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The Fleets

Compagnia Transatlantica, Genoa 1852-1857

The first Italian ocean going steamship company, the Compagnia Transatlantica was founded in October 1852 at Genoa with a capital of 10 million Lire. Its aim was to establish passenger and cargo services to North and South America. The Company was later awarded a subsidy of 50,000 Lire for each voyage undertaken from Genoa to Rio de Janeiro, with a feeder service from there to the River Plate.

Two iron screw steamers were ordered from C.J. Mare & Co. of Blackwall, London and were completed early 1855 as VITTORIO EMANUELE and CONTE DI CAVOUR and were immediately chartered by the French Government as Crimean War Transports. The GENOVA and TORINO were completed by the same builder in 1856. In 1856 the ITALIA was bought from Raffaele Rubbattino and was used for feeder services in South America.

The service attracted a disappointingly small number of passengers and very little cargo, so was ended in 1857. The Company was dissolved in 1859 and the four ships were sold.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and Ted Finch for their assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

  • Routes:
    • Genoa-Pernambuco-Bahia-Rio de Janeiro
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Conte di Cavour 1855 built by C.J. Mare & Co., Blackwall, London | 1855 chartered by French Government as a Crimean War transport, 1857 returned to owners, 1860 sold to Italian Navy renamed Amerigo Vespucci in use as a school ship, later Flavio Gioia, 1900 scrapped. 1,685
Genova 1856 built by C.J. Mare & Co., Blackwall, London | 1859 sold to Spanish Government for use as a troop transport ship and destroyed by fire at Malaga. 1,985
Italia 1856 built by Chester Graham, Blackwall, London | ex- Italia, 1856 purchased from Raffaele Rubattino not renamed, intended for Feeder service in South America, 1857 to Raffaele Rubattino, 1881 sold to Navigazione Generale Italiana (NGI), 1892 hulked, 1903 scrapped. 549
Sardegna 1856 feeder ship between Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, 1857 returned to Italy and replaced by ITALIA. 610
Torino 1856 built by C.J. Mare & Co., Blackwall, London | 1859 sold to Spanish Government for use as a hospital ship, 1860 set on fire by French Fleet and foundered. 1,985
Vittorio Emanuele 1855 built by C.J. Mare & Co., Blackwall, London | 1855 chartered by French Government as a Crimean War transport, 1857 returned to owners, 1860 sold to Italian Navy renamed Volturno, 1873 wrecked near Cape Linaro. 1,685

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