Conte Biancamano ... in Milan!
Updated: Jul 19
This time we 'll talk about the Italian ocean liners, most people know about the famous ones like Rex, Leonardo Da Vinci and the ill-fated Andrea Doria. But although those ships have all been scrapped or lost over time, one less-known ship is still ... partially ... around! It's the Conte Biancamano!
The Conte Biancamano was built in 1925 in Scotland for the Italian company Lloyd Sabaudo, she was the first of 2 sisterships, the second one following in 1927 was the Conte Grande. At 203 m long and a speed of 20 knots, these ships were not the biggest or fastest, but they were designed to be luxurious Italian liners. Conte Biancamano sailed on the Genoa to New York route from 1925 until 1932 when Lloyd Sabaudo together with most other Italian shipping lines merged into the well known Italian Line. From then on she sailed some trips to South America, did some runs for the Italian military and other special missions until 1940 when she arrived in Panama and was seized because of the war, by 1941 the United States had entered the war and she was seized by the US to become the troopship USS Hermitage. Sailing all over the world in her US military role, she was in Le Havre (France) on the day the Germans surrendered and World War 2 officially ended in Europe.
In 1947 her role had officially ended and she was finally returned to Italy for a refit that saw her bow replaced by a more modern and sleek designed bow. In 1948 she re-entered service under her previous name Conte Biancamano and sailed both the Genoa to Buenos Aires route and the Genoa via Naples and Cannes to New York route, she was in that period the primary Italian ocean liner.
In 1957 she took on the special mission of transporting the body of Eva Peron to Italy to be buried. By 1960 she was taken out of service as newer ships were eventually coming into service.
For a moment it looked like she was going to be completely scrapped but in the end she was partially saved, her hull, aft superstructure and funnels were all scrapped but her bridge, ballroom and forward superstructure with some first class cabins were saved, this entire section was dismantled in La Spezia where she was scrapped and reassembled in the Leonardo Da Vinci science and technology museum in Milan in their new Air and Ship Pavilion, where it remains to this day.
In May 2022, I visited Milan and this museum was the first thing I went to see, it's a vast museum where you can spend several hours browsing around multiple exhibitions, it certainly is recommended to go see this place!
And my photos of the section of the Conte Biancamano in the museum can be seen below!