During World War I he served as commander of a torpedo boat. For his bravery in a combat action he received a decoration at war's end in November 1918. From 1923 to 1928 he served in China as naval attache to the Italian embassy. In 1928 he assumed command of a destroyer, and then a cruiser in the early 1930s. During the Spanish Civil War he was the commander of two groups of light ships. He also participated in the Italian occupation of Albania in April 1939.