U.S.S. "Dario Gonzatti"

The "Unione Sportivi Subacquei Dario Gonzatti" is exclusively recognised as the first Italian diving association. Luigi Ferraro was one of its founding fathers and its President for many years. On May 15th 1948, Ferraro was on his way to work when he met two or three friends who were busy discussing, once again, the disputed question of establishing a diving association. A meeting was arranged that same evening at the Cressi offices. It was attended by Luigi Stuart Tovini, who was born in Florence but was a naturalised citizen of Genoa and who, the following year, won the Italian pre-championship of underwater fishing. Also attending were Gianni Fioroni, a famous optician who, in subsequent years, built the most beautiful private aquarium in the world in his lovely house standing sheer above the sea and Aldo Gasco, a dentist who discovered a wonderful coastal area in Sardinia, where he bought some land and built an unpretentious house. Many years later, that coast became the popular Costa Smeralda and Gasco had to refuse a blank cheque from Aga Khan, who needed that last portion of land to own the whole area, land that Gasco defined as the most beautiful spot of the Coast. Duilio Marcante, one of Egidio Cressi's first collaborators (who, among other things, was able to roll rifle springs in his hands), started working by the sea very early, rising from the ranks of lifeguard and trawler fisherman. But even then, he distinguished himself from his colleagues because he used to dive, as all professional fishermen never swam in the sea, even though he did not use a mask or fins, as they had not yet been invented.
The first sport diving association was founded by these men. In the space of a few months it reached 800 members scattered throughout Italy and abroad, from Switzerland and Argentina to Brazil and Libya. It was a very open-minded organization, which took on a significant social and sport-related commitment involving the spread of the new sport, the protection of the environment and of the fish, the organization of competitions, the development of fin-swimming etc. It drafted all regulations concerning underwater activities, which have been observed by all countries in the world for decades.
The person in charge in Milan was Gianni Roghi, a journalist and explorer of high and well-deserved fame who, the following year, became one of the promoters of the Goggler Club. The person responsible for Turin was Victor Aldo De Sanctis, an engineer from Pistoia and a pioneer of underwater photo and film and the person in charge of Florence was Alessandro "Bubi" Olschki, a high profile figure, as he was the two-time Italian underwater spear-fishing champion and the co-founder and first director of "Mondo Sommerso".
The U.S.S. assigned the task of spreading the word of its services to these people: by using the first pictures taken underwater, the first short films and conversations, round-tables and advice provided in all spheres and on all occasions. (2)




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