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19 June1933
Naval exercises
Famiglia Notarbartolo
Musica & mix audio by Théophile Gagnard | Biennio di Musica da Film del Conservatorio di Musica di Bologna

Benito Mussolini on the deck of the cruiser Pola filmed in 16mm by Marco Notarbartolo di Sciara together with naval officers. They are all dressed in elegant white uniforms that reflect the dazzling sunlight. We recognise the head of government, whom we have never seen so closely: he is less tall and more planted than the others, especially in the way he folds his arms, almost as if to reiterate a conviction that is gaining ground: with a fleet like this we will go far! We will never see this spontaneous moment captured by Notarbartolo in a newsreel. It is probably the first time but it will not be the Duce's last aboard the cruiser Pola, one of the Italian navy's flagships. The cruiser, built in the OTO shipyards in Livorno, entered service in December 1932. Here we are in the midst of the impressive naval exercises in the Gulf of Gaeta involving many ships, which took place between June and July 1933. On the open sea, Notarbartolo films some of them. For him, this is one of many personal 16mm memories, which in this case relates to his professional experience, being himself a naval soldier. The footage is unwavering and betrays no emotion, but we are sure that this is only appearance: how can one remain indifferent to the magnificent views from the bow and the take-off of the Macchi M 41 seaplane with which the Pola is equipped? The cruiser would also go as far as Mussolini hoped, perhaps too far: it would be sunk in 1941 by the British navy in the eastern Mediterranean during the Battle of Cape Matapan near the Peloponnese.