Joanna Coleman’s terrific color footage from her terrific site on YOUTUBE of the Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria in the 1950’s which sunk after colliding with the MV Stockholm.
LINER AND SOCIAL HISTORY — ANDREA DORIA – The fabulous Italian Line ship whose fate was sealed by the Swedish America Line’s STOCKHOLM.
By the mid-1950s, with the postwar passenger boom at its peak, more than 50 passenger liners sailed the sea-lanes between Europe and America.
Among the most splendid were two new ships of the Italian Line, the Cristofor Colombo and the Andrea Doria. They were built for luxury, not speed, and to take advantage of the sunnier southern route.
The Andrea Doria was the first liner to possess three outdoor swimming pools, one each for first, cabin and tourist class. Her lines were graceful, her public rooms lavishly decorated and crowded with artworks and her most desirable first-class suites as rarified as any that had come before. She was a superb expression of her time and nationality, a ship that combined 1950s modernity with a keen awareness of Italy’s extraordinary artistic heritage.
She was also equipped with the latest in navigational equipment, including two sets of radar, the still-developing technology that had transformed the maritime battlefields of World War II and was now standard equipment in the merchant marine. But even if the radar failed and somehow a collision happened, the Andrea Doria was in theory unsinkable. Her 11 watertight compartments were so constructed that she would remain afloat if any two were breached –more than that her builders could not imagine — and so that she would never take on a list of more than 15 degrees. As an extra safety precaution, her lifeboats could still be launched if the list reached 20 degrees. Yet the Andrea Doria was destined to become the last great lost ship of a transatlantic passenger era that was about to fade away.
We are pleased to share the following feature story on the Andrea Doria from NEW YORK SOCIAL DIARY…
I was initially drawn to the Andrea Doria at the age of 14 after reading the book, Collision Course, by Alvin Moscow. The book tells of the Andrea Doria’s birth, her brief but glorious life, and her tragic end, in the summer of 1956.
To me the Andrea Doria embodied the hope and optimism that Italy was searching for after the War. I was very moved by the story of her master, Captain Piero Calamai, who after a distinguished career with the Italian Line decided never to return to the sea after the Andrea Doria’s sinking.
He was quoted as saying “When I was a boy and all my life, I loved the sea. Now I hate it.”
He died after a long illness in April of 1972.
In the late 1940’s Italy had lost most of her passenger ships to the War. The Italian Line sought to revive its postwar liner fleet in order to restore Italy’s place in international passenger shipping. The creation of the Andrea Doria was based on the principle that Italy’s new postwar fleet had to communicate a new message about Italy itself: Italy was no longer a belligerent adversary but a beautiful country brimming with art and culture.