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Over a century of HISTORY!

Built in 1904 in the Baccigalupo shipyard in Genoa and 26 metres long, it originally had a 200 cv steam engine. In its early life when the coast road had not yet been built, MINCIO was an essential means of goods transport on Lake Garda. Requisitioned in 1915 by the Royal Navy it was armed with three cannons of 57 mm and 4 Fiat 14 machine guns.

The crew, composed of civilians, was militarised and placed under the command of the naval officers. Its main base was in Peschiera del Garda and forward operating base in Malcesine, in the Baia di Sogno, near the Italo – Austrian/Hungarian border. During the First World War the Mincio steamer was put into service to patrol the border, its cannons were used to fire against the slopes of Monte Altissimo.

At the end of the First World War it became part of the northern Italian naval fleet, towing the barges transporting goods leaving from the main ports of Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano, key junctions of the railway network.

In the '30s it was used to tow out to the middle of the Lake the hydroplanes belonging to the High Speed Unit of Desenzano who took part in the famous Coppa Schneider with their star pilots.

The Mincio, appropriately modified, was used by divers to recover the hydroplane and the body of the pilot Tommaso Dal Molin, which sank during a speed record attempt in 1933.
During the Second World War it stood out for its rescue and towing of the Zanardelli steamer, machine-gunned by the Allies in Campione and left without its Commander and Pilot, killed in the attack.

On the 8 September 1943 it was sunk in the port of Riva del Garda by its own crew to save it from the mining already decided by the Germans; after which it was easily salvaged intact and used in the rescue operations of the Italia steamer sunk at Sirmione by the Allies.

From 1955 to 1960 it was used in the cinema sphere in the "Bertolazzi film" studios in Peschiera del Garda, to tow the galleons in a number of pirate films, not made in the Caribbean but in Lake Garda, to keep production costs down.

In 1960 it was sold by the Garda Shipping Company to the Volunteers Group of the Riva Fire Brigade which used it as a support base for the Fire Brigade Diving School.

In the '70s MINCIO was sold to private owners and its superstructure modified to create the terrace deck.

Since 1990 MINCIO has belonged to SILMEC of Sona which commissioned a proper restoration of this historic lake vessel, making it available to everyone today to recount its glorious history.

Historic photo of the Mincio

High Speed Unit of Desenzano which took part in the Coppa Schneider

Operazioni di recupero del Piroscafo Italia

Particolare dell'armamento - I Guerra Mondiale

Sansone contro i Pirati

Silmec S.r.l. - Via Fusara 3/B – 37060 Sona (VR) - P.IVA 00795580232 – Tel. +39 045_6081511 - fax +39 045 6081498                  Valid xHtml - Credits