Art and architecture onboard

Gio Ponti, famous italian architect, wrote that an italian ship is a piece of Italy, and it must represent the highest and most prestigious aspects of italian taste, culture, arts and crafts … the tourist must learn about Italy on the ship…
The Augustus and the Giulio Cesare, the Andrea Doria, the Cristoforo Colombo and the Leonardo da Vinci, thus marked the post-war period with their exemplary burst of innovation: technique but also style and taste.
In the furrow of this trend, by now trough half of the sixties, Michelangelo and Raffaello showed an example of the design and of the art of that period in Italy.
Although exact sister ships, Michelangelo and Raffaello were ships of distinct and different characters with their interiors designed by a separate team of architects.
Michelangelo’s darker and more sombre décor was the more conventional of the two: her style was similar to that of Cristoforo Colombo and Leonardo da Vinci and many of the principal designers including  Pulitzer, Luccichenti, Monaco and Zoncada were veterans of those ships. Some contemporary critics distinguished Michelangelo as being too American style. Still, there were some memorable rooms such as the first class spacious lounges and particularly the Fiorenza Ballroom (Zoncada) with a centre two-deck-high dome and extending the full width of the vessel.
More progressive yet restrained, Raffaello’s more lively décor received kinder reviews from the critics. The principal architects were Attilio and Emilio La Padula, Michele Busiri Vici (well-known roman architect this being his first time to work on a ship), Aldo Cervi, Vittorio Frandoli, Umberto Nordio.
Among her most distinctive rooms were the first class foyer with its crisp white finish highlighting two bronze mermaids and the first class dining room with its graceful column flutes that merged with the ceiling panels.
Without the pedantry and monotony of a collection or an art exhibition, the artists and architects inserted work of art everywhere. So we find in the foyers, along the staircases, in the ballrooms, dining rooms, suites and deluxe staterooms, corridors and chapels works by Italy’s most important artists of that period including Capogrossi, Ridolfi, Turcato, Spacal, Severini, Fiume, Mascherini and the genoese Luzzati.
These names have been mentioned at random (without considering their value or expressing preference) simply to explain that you can find on Michelangelo or Raffaello all the names featured in the catalogues of the most important art exhibitions or in those of famous museums in all parts of the world.
The exhibition of painting, sculptures and decoration in general was such that a voyage on one of these liners could  be compared to a trip around Italy.