“Here she is... Here she is! Papa, Papa! The Rex, the Rex!” The central scene of Amarcord, Fellini's Oscar-winning film, opens with this phrase. The characters have embarked on several small boats to spend the night at sea off the coast of Rimini, awaiting the passage of the almost mythical liner: through the dark night, the Rex appears, glittering with lights, and then, like some constellation or like a dream, she is gone. This celebrated Italian vessel had entered the collective imagination as a symbol of the glamorous liners of the 'Thirties; her fame had already begun in 1929 when the announcement was made of her building. The financial crisis had brought to a standstill the construction of several liners and the news that Italy intended to build one of the largest, most modern, speediest and most luxurious ships ever planned seized the headlines across the World.
On the 1st August, 1931, the new giant of the Italian merchant marine was launched in Genoa in the presence of the country's King and Queen and of a huge crowd of about 100,000. The first bottle of Royal Brut Riserva wine produced by the house of Gancia crashed against the ship's bow: the neck of the bottle, contained in a splendid box with the name of the ship and her profile outlined in diamonds was presented to Queen Elena, the ship's godmother. The Rex was the first transatlantic liner to feature those innovations which would make her a genuine cruise ship: de luxe cabins with private verandahs, air conditioning, huge sports decks and lidos with two permanent open air swimming pools, a spa, a drive-in garage with direct access from the quayside...
From a technological point of view, the Rex is remarkable as one of the very first ships to be fitted with a bulbous bow: her extraordinary body lines were developed in the Hamburg test tank and, amazingly, were derived from the shape of a trout! The Rex was a mixture of tradition and innovation: externally, she was both graceful and streamlined, in accordance with the trends of industrial design in the 'Thirties, while her interiors were conservative, inspired by classical historical styles. It should be noted that she was one of the last liners to sport a clipper stern; this shape, although old-fashioned, was dictated by the desire to obtain the greatest possible size for the after decks while taking account of the dimensions of the drydock in Genoa. In March, 1933, she achieved the distinction of sending the first live radio transmission to the United States and to Europe while crossing the Atlantic.
KEEL LAYING: 04/27/1930
MAIDEN VOYAGE: Genova-New York 09/27/1932
SHIP YARD: Ansaldo S.A., Genova Sestri e 0.A.R.N.
HULL NUMBER: 296
COMPANy: Italia Flotte Riunite (Italian Line), Genova
LENGTH OVERALL: 880 ft
WIDTH: 96.8 ft
GROSS TONNAGE: 51062 tsl
PROPULSION: 4 steam turbo gearboxes
SERVICE SPEED: 26,00 knots
TOP SPEED: 29,00 knots
POWER: 136.000 horsepower
FIRST CLASS: 378
SPECIAL CLASS: 378
TURISTIC CLASS: 410
THIRD CLASS: 860
FATE: 1944 in the port of Trieste september 8th 1944 bombed by the Allies in the Capodistria gulf