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Italy - Houseflags of Italian Maritime Companies (N)

Last modified: 2021-06-28 by rob raeside
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image by Miles Li, 6 July 2016

Cia. Napoletana di Nav., Naples - green flag, white diamond, red "A".
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels of British and Foreign Steamship Companies, compiled by F.J.N. Wedge, Glasgow, 1926 [wed26].
Jarig Bakker, 24 January 2005

image by Ivan Sache, 2 May 2005

Lloyds 1912 shows a green flag with a bigger white diamond bearing the red letters "C.N."
Neale Rosanoski, 26 February 2005

Navigazione Capodistriana

image by Eugene Ipavec, 7 February 2004

This Adriatic house flag page also shows ‘Navigazione Capodistriana’ (long name ‘Società Cittadina di Navigazione a Vapore poi Navigazione Capodistria, Capodistria poi Trieste’ or Municipal Steam Shipping Co. then Capodistria Shipping Co. at Capodistria then Trieste), third of first row:

Capodistria being present-day Koper, the Slovenian port in the immediate neighbourhood of Trieste, Italy. It shows a red flag
bearing large white initials “NC” without serifs.

The following pages, from the same website maintained by Aldo and Corrado Cherini, presents this small but locally important firm (second url leads to pencil drawings of ships):

Founded in 1881, owned by the municipality of Capodistria, NC became a limited company after WWI, was taken over in 1935 by Istria (SIT) at Trieste while retaining autonomy. For a long time ferrying to Trieste was cheaper than the railroad or overland routes. In the article, the pleasant on-board atmosphere is lovingly described.
Jan Mertens, 6 February 2011

Navigazione Generale Italiana

image by Jarig Bakker, 12 July 2004

At home I have a stout "Larousse Commercial Illustré" (a kind of trade encyclopedia) published in Paris, 1930. It has four pages in colour illustrating house flags; a note identifies it as the work of Sandy Hook.
In this book, I found Navigazione Generale Italiana, Geno(v)a: quartered white and red, in the hoist white field a yellow lion couchant and near its head a black sprig?? (very sketchy here I'm afraid) and in the fly white field a red cross throughout.  Or rather a St George's cross, as will become clear. A very tiny image here (even when enlarged), click the upper right poster: <>.
The firm existed 1881-1932 and came about as a merger between Ignazio & Vincenzo Florio (a firm from Palermo) and the Società per la Navigazione a Vapore Raffaele Rubattino from Genoa, that's where the St George's cross comes I gather.  More history on this splendid site <>: "Besides services to the USA and Canada, they ran to Mediterranean and Black Sea ports, India, the Far East and South America. In 1885 they took over Soc.Italiana di Transporti Marittimi Raggio & Co. and Soc. Rocco Piaggio & Figli. By 1901 NGI had taken control of La Veloce and in 1924 liquidated that company. In 1910 they purchased a controlling interest in Lloyd Italiano. The same year the Societa Nationale del Servizi Marittimi was formed and NGI transferred most of their ships to this company. This left them with only 19 ships and the North and South American routes. In 1921 Transoceanica Societa Italiana di Navigazione and Societa Commerciale Italiana and their fleets were absorbed into NGI and in 1932 NGI and Lloyd Sabaudo, with Cosulich Line combined to form a new company named ITALIA."
Jan Mertens, 22 December 2003

Image after Loughran's Survey of Mercantile Houseflags and Funnels, 1979.
Jarig Bakker, 12 July 2004

image by Jarig Bakker, 12 July 2004

This is not the old firm reffered above but a private ferryboat around Sicily - This flag from <>: Diagonally divided from top hoist to fly bottom, towards the hoist black and towards the fly white; in the center a red map of Sicily surcharged with a yellow Scandinavian cross (I guess to honor the Vikings, who brought prosperity there in the early Middle Ages).
Jarig Bakker, 12 July 2004

Those early lords of Sicily were Normans rather than Vikings. Most of them left the duchy of Normandy when William the Bastard (later the Conqueror) strngthened his power and forbid the autonomous domains in his duchy. The rebels were forced to exile.
The most famous of these rebels is Robert Guiscard (c. 1015-1085), who founded a Norman state in Southern Italy. Robert was appointed count (1057-1059), then duke (1059-1085) of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, by pope Nicholas II. He expelled the Byzantines from Italy in 1071 and later the Sarracens from Sicily. Other Norman lords became mercenaries in England, Spain and Byzance. They sent back money to Normandy to fund or rebuild churches, for instance the cathedrals of Coutances and Sées. Some of them eventually calmed down and came back home, where their wealth and military experience was very helpful to William.
Ivan Sache, 13 July 2004

The 2nd flag for the current ferry company of that name may have different colours as after studying the website images I would plump for a dark blue instead of black division of the field and for the cross on the map of Sicily to be white and not yellow.
Neale Rosanoski, 1 December 2004

Navigazione Libera del Golfo

image by Jarig Bakker, 20 February 2006

Navigazione Libera del Golfo S.r.L. (vessels operating from Naples), Naples - blue flag bordered yellow, white "LN".
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels Shipping Companies of the World, compiled by J.L. Loughran, Glasgow, 1995.
Jarig Bakker, 20 February 2006

Navigazione Libera Triestina

Yellow variant
image by Jarig Bakker, 13 July 2004

White variant
image by Jarig Bakker, 13 July 2004

At home I have a stout "Larousse Commercial Illustré" (a kind of trade encyclopedia) published in Paris, 1930. It has four pages in colour illustrating house flags; a note identifies it as the work of Sandy Hook.
In this book, I found Navigazione Libera Triestina, Trieste: blue, white serif-less letters NLT in the middle, a white foul anchor in the background (behind the 'L' in fact).  Also known as the Libera Line.
Some company history here <>: "The company was registered in 1906 at Trieste, then part of Austria-Hungary and operated cargo services world wide. In 1918 Trieste became a part of Italy and the fleet transferred to the Italian flag. From 1921 passenger services to New York were instituted and in 1927 a Genoa - Naples - Gulf of Mexico service started. In 1937 the fleet was split between Italia and Lloyd Triestino and disappeared as a seperate concern."
From Maritime Timetable Images, this picture <> showing the anchor's flukes 'sustaining' all three initials, whereas Sandy Hook draws them solely under the 'L'.
I thought I was done with this when a different rendering appeared on the scene: <>, showing yellow anchor and intitials, and on a company post card, too! So the colour question remains open, but I'm sure someone has a flags
& funnels book to back one or the other version up.
Jan Mertens, 20 December 2003

Navigazione Libera Triestina S.A. - The flag books show both white and yellow colours. Lloyds 1912, Brown 1926 and 1929 all show white but with no chain on the anchor [see it~n289a.gif attached]. Larousse is the first to show a chain, supported by the timetable from <> whereas the postcard from <> with the yellow version, going by the timetable with it, appears likely to be dated around 1933 also and this version is shown by Talbot-Booth from 1936 [which is in line] onwards and is also picked up by the Brown 1934 and 1943 editions.
Neale Rosanoski, 1 December 2004

Navigazione Montanari

image by Miles Li, 21 May 2016

Based on images at and
Dov Gutterman, 23 July 2002

Navigazione San Marco

image by Eugene Ipavec, 1 March 2011

Presented on this page represents a Venice based shipping company ‘Società di Navigazione San Marco’:

Red field, within a thin yellow orle the Venetian lion – with book – facing the hoist.

Founded in 1926 by Società Veneziana di Navigazione a Vapore and Lloyd Triestino, “San Marco” aka ‘San Marco Line’ operated ships linking Venice with nearby Dalmatian ports now located in Croatia such as Pula (Pola), Opatija (Abbazia), and Fiume (Rijeka): The depression forced the company to sell its ships and close down in 1937.
Jan Mertens, 9 February 2011

Navigazione Toscana

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 June 2008

At the 1940 Spanish source at <> (Sixth and last on the third complete row): Navigazione Toscana’ at Livorno (Leghorn). A simple flag, it is white and bears black initials ‘NT’ without serifs.
Text (at <>, no longer available, it seems) contained the following information: Founded in 1914 by shipyard owner Giuseppe Orlando in order to provide a subsidized maritime service to and from the Tuscan Archipelago for twelve years.  Ships linked Livorno and/or Piombino to Elba (Portolongone – now renamed Porte Azzuro - and Porteferraio) and other islands such as Capraia, Pianosa, Giglio, etc. Most routes were operated on a weekly or biweekly basis. After WWI – one vessel served as a convoy ship - the concession was renewed and modern ships put into service. WWII wiped out the commandeered company fleet so old ships had to replace them in order to maintain the islands’ lifeline. Concession renewed, 1963-1973. The company seat of which was first moved to Rome (1969) and then to Naples, was wound up in 1983.
According to the SimplonPC website the firm was renamed Toremar in 1975.
Pages showing a number of NT ships at <> and <>. Further sources (postal history and book, respectively) at   <> and <>.
Jan Mertens, 21 March 2008

Nova Genuensis

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 January 2008

Among the Italian shipping companies in the 1940 house flag source at <> is that of ‘Nova Genuensis’, Genoa (first of fourth row, counting the upper right one) - The house flag is divided quarterly, upper left being white with a blue border, a red cross throughout over all; upper right, white; lower left, white; lower right, red with a blue cross throughout.
It is easy to spot the Genoan connection with the white-and-red town flag, whereas blue (“azzurro”) may have been added for patriotic reasons and/or contrast.
The full name of this firm was ‘Società Anonima per l'Industria ed il Commercio Marittimo Nova Genuensis’ i.e. ‘Industrial and Maritime Commercial Co. Nova Genuensis Ltd’ the short name being Latin for “New Genoa”.
No dates are known to me yet, what I found on the net were mostly WWII encounters - sinkings or seizings of Nova Genuensis ships.
Jan Mertens, 11 January 2008