieste, 10th July, 2015.

“The furnishing of the Saturnia and Vulcania, from eclecticism and modernism” by Paolo Piccione within the Exhibition at Monfalcone dedicated to the two motorships, 5th September, 2015.

“Cocktails on board” by Maurizio Eliseo within the Exhibition about the two motorships at Monfalcone, 11th September, 2015.

“Arts and artists on board Triestine passenger ships” by Maurizio Eliseo for the Fai Friuli Venezia Giulia, 4th March, 2016.


Books Presentations:

“Opuscolo Italian Liners” presentato a Genova presso la villa Cambiaso nel giugno 2014 in occasione del Convegno nazionale Cultura navale e marittima.

“Il varo nel golfo di Trieste” presentato il 20 maggio 2015 a Trieste presso la sala convegni dell'Hotel Savoia Excelsior Palace in occasione della presentazione dell'Associazione Culturale Italian Liners e del suo museo “virtuale”.

“Saturnia e Vulcania motonavi da record”: Monfalcone (Go) 19th September 2015.

“Saturnia e Vulcania motonavi da record”: Trieste 9th October 2015.

“Saturnia e Vulcania motonavi da record” edizione delux: Trieste 12th December 2015; Muggia (Ts) 11 febbraio 2016.

“Saturnia e Vulcania motonavi da record” edizione delux: Palermo 21st May 2016.



The Italian Liners Society sells publications about the history of liners, shipping companies and shipyards. These books are available on the Society’s web-site on the Shop page.

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