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17 April1934
Fratelli Chierici
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

The Rex, the legendary super-transatlantic liner, with its imposing size and portentous speed, symbol of Fascist Italy and pride of the Italian navy, whose imagery is so strong that Fellini makes it appear in a sea it has never sailed, the Adriatic, in a magical scene of his ‘Amarcord’. The Rex, in fact, between 1932 and the war, sailed only the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, towards America. When, on 17 April 1934, the Chierici family embarked on the famous liner in Genoa, it was for a so-called mini-cruise of 2-3 days that the Rex used to do to warm up its engines before setting off again for the Atlantic, leaving from the very city where it was born, in the Ansaldo shipyards. It is a trip organised by the Dopolavoro Aziendale Comunale. The programme of the mini-cruise is tight: departure at 16:20, stopover in Naples at 7:00 the next day, followed by a visit to Pompeii, departure for Genoa at 17:20 and arrival in Genoa on 19 April at 6:15.

In addition to the 9.5 mm camera, Ludovico Maria Chierici also has his Leica camera with him, and can be seen in action in some film footage. Ludovico and his son Enrico take turns in filming, documenting the entire voyage: the departure on board the Rex, the tour of Pompeii and the departure from the port of Naples with Vesuvius in the distance, from which a small plume of smoke emerges. And thanks to the Chierici, the memory of this little cruise with the colossal liner will remain. However, contrary to what one imagines, the Rex, which will host sovereigns and heads of state (and later also Jews fleeing Europe), will never be the king of liners, never the biggest. Its 50,000-tonne tonnage and 268-metre length are surpassed by the 80,000-tonne weight and 313-metre length of the French Normandie: let's not tell too many people in the Italy of the time that it is bigger than it is. And after all, its history will be short and sad, it will end up bombed and sunk by the British in 1944, right in the shallows of the Adriatic Sea and after having been requisitioned and looted by the Germans. The story of a beautiful dream that ends badly.