It was the first section to be formed for the acquisition
of hundreds of epochal documents, from the mid eighteenth
century up to 1950.
The classification is varied
because it regards the Merchant Marine and the Navy.
logs, manuscripts, a collection of antique bills of lading,
registers of seafolk, navigation booklets, acts of disappearance
at sea, lading documents, accounting records, copies of letters,
travel reports, Certificates of Invalidity, extracts from
service records, diplomas of merit and salvage, private agreements
and contracts for the construction of vessels, etc., represent
the vanished world of the old Merchant Marine life, with
particular reference to the Ligurian Mercantile Navy.
essential component of the documentation regards statistics
that range from a census of ‘boats’ with their
owners and captains to the oldest maritime tradings (arrivals
and departures), showing a glimpse of the merely commercial
aspect of navigation.
considerable part of the documents on display refers to navigators:
patrons, captains of Foreign Trade, First Class captains
(as they used to call a Master Mariner (also "Sea Captain"),
with certificates bearing the signatures of various ministers
of the Kingdom of Italy and the seat of the subsequent capitals.
These are in fact government ‘safe conducts’
issued to the command ... covering the two hemispheres, the
so called "Licences" and/or Permits for Coasting Trade.
far as the Navy is concerned, other documents represent the
various Italian Marine Forces before the birth of the Italian
kingdom. There are several ‘Permission of Leave’
certificates released by the Marine Departments, signed by
the Commander-in-chief and undersigned by Members of the
Head Cabinet of Administration of the First Division of the
Royal Crew Corps (namely "Sea Army"), as the Navy was called
during the first decades of the nineteenth century. And again,
personal booklets, certificates of good conduct, navigation
journals, diplomas and merits, orders from the Navy Call
A book on Common Signals - ..."to be observed
above the Squad of the Vessels of the Sacred Republic, made
in Malta on February 6, 1715" - is a beautiful exhibit together
with a Signal Book dated 1750.
Of great interest is ‘the
language’ used in the bills of lading, almost all relating
to the end of the eighteenth century.
are fundamental for the historical reconstruction of the
type of maritime commerce, since they indicate the most disparate
vessels, the description of shipment and the names of the
captains ... "In God’s name and just protection, once
in that Roadstead of Porto Maurizio, dominion of the Serene
Highness of the Republic of Genoa, Paolo Ambrogio Varese
and Sons, Subjects of s'Aid Republic, for their true, absolute
and only account, danger, risk and benefit, has loaded aboard
the sailing ship called "San Giobatta e Nostra Signora del
Rosario", commanded by Patron Bernardo Amoretti Savojardo
to carry and consign to Marsiglia in this present voyage
of his, and to sell the below lot of oil on account of the
s'Aid Varesi who gave him full authority ...".