The maritime traffic of the Italian ports, considered on the basis of the total quantity of goods loaded and unloaded, was about 32 million tons. in 1913; after the depression following the world war, it reached this figure again in 1924, then continued to grow, albeit with interruptions, reaching a maximum of 39.5 million in 1929; later the effects of the world economic crisis made themselves felt, which produced a significant traffic restriction in 1930 and a more considerable one in 1931 (34.5 million). But a fact worthy of noting is the increasing sharing of the Italian flag in the traffic of national ports: from just over 50% in 1913, this share has risen to 67% in the four-year period 1926-29.
Another feature compared to the pre-war period, is the wider range of traffic, as there is no longer any country in the world, among those that have any commercial importance, which is not in direct relationship with the Italian ports, and also connected to them. from Italian shipping lines. The main current of trade is that to and from European ports beyond Gibraltar, which alone absorbs about half of the total foreign trade; it follows the Mediterranean current, which contributes (including the Black Sea) about another quarter; followed by the current of North America, that of South and Central America, that beyond Suez (countries of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific) and last, so far very weak, the current to and from the ports of West Africa. In traffic with western and northern Europe the foreign flag prevails (with a predominance of the British), and this is also prevalent in trade with Central and South America and with Australia; in all other currents the national flag prevails; However, Spain and Greece also participate in the traffic between Italian ports and the others in the Mediterranean.
Among the Italian ports, those that have some commercial movement are about a hundred, and about twenty today have a traffic greater than or close to one million tons (net tonnage). In terms of the number of ships entering and exiting, the first place goes to Trieste, followed by Naples, Fiume, Genoa, Venice, Livorno and Messina. But for the mass of goods unloaded and loaded, Genoa far surpasses all the others; followed, in descending order, by Venice, Trieste, Naples, Savona, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Fiume, Ancona, etc. For the number of passengers embarked and disembarked, Trieste and Naples have an absolute primacy; the movement of Naples however decreased following the contraction of emigration. On the contrary, this contraction has significantly influenced in reducing the global traffic of travelers with foreign countries (from about 1,100. 000 travelers in 1913 to less than half in 1929), also changing its appearance; in fact today, at least for economic importance, the tourist movement exceeds the migratory one.
Among the navigation lines in the interior of the kingdom, naturally those that make the connection with the two major islands of the Tyrrhenian and with Zara on the eastern shore of the Adriatic have the first place. For communications with Sardinia, the Civitavecchia-Terranova line (daily) is in first place; followed by the weekly Civitavecchia-Cagliari and Naples-Cagliari. For Sicily the only important line, in competition with the railway, is the daily Naples-Palermo. Zara is connected to Ancona (daily service), to Trieste, to Venice; Venice is also connected to Trieste by a daily line. The lines from Genoa to Livorno, to Naples, to Palermo also have a notable movement; from Livorno to the Sardinian ports; from Naples to Messina, from Bari to Ancona, from Ancona to Fiume, etc. Among the Mediterranean lines, those of connection with Libya, which mainly refer to Syracuse, should be remembered. Among the other lines, those determined by the already indicated geographical situation of Italy prevail, which appears almost a pier jutting out towards the Levant, for very fast communications with Egypt, from Trieste, Venice, Brindisi, Genoa and Naples (the route from Brindisi is today the shortest maritime route between Europe and Egypt and is therefore widely used by the international movement of travelers); frequent communications between the Adriatic ports and those of the opposite Balkan shore (above all with Albania), communications between the same ports and those of the Aegean, the East Asian, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea and the lower Danube. The geographical situation also favors communications between Sicily and Tunisia, between Liguria and Catalonia. Communications with Algeria and Morocco are much less important.
For transoceanic lines, almost only the two Tyrrhenian ports of Genoa and Naples and the Adriatic ports of Trieste and Venice are of importance as a point of departure or arrival. The most important lines departing from the two Tyrrhenian ports (which are usually both touched on both the outward and return journeys) are those directed to the Atlantic ports of North and South America, served by modern and fast steamships and motor vessels. especially for passenger transport; they follow direct lines, beyond Suez, to ports in East Africa, South Asia, the Far East, the Dutch Indies and Australia; one line is directed to the Panama Canal, and beyond that, to the South American ports of the Pacific; one to the Atlantic ports of Africa as far as Cape Town. The two Adriatic ports, on the other hand, have the most frequent and rapid connections with South Asia and the Far East; also two lines, bound for Central America, and beyond Panama to the North American ports of the Pacific; a line that completes the entire African circumnavigation, one directed to the ports of Plata and others of lesser importance.
Inland navigation is very little developed in Italy. Steam navigation is carried out on lakes Maggiore, Orta, Como, Lugano, Iseo, Garda, Trasimeno and the Venetian lagoons, for a complex of just 560 km. of lines (435 if lagoons are excluded); for the transport of travelers the lakes Maggiore and Como have the first place, for that of goods the absolute primacy is the lake of Iseo ( 4/5 of total traffic). Italian waterways lend themselves little to navigation (compared to those of Central and Eastern Europe) due to the already mentioned characteristics of regime, slopes, etc. The Po is classified among the first class navigable arteries from Casale to the mouth (540 km.), But only up to the confluence with the Mincio can vessels of a few masses (up to 600 tons) go up; furthermore, navigation in the delta is often obstructed by bars, which is why the canal that connects Cavanella Po to Brondolo in the Venetian lagoon is used; the only river port of any importance is Pontelagoscuro. Works are underway to make it possible to access vessels of 600 tons up to the mouth of the Adda. Of the tributaries of the Po, the Ticino is navigable from Pavia (where a river port is being built) to the mouth (47 km. ), the Adda da Pizzighettone at the mouth, the Oglio downstream from Pontevico, the Mincio from the lower lake of Mantua (which has a small river port) at the mouth, as well as some minor intermediate stretches of the same rivers. Navigation on the Adige, which had considerable importance in the past, is now limited to some sections for vessels of over 100 tons. In the Venetian rivers navigation is limited to the lower trunks (Livenza from Portobuffolè to the mouth for 75 km; Piave from Zenson to Cortellazzo 34 km; Sile from Treviso to the mouth, etc.). In Lombardy, Veneto and Romagna, navigation is integrated by a network of navigable canals (Canale di Vizzola, Naviglio Grande, Naviglio di Paderno, della Martesana, di Volano; Canale di Primaro; Canale from the Po di Levante to the Adige; Naviglio Brenta; Battaglia Canal, Piòvego Canal; Bisatto Canal, Este-Monselice canal; Naviglio Adigetto; Canale Gorzone, etc.). By means of fluvial trunks and internal and lagoon canals some notable lines have been established in recent years, such as the one that connects the Isonzo to the Po (183 km.), The longest, the one from Venice to Padua, the one from Vicenza to Este and Monselice, etc. Several of these waterways, always accompanied by towpaths, are closed. Numerous and important are the works planned or in progress; of greater consideration are those aimed at connecting the greatest Lombard center, Milan, to the Adriatic, which will be equipped with a river port. that from Venice to Padua, that from Vicenza to Este and Monselice, etc. Several of these waterways, always accompanied by towpaths, are closed. Numerous and important are the works planned or in progress; of greater consideration are those aimed at connecting the greatest Lombard center, Milan, to the Adriatic, which will be equipped with a river port. that from Venice to Padua, that from Vicenza to Este and Monselice, etc. Several of these waterways, always accompanied by towpaths, are closed. Numerous and important are the works planned or in progress; of greater consideration are those aimed at connecting the greatest Lombard center, Milan, to the Adriatic, which will be equipped with a river port.
In the peninsula, navigation on the Tiber from Rome to Fiumicino and that on the Arno downstream of Pisa, subsidized by the Navicelli Canal, is of some importance. Overall, the inland waterways used in various ways today do not reach 1500 kilometers (excluding lakes).