Built on the project of the then director of 1a class of the Naval Engineers Benedetto Brin, it was built in the shipyard of Castellammare di Stabia where the hull was set the 24 April 1873 and launched the 8 May 1876. The long set-up times were due to economic difficulties because many other units were under construction at the same time.
Newly designed, the displacement of 10.750 t, was equipped with main armament in two swivel twin towers with four cannons from 45 cm to muzzle loading and reached the speed of 15 nodes. At the time of its preparation, for the characteristics of speed, protection (maximum 550 mm) and armament, it was unanimously recognized as the most powerful battleship in service.
Particularly, just below the waterline at the extreme stern had been created a large compartment closed by a watertight door operated by hydraulic pressure, designed to accommodate a small torpedo boat to be put in the sea near the enemy for the fast attack with the torpedo.
Considered a new generation unit as it opened a new era in the evolution of the military ship.