Fellow Travellers

Duilio Marcante

Genoa 1914 – 1985

He is considered to be the father of Underwater Diving Education together with Ferraro. They shared all initiatives in this sector and developed a relationship that was only interrupted due to Marcante's death. Together with Egidio Cressi, he was one of those pioneers from Genoa who started to dive in the 30s, before the Second World War, which he used to call "tribe from the rocks". Marcante used to develop and expand everything that Ferraro invented and started, such as the diving courses.
This happened with the "Underwater Centre in Nervi", which was also founded by him in 1952 and of which he became the Technical Director after Ferraro's resignation.
This happened with Underwater Carabinieri, who were trained by him for many years after Ferraro started up the course. It also happened with the Fire fighters' Course, as Marcante became the Course Director in the Training Centre where the Course was held, after Ferraro resigned because of his many professional commitments.
Marcante's methods, resulting from the experience gained by working with Luigi Ferraro during training courses set up for fire fighters, were applied and gradually perfected by the Underwater Centre in Nervi and adopted by the F.I.P.S.A.S., who made them their own and diffused them throughout Italy.
He was the author of the first "Federal Teaching Manual", the official text used by the Federation, which was studied by thousands of students and instructors. He wrote two books "Scendete sott’acqua con me" published by Ceschina and “Questo è lo Sport Sub” published by Mursia, and many articles and scripts featuring intense spiritual contents. He invented, in collaboration with Prof. Odaglia, a technique to compensate for external pressure on the eardrum, which was named Marcante - Odaglia in their honour.

Duilio Marcante's contributions to teaching, despite being unanimously recognised and appreciated, remained confined within the circles of the underwater sports sector. The work that made his name known outside the sector of underwater sports was, instead, the statue of "Christ of the Abyss", which he designed as a tribute to the memory of his friend Dario Gonzatti, who tragically disappeared during a dive, and to create a place suitable for meditation and prayer underwater.
The statue was realised free of charge by the outstanding sculptor Guido Galletti and the bronze used for the fusion was collected thanks to donations received from all over the world: propellers, fragments of ships, Olympic medals and medals for Valour, even a handful of bronze coins - ex voto - offered by the mother of a sailor who disappeared at sea. The remaining conspicuous costs of the operation were covered by the ship owner Giacomino Costa who played a very important financial role and who was also President of the Executive Committee which included among others Ansaldo, the Italian Shipping Association, Prof Luigi Ferraro, and the Command of Local Military Garrisons.
On August 29th 1954, in San Fruttuoso Bay, in front of the historic Doria Abbey, the statue was immersed underwater, 17 metres deep. It was 2.50 metres high, weighed 8 quintals and was fixed on a concrete pedestal shaped like a pyramid, which was 2.50 metres high, 5 x 5 metres wide at the base and weighed 80 tons.
Pope Pius XII, gave his special blessing and a medal, which still lies at the statue’s feet.

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Duilio Marcante
Duilio Marcante
The statue of  "Christ of the Abyss" is immersed underwater at San Fruttoso sea bed
The statue of "Christ of the Abyss" is immersed underwater at San Fruttoso sea bed


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Enzo Maiorca

Enzo Maiorca is the Italian free diver who, after breaking the world record on many occasions, left a deep imprint in the history of this speciality. He broke the first world record in 1960 in Syracuse, when he descended 45 metres deep; and the last one at the end of his career, in 1988, still in Syracuse when he dived to a depth of 101 metres. His performance proved that the current theories on underwater physiology were unfounded and showed the actual possibility of exceeding 50 metres. Thanks to his temperament, his simplicity and spontaneity, he won the affection of many admirers and fans who supported him for 28 years, throughout his entire career.
During this period, the world of deep water free diving changed radically. During the early years, records were broken in an organisational context that consisted of volunteers, friends and collaborators, in accordance with regulations and in the presence of federal judges. However, the means available were very limited. Over the course of the years, the power that records acquired through the media attracted financially influential sponsors, and the use of techniques belonging to the Italian Navy triggered interest that was at a completely different level compared to the origins.
Ferraro stood side by side with Maiorca until the beginning of the 80s, first as Judge, then as Technisub owner, providing him with organisational support but never with financial support as Maiorca would not accept a penny from him. Theirs was a strong friendship, which remained intact over the test of time until Ferraro passed away.

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Enzo Maiorca  with Ferraro
Enzo Maiorca with Ferraro


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Egidio Cressi

Genova 1902 - 1986

Before the beginning of the Second World War, Egidio Cressi tried out the first tools used for underwater hunting together with Marcante and Gonzatti. He started to handcraft these after his normal working hours. In complete conflict with his bank, who suggested that he should transfer to another location, Cressi refused as he would have lost all contact with the sea and with his group of friends and client divers. He resigned and set up the company Cressi. Underwater activities were at their very beginning. They were pioneering and practiced enthusiastically with no knowledge of the fundamental physics and physiology principles. In 1947, Marcante introduced him to Luigi Ferraro who, thanks to his experience, to the knowledge he acquired as diver working for the Navy and thanks to his skills as an inventor, was employed to work for the emerging company. Ferraro significantly helped the company to make a qualitative leap, which soon later was substantiated by the creation of the Rondine fins and of the Pinocchio mask.
As well as being one of the pioneers of underwater activities, he was also the perfect example of an entrepreneur, because of the risks he was able to take when he only had his convictions to rely on.

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Ferraro and Egidio Cressi
Ferraro and Egidio Cressi
A diving mask sample made by tire inner tube and hand glued
A diving mask sample made by tire inner tube and hand glued


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Gino Lo Basso

Durazzo 1919 - San Donato Milanese 1986

Gino Lo Basso was an Engineer, a Senior fire fighter Officer and a Commander in several provincial capitals such as Imperia, Cagliari and Naples. He was cultured, knowledgeable and passionate about his profession.
He had a deep knowledge of laws, decrees and regulations but, most of all, he was a great diver who gained significant experience in the field. Admired by his superiors, he was loved and respected by those under him thanks to his management skills and human qualities which made him a memorable and exemplary figure for fire fighter Divers. He was the first person in charge of the National Training Centre for Divers, which was established in 1972 by the Ministry of the Interior in order to rationalize the service. This Centre, which had its own indoor swimming pool, was situated near the Fire-fighting Central Schools in Rome, and directly subordinated to the Central Technical Service.
Eng. Lo Basso, during a service submersion in the Gulf of Naples had a serious embolism, which left him semi-paralysed in his lower limbs. This handicap did not prevent him from carrying out his institutional and management duties until he reached retirement age. He was Luigi Ferraro's go-between with the Fire fighters.

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Gaetano Ninì Cafiero

Gaetano “Ninì” Cafiero is a journalist and writer. As a journalist, he was a special foreign envoy for important daily papers and periodicals. As a writer, he published a dozen books to date which mainly focus on the sea. He is probably the most documented and prepared reporter in the history of underwater activities in Italy and abroad. As Ferraro's personal friend, he had the privilege of gathering his personal confidentialities and stories and of accessing his infinite collection of documents and pictures, a veritable archive containing sixty years of history in the field of underwater activities. This allowed him to write about Ferraro at length in: “Vita da Sub” – SEI - Turin and to dedicate two entire books to him: “Luigi Ferraro, un italiano” and “Dominare gli istinti” both by IRECO – Rome.

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Gianni Beltrani

Gianni Beltrani is an engineer who started working for Technisub when he was very young, before he graduated. For many years he was Luigi Ferraro's right-hand man with regards to technical issues and contributed to the development of innovative products such as the New ARO. After Ferraro retired, he became the Company's Technical Director and continued the Company's tradition of creativity and innovation by designing masks and fins that were intended to have a significant impact on the evolution of underwater equipment.

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Ferraro and Gianni Beltrani during a fin test in the test pool made by Ferraro in the 70s
Ferraro and Gianni Beltrani during a fin test in the test pool made by Ferraro in the 70s


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Giorgio Chimenti

Giorgio Chimenti, Engineer, the fire fighter Commander for the provinces of Grosseto and Genoa, the Regional Director of fire fighters in Tuscany. He also was the Director of the National Centre of Scuba Diver Training from 1984 to 1991, and the Interior Ministry Consultant for Underwater Activities. Since 1975, he led all training Courses for fire fighter Divers. He developed techniques for research and recovery at great depths, which were based on Sonar systems, underwater cameras and ROV. He was a university tutor, a member of ministerial commissions and a consultant for various ministries. In 2007, he was appointed as the Director General in the National Department of Civil Protection.
He played an essential role in retaining Ferraro and Marcante's principles for the training of divers from the fire fighters' force, which he adapted to our time and to current techniques.

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