The Garelliana collection is among the most interesting assemblies in the archives of the Genoa Pegli maritime museum and consists of approximately 450 items, such as watercolours, paintings, prints and ship models. Fabio Garelli (Florence, 1860– Genoa, 1942) obtained his degree with honours in naval architecture from the University of Genoa in 1889, presenting the design for an ocean liner for the South American run; for many years he was a prominent character in the sector of shipping companies. In his position as NGI's technical director he initially designed the transatlantic liners of the “Royal” and “Ducal” class and, immediately afterwards, he drafted the forthcoming Duilio and Giulio Cesare.
A litograph printed in 1922 for travel agency to promote the Duilio and obtained from a painting by N. Zanolio.
The first drawings by Garelli for the two vessels dated back to 1910, when NGI envisaged building two sisterships for the Latin America service of approximately 15,000 tons and a larger liner, about 20,000 gross tons, for the express service between Genoa, Naples and New York..
In 1912, after the decision to reduce the number of newbuildings to two, the shipping world was upset by the tragedy of the Titanic and all the rules on watertight compartmentalisation and the means of evacuation were questioned.
Although a deal on the minimum safety of life at sea (SOLAS) requirements was reached in London in 1914, the agreement could not be ratified owing to the outbreak of the Great War. Nevertheless, in order to cope with public expectations, all shipping companies, including NGI, decided to invest in improving safety, although it meant an increase in costs and building time.
At last, in December 1913, Ansaldo of Genoa was entrusted by Navigazione Generale with the construction of the Duilio, while the contract for an almost identical vessel, the Giulio Cesare, was awarded to the well-known yard Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd, based at Wal