Rex In The Bay Of Naples

More from Robert Lloyd

Ocean Liner Marine Art Print of the Italian Lines liner Rex


With the onset of the depression from 1929 many countries took to large and elaborate state building schemes in an attempt to keep people employed. In Italy, under Mussolini, this included the building of a number of now famous ships.


The Rex had originally been ordered by Navigazione Generale Italian line but after its forced merger, the ship entered service with the State-owned Italia Flotta Riunite or Italian Lines.


Considered to be one of the finest looking ships of her time and billed as the “Riviera Afloat”, Rex was launched on 1 August 1931 and made her first voyage in September 1932. In 1933 she took the Blue Riband on the westbound leg from the Bremen, holding the title at a speed of 28.92 knots until the arrival of the French superliner Normandie in 1935.


She became even more famous in 1938 when, in an elaborate publicity stunt by the U.S Army Air Corps, she was intercepted 620 miles out to sea by the then new Boeing YB-17 (later to become the famous B-17). This caused a huge outcry from the U.S Navy but gave both the USAAC and the Rex some welcome publicity.


Until the beginning of hostilities between Britain and Italy in 1940, Rex and her running mate, Conte di Savour, continued to cross the Atlantic and proved to be very popular, even with the introduction of the two superliners, Normandie and Queen Mary.


Laid up for much of the war, Rex would be sunk on 8 September 1944 after being hit by 123 rockets to deny the Axis forces the ability to use her as a blockship. Post-war plans to re-float her came to nothing and she was eventually broken up.


Robert Lloyd’s Ocean Liner marine art painting print shows the Rex, star Italian liner of the 1930s outbound, through the Bay of Naples.

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