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27 April1930
Launch of the 'Giovanni delle Bande Nere' cruiser
Mario Cessi
Music by Emiliano Battistini - Mix audio Pierpaolo Ovarini | Scuola di Sound Design del Conservatorio di Musica di Bologna

"Everywhere imposing masses of citizens, attracted by the always suggestive spectacle of the variants, acclaimed with patriotic fervour the beautiful ships that went down to our sea... Worthy of mention is also the fact that the Giovanni dalle Bande Nere is the hundredth ship built in Castellammare, in the oldest of our state shipyards: in fact, the first Bourbon corvette went down to sea from those docks in 1786'. ('Domenica del Corriere' on the Regia Marina Italiana's recent various). This is Castellammare di Stabia, 27 April 1930. There is a huge crowd, the crowd of great occasions. And there is Mario Cessi with his 9.5 mm camera, ready to film the launch of the cruiser Giovanni dalle Bande Nere. In Cessi's images, we do not recognise Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy-Genoa, the godmother of the launch, as the cameraman captures the moment right in the middle of the crowd, but we do see the many people on board waving goodbye. We have no idea who they are; among them may well be some of the crew who will go down with the ship that was hit in 1942 by a torpedo from a British submarine. The Giovanni dalle Bande Nere quickly sank near Stromboli, dragging 381 sailors with it to the bottom, among them many in their twenties. Some of them were from Campania, from around Castellammare, certainly too young to be on board in 1930. And perhaps someone among the children filmed by Cessi is just dreaming at that moment of one day being part of the crew of the Giovanni delle Bande Nere.