Benedetto Brin (1833-1898), Italian naval administrator, was born at Turin on the 17th of May 1833, and until the age of forty worked with distinction as a naval engineer. In 1873 Admiral Saint-Bon, minister of marine, appointed him under-secretary of state. The two men completed each other; Saint-Bon conceived a type of ship, Brin made the plans and directed its construction. On the advent of the Left to power in 1876, Brin was appointed minister of marine by Depretis, a capacity in which he continued the programme of Saint-Bon, while enlarging and completing it in such way as to form the first organic scheme for the development of the Italian fleet. The huge warships "Italia" and "Dandolo" were his work, though he afterwards abandoned their type in favour of smaller and faster vessels of the "Varese" and the "Garibaldi" class. By his initiative Italian naval industry, almost non-existent in 1873, made rapid progress. During his eleven years' ministry (1876-1878 with Depretis, 1884-1891 with Depretis and Crispi, 1896-1898 with Rudini), he succeeded in creating large private shipyards, engine works and metallurgical works for the production of armour, steel plates and guns.
In 1892 he entered the Giolitti cabinet as minister for foreign affairs, accompanying, in that capacity, the king and queen of Italy to Potsdam, but showed weakness towards France on the occasion of the massacre of Italian workmen at Aigues-Mortes. He died on the 24th of May 1898, while minister of marine in the Rudini cabinet. He, more than any other man, must be regarded as the practical creator of the Italian navy.