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 Wallsend-on-Tyne, builder, among many famous ships, of the crack Cunarder Mauretania, at the time holder of the Blue Riband; NGI had organised a call for tenders for the second ship which involved several European builders. The English yard won the contract also because it could offer a relatively short construction time, which met NGI's desire to have both vessels completed at the same time, in Summer 1916. The two shipyards would develop the design autonomously and it's indeed interesting to point out that Duilio and Giulio Cesare were similar but different, also in the hull forms.
The painter Guido Marussig, from Trieste, was entrusted by NGI to create the ship's logo for the early promotiona material of the Duilio.
The beautifully designed luggage tags were sought after by the passengers to decorate their steamer trunks
Meanwhile, in 1912, Fabio Garelli left NGI, following one of their top managers, Agostino Crespi, who had been appointed president of the rival company Transatlantica Italiana and as a consequence the task to update and finalise the design of the ships was taken up by another well-known naval architect of the time, Nabor Soliani (Brescello, 1850-Genoa 1930), director of the Ansaldo shipyard. Possibly the most evident change he made was the new cruiser stern, which beside being stronger, allowed more space to accommodate four shafts; the Duilio was the first quadruple screw liner built in Italy, she was 20,000 tons, 200 metres long and had a speed of 20 knots...
Giulio Cesare and Duilio represented a massive economic investment for NGI, which intended to put in service two transatlantic liners much superior to the previous Italian ones; their new flagships were also intended to respond to similar initiatives from rival companies, particularly the Lloyd Sabaudo which, at the same time was defining the construction contract of the future Conte Rosso with the Scottish shipyard of William Beardmore.
These events testify that the eve of the Great War was a period of great turmoil in the renovation programme of the Italian merchant marine, stimulated by the country’s industrial growth and by the constantly increasing flow of migrants to America.
In addition to Navigazione Generale and Lloyd Sabaudo, the Italia and the Transatlantica Italiana steam navigation companies also announced their intention to build new tonnage that for size, speed and luxury would represent a significant step forward compared to their previous vessels.
The outbreak of the conflict had devastating consequences on the development of these companies and on their intended new flagships, but historical analysis of this period nevertheless reveals that, remarkably, in 1914, Italy was about to take an important position in the rank of the maritime nations and line services. The emergency situation created by the long conflict would postpone but not block this evolution.
The twins Conte Rosso and Conte Verde and Duilio and Giulio Cesare, though completed in the 'Twenties, would prove modern and important vessels for many years to come.
Even more striking could have been the sisterships Andrea Doria and Camillo Cavour of the Transatlantica Italiana (designed by Ansaldo but never built) or the Kaiserin Elisabeth belonging to the Austro-Americana of Trieste (later to become known as Cosulich Line) and destroyed before she could leave the stocks of the Monfalcone shipyard.
A coloured longitudinal section of the Duilio, realised by the Ansaldo at the time of the building of the ship.
KEEL LAYING: 30/05/1914
MAIDEN VOYAGE: Genova-New York 31/10/1923
SHIP YARD: Ansaldo S.A., Genova Sestri Ponente
HULL NUMBER: 175
COMPANY: Navigazione Generale Italiana, Genova
LENGTH OVERALL: 193.75 m
BREADTH MOULDED: 23.24 m
GROSS TONNAGE: 24281 t
PROPULSION: 4 turbines direct coupled to shaft
SERVICE SPEED: 19,00 knots
TOP SPEED: 20.50 knots
POWER: 22000 SHP
FIRST CLASS: 280
SECOND CLASS: 670
THIRD CLASS: 410
FATE: Bombed and sunk by Allied planes at the Vallone di Zaule (Trieste) 10/07/1944
GENERAL ARRANGEMENT PLANS
1912 September 26th: resolution of the Board of Directors of the NGI for the construction of three new big steamers, one for the North Amrica route and two for the South America one.
1913 December 30th: sign of the construction contract (delivery second semester 1915); according to the minutes of NGI’s board of directors, the order delay was due to the new safety rules after the sinking of the Titanic.
1914 May 30th: keel laying.
1916 January 9th: launched in private form owing to the War; further construction works suspender until the end of the conflict.
1923 October 22nd: registered in Genoa.
1923 October 30th: sailed on her maiden voyage from Genoa to New York via Naples.
1928 July 24th: last crossing to New York compleated in Genoa the following 21st August; replaced by the Augustus and transferred to the Latin America route rejoining the Giulio Cesare.
1932 January 2nd: the NGI is incorporated into the Società Italia Flotte Riunite (Italian Line).
1933 September 21st: arrival at Genoa at the end of her last regular crossing to South America; entered OARN yard to be fully revamped for the South African express service; remesured at 23,636 gross tons and passengers reduced to 170 First Class; 170 Second Class and 395 Tourist Class.
1934 March 6th: first voyage Genoa–Cape Town to fullfil the mail contract with the South African government previously held by the Brittish Union-Castle Line.
1937 January 2nd: transferred to the Lloyd Triestino; maintains the same service.
1939 May 13th: laid up at Genoa at the end of her last voyage from Cape Town.
1939 June: employed for a single voyage from Cadiz for the repatriation of Italian veterans of the Spain Civil War.
1942 March: chartered to the International Red Cross for three repatriation voyages of the Italian civil population from the former East African Italian colonies.
1943 August 13th: laid up at Trieste at the end of the last voyage from East Africa.
1944 July 10th: damaged and sunk in shallow water by Allied planes while laid up in Vallone di Muggia (Trieste).
1948 February 11th: after refloating demolition commenced at the nearby San Rocco shipyard of Muggia (Trieste).
In 1926-'27 the delivery of the Roma and Augustus to NGI meant the definitive transfer of Duilio and Giulio Cesare to the Latin American route, for which they had been conceived and where they would remain also after January 1932, when the ships were given the new livery of the Italia Flotte Riunite.
In December 1933 the South African government announced that from the following March the subsidised contract for the transport of mail, until then held firmly in the hands of the British company Union-Castle Line, would be awarded to the Italian Line.
Duilio and Giulio Cesare (at least three knots faster than any other ship on that route) were chosen to operate on the new express line Genoa-Cape Town; after three months spent at the OARN workshops in Genoa, they emerged with shortened funnels and a white hull (encircled at the waterline and at main deck level by emerald green bands), deemed more suitable for sailing to hot climates.
Besides the upgrading of the accommodation for a reduced number of guests, many public rooms were updated in a much more contemporary way, taking as inspiration decorative elements originally designed for the modern Conte di Savoia.
From January 1937, with the creation of Finmare (a state-controlled concern acting as parent company to the Italian lines), Duilio and Giulio Cesare were transferred to Lloyd Triestino but, although the South African mail contract reverted to Union-Castle Line for political reasons, they continued to serve successfully on the same route.
In early 1924 NGI tested the Duilio as a cruise ship
Except for a single voyage to Cadiz in June 1939, for the repatriation of the Italian veterans who had taken part to the Spanish Civil War, the Duilio remained in service along the western coast of Africa until the outbreak of World War II, when she was first laid up at Naples and later at Genoa, before being moved to Trieste. Here she would later be transformed for a special mission.
After re-joining her sistership at Genoa, on 13th April 1942 both ships set sail from the Ligurian port for the first of three repatriation journeys of Italian civilians from the East Africa colonies, after Somaliland and Ethiopia had fallen into British hands; their trips were alternated with similar ones performed by the motor vessels Saturnia and Vulcania.
At the end of this task, in August 1943, Giulio Cesare and Duilio were again laid up, this time both at Trieste; here Duilio was hit by incendiary rockets and destroyed during an Allied raid in June 1944 together with the Italian Line's Sabaudia (the former Stockholm built for the Swedish America Line), while the Giulio Cesare, remained miraculously unharmed although she was lying at anchor very close to her sistership; a subsequent bombing, which occurred three months afterwards, would sink her as well. The two wrecks were refloated and demolished after the War, the Duilio at the San Rocco shipyard at Muggia.
Advertisement for the maiden voyage of the Duilio
A poster of the second half of the 'Twenties, when the Duilio and Giulio Cesare were transferred to the Latin America service
Well aware of the milestone that the new Duilio and Gi