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Rex – A Myth from the Shallows


From glamour to ruin in a revived memory


The first monograph about the ship Rex in the Slovenian language with summaries in Slovenian, Italian, English, and Croatian, in color, 303 pages.


The Maritime Museum "Sergej Mašera" Piran, in collaboration with numerous experts, conossieurs of maritime history, collectors, and witnesses from Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia, has prepared and published a comprehensive monograph about the ship Rex. The life story of a great Italian luxury cruise liner, which fused the achievements of shipbuilding and architecture of the time with the luxury of living, has been a source of interest to the domestic and foreign public, individuals, associations and institutions throughout the postwar period. Information and artefacts about the Rex have been collected, websites and exhibitions have been set up, television programmes and films have been made, poems have been written, books and articles published. The myth of Rex has been created. The remains of the Rex, which still lie on the seabed between Izola and Koper, are registered in the Slovenian Register of Cultural Heritage under the number 21615.


The book presents the three-layered story of the ship Rex. The first part portrays the magnificent construction of the ship in the Genoa shipyard Ansaldo for the shipping company Navigazione Generale Italiana, within the historical and political context of the Rex myth, as well as the ship during its heyday when it was the largest, most powerful, and fastest. The second part depicts its downfall: from the last voyage to the moment it ran aground between Izola and Koper, where it was destroyed by rockets from the British aviation. Special attention is dedicated to the post-war period and the dismantling of the ship for scrap metal, while the third part of the book presents the preserved and revived memory of it.


The memory of the famous Italian transatlantic ship Rex, which ran aground between Izola and Koper during World War II, remains anchored in the collective memory of our places and people.

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