Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
My first impression of Duca d'Aosta's game play was dictated very early by her guns. The closest analogue to her weapons are a weird combination of the AP shells from Budyonny and the HE shells from Perth. Her turrets are slow turning, her guns are rather short ranged and her munitions don't hit very hard. Duca d'Aosta's turret traverse rate is 30s for 180º or 6º per second. This is slower than the ship's ability to turn, meaning that any form of high-speed defensive manoeuvres will throw off your aim. Given her short-range and her inability to kill anything quickly, you'll be dodging often.
The best thing about her guns is their AP performance. She has a 1000m/s muzzle velocity -- the highest at her tier. Duca has excellent ballistic arcs with AP shells, and though they are lightweight, they have comparable flight time to the Soviet 152mm rifles. Her damage is a modest 3,200 hit points and she's fully capable of landing citadel hits against the broadside of enemy cruisers like Shchors or Furutaka at ranges in excess of 10km.
This contrasts sharply with her HE performance. While they do up to 2,100 hit points per hit, they have a horrible 7% chance to start fires. Unlike her AP shells, the ballistic quality of her HE rounds isn't as forgiving. There's a lot of float time at range, being comparable to British 152mm shells in this regard. This does allow her to fire over some types of intervening terrain with her HE rounds when she might not otherwise be able to engage a target with AP, providing some flexibility. However, note that they still have a high muzzle velocity, so this ability to lob shells over islands is limited to firing at extreme ranges.
With these qualities in mind, AP is the shell of choice with Duca d'Aosta. She can only reach out to 14km with her guns, so there's still plenty of penetration power in them to put the hurt on cruisers and even battleships. It's only when targets angle or when you're facing something like a destroyer that you should switch back to HE.
One of the major flaws of Duca d'Aosta's weaponry is that she does not do damage quickly. Though this is a problem common to all Light Cruisers, it's especially pronounced here. Her 7.5s reload and eight guns just doesn't spit out shells fast enough. Short of catching the citadel of an exposed cruiser at point-blank range, chewing through enemy hit point pools will take time -- even small hit point pools like destroyers. And it's not like she can park in her own ready-made concealment like the other eight-gun light cruisers, Leander and Perth. Short of lobbing fire over terrain, it's important to keep moving and dodging in Duca, limiting her ability to rain fire.
Even her torpedoes are of little help here. Her torpedoes have a maximum reach of 4.5km, making it a real challenge to make use of them in the average fight. And, though their fire arcs are very comfortable when on the attack, her triple launchers don't hit particularly hard. They're utterly ill-suited to gutting a hale and healthy battleship and best used against weaker prey.
This all amounts to a ship that's rewarded very heavily for taking evasive action against incoming fire -- even shells you might not be able to dodge outright. Baiting enemies to use AP shells to hit your ship's exposed broadside and then turning into enemy fire can pay off tremendously in duels, especially given Duca's lower DPM.
Good follow up skills include: Adrenaline Rush, Superintendent, and Last Stand.
I don't like this ship and that's a shame. I really wanted to. She's not broken, but she's not exactly fun. Duca d'Aosta is presently setup as a support ship, but she's not terribly good at the role. She's meant to fire from the second line, to pick on distracted targets and avoid their attacks. Now she's good at dodging and I have to applaud Wargaming for making a vessel with such fine handling out of very modest looking manoeuvrability statistics. The problem I really have with this ship is that if you're dodging, you're not returning fire. Duca d'Aosta struggles to keep her guns on target and the necessity of heavy evasive manoeuvres completely shuts off her offensive capabilities unless you take Main Armaments Modification 2 (which doesn't reverse this issue entirely).
No, I can't recommend her here. She has to play defensively to survive long enough to stack up damage. And short of the enemy leaving you alone for the full match, it's difficult for you to stack up enough hurt on the red team to regularly farm decent rewards.
No, she doesn't bring anything to the table competitively other than her speed and that's matched (or at least matched close enough) by better ships like Budyonny.