Italia Marittima Shipping line

The Company was originally founded in 1833 as an insurance organisation and given the name of 'Lloyd Austriaco'. Its aim was to provide merchants, insurance brokers and shippers with updated information on markets and maritime trades in Europe and Asia. This was carried out through a network of correspondents, journals, news coming from the Masters on the various vessels on the routes of interest.

In order to make this target more practicable to the greatest extent, a second section, the 'Shipping Section', was established in 1836, August 2nd (date which is generally considered as the year of the Company's foundation). Shipping has been its core business ever since.

Utilizing Company vessels meant speeding up the circulation of the information as well as having the exclusive right on them; this was also possible thanks to the intuitive choice of replacing sailing boats with faster and more reliable steamships (the first steamship of the Company, the Arciduca Lodovico, on the left).

This strategy allowed Lloyd Austriaco to be committed to the postal sea service for the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire, thus reaching in 1838 a fleet composed of 10 vessels, as the painting by Lorenzo Butti shows (on the right). The fleet increased to 20 vessels in 1846 and 61 in 1860.

In 1849 a third section was settled, the Art and Literature Section, provided with its own printing house. This section issued daily neswpaper (the Lloyd's Journal, Trieste Observer), books (classic works, history, geography, natural sciences, nautical books, etc. (on the left), providing thus commercial information and acting as editor of books and novels not necessarily linked with the Company's business. The 3rd section was closed in 1928.

In 1853 the Company started building its own shipyard, called Arsenale, both for newbuildings and maintenance of the fleet. The shipyard was completed anf fully operative in 1861 (on the right).

In 1869 Lloyd Austriaco became a shareholder in the 'Compagnie Universelle du Canal de Suez', of which a member of Lloyd's Board (Pasquale Revoltella) was appointed Vice-President.

At the opening of the Suez Canal, on November 17, 1869, three Company's vessels - Pluto, America and Vulcano - were in the first convoy that crossed the Canal (on the left).

This historic event, that opened the trades to the Indian and Far East markets via a shorter route, marks a milestone in the shipping industry. Next year, in 1870, the Company launched the Trieste-Bombay service, entering the markets of the Indian subcontinent. The service was then extended in 1880 to Singapore and Hong Kong tracing new routes to the Far East.

In 1878 the Company - in the height of its development - decided to build a new Headquarter, wider, more functional and of prestige for the town, to witness the success and the power achieved.

1880-1883: the Company built its new Headquarter in Trieste main square, Piazza Unita'. With its fine ashlar-work and decorations with columns and pillars of Corinthian order, the Company's building became a historical landmark for Trieste, an outstanding example of stonemasonry (on the right).

In 1886, on the 50th anniversary of the Company, the fleet had grown to 86 steamships, deployed in 1526 round-trips for worldwide destinations.