After works of modernization, the 90+ years old Italian Navy School Ship Amerigo Vespucci reopened its sails in 2016.
Since then, to celebrate its return to the sea, the ship has been touring the main Italian ports to greet the locals and allow them to visit and participate in events on board.
Today, the boat is mainly used to train the Italian Navy.
When the ship docks in Venice, it can be seen and visited in front of the Arsenale Museum.
Story of the Amerigo Vespucci
The Amerigo Vespucci, built in 1930-1931 at the Cantiere Navale di Castellammare di Stabia (Naples), was the second of two school ships designer by the Navy Engineer General Lieutenant Francesco Rotundi and inspired by the style of late 18th century 74-cannon ships.
With a vessel’s hull lenght of 82.4m (the total lenght reaches 101m with the front bowsprit) a maximum width of 15.5 m, a draught of around 7m and a full load of 4146 tons, the Amerigo is propelled thanks to a 30km hemp ropes rig over 3 steel masts that supports 26 different canvas sails totalling a surface of 2824 m², or 30.000 ft²: when under sail in strong wind conditions, she can reach speeds of up to 22 km/h, or 12 knots!
The Amerigo Vespucci is also powered by an auxiliary diesel-electric motor that can reach a max speed of 19km/h.
The standard crew is 276 sailors, with 16 officers, and the ship is steered with the hydraulically assisted steering system on the bridge; in summer, when the ship works as a School Ship, midshipmen of the Naval Academy are embarked: the crew grows up to 450 people on board and the ship is steered manually by four steering wheels with two men each.
The Amerigo Vespucci’s motto is << Not those who start, but those who persevere>>, clearly showing the ships educational and formative nature.
Fun Fact 1:
In 1962 the American aircraft carrier USS Independence (CV-62), sailing in the Mediterranean sea, flashed the Amerigo Vespucci with light signal asking «Who are you?», and got answered «Training ship Amerigo Vespucci, Italian Navy». The US ship replied «You are the most beautiful ship in the world».
Fun Fact 2:
Sixty years later, in 2022, another American aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77 Nimitz-class), in transit in the lower Adriatic, crossed the Vespucci route.
In memory of what happened in 1962, the port’s commander, captain David-Tavis Pollard, asked via radio, “Are you the Amerigo Vespucci sailing ship of the Italian Navy?”
To the vessel’s captain, Massimiliano Siragusa’s affirmative response, the Americans responded, “After 60 years, you’re still the most beautiful ship in the world”
Could anyone possibly disagree?
I'm visiting Venice. Why should I follow your recommendations?
Liked this article? Don’t forget to share the love!
Facts, Curiosities, History of Venice, Italy
More about life in Venice, Italy