The ship Raffaello was built, together with its sister ship Michelangelo, by famous designers in 1958, and entered service in 1963. They were intended to be a symbol of Italian history and culture and display the most important and famous dimensions of the Italian talent and elegance in art and industry. The two ships carried passengers between the ports of Genoa and New York for 10 years. However, in the economic crisis of the 1970s Italy could not pay the operating expenses of the vessels and decided to sell them. The Imperial Government of Iran bought both ships for four million dollars, although they were priced at 45 million dollars each, and transferred them to Iran. In August 1978, the Raffaello entered Iran and docked at the port of Bushehr. After the Islamic Revolution and at the start of Iran-Iraq war, the grandeur and size of the Raffaello caused some concerns because it was a considerable target for Iraqi missiles and, if it was sunk at the entrance of the port canal, it would stop the movement of any vessels or warships. They took the ship to a place in the middle of the sea that was one kilometer away from the shore near the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, where half of it was sunk under continuous Iraqi missile attacks. An Iranian cargo ship, the Iran Siam, completed the half-finished job of the Iraqis and sank the remaining half of Raffaello when it collided with the half-sunk ship. Today, the Raffaello lies at the depth of 40 meters in the Persian Gulf and has turned into a unique habitat for the aquatic organisms of the region. However, not only has the sunken Raffaello greater potential for attracting tourists but it is also a historic relic in many respects. Twenty-two years after it was sunk, pieces of the Raffaello are separated from it and transferred to the shore, and soon the whole ship will disappear completely. The purpose in making this documentary was to Inquire into the reasons for destroying the legendary ship Raffaello. It also shows the emotional reflection of the people of Bushehr and Genoa that now, after the passage of many years, still live with the memory of the Raffaello and tell the story of its birth and death to their children.

the crew


Raffaello Demo English from Reza Ghanbari Ghalehgir on Vimeo.



  • Beginning of the field research (Underwater - the former location of the ship - the local people and eyewitnesses).
  • Library research
  • Collecting videos and photos
  • Submit a play
  • Selection of a team for production
  • Construction of three-dimensional model
  • Underwater filming
  • Filming the interviews


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