A port that is constantly evolving.
Porto Antico was a landing place that has followed the course of innovations in the construction of ships and in the management of loads, modifying the line of the coast and of the port structures, with constant adjustments and interventions.
Mandraccio, the “shelter where you can safely stop” according to an etymology of probably Arab origin, is a sort of natural harbor, it is the bend in which the first indigenous fishermen settled. Protected from the winds and in a strategic position, the port of Genoa quickly became the hub of maritime trade with the whole Mediterranean.
Active since the fifth century BC, at the center of traffic in antiquity and during the Middle Ages, its primacy was accentuated and consolidated with the birth of the Municipality in the era of the Crusades and, subsequently, in the ‘500: the “Century of Genoese “.
The development of port activities grew at great speed until the sixteenth century, when with the discovery of America, traffic was diverted to the Atlantic. A new period of maritime expansion was favored by the construction of the new port between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and by subsequent significant extensions in 1919 and 1945.
Colombian celebrations of 1992.
In the second half of the twentieth century, port traffic gradually moved towards the western part of the city and the old area remained virtually unused.
The renovation carried out on the occasion of the Colombian celebrations in 1992 reconnected it to the city, giving it back its central and driving role for Genoa, of which the Porto Antico represents today to all intents and purposes the “historical heart”.
Renzo Piano’s project
The 1992 Expo, the new start.
A city to return its sea to. This is the idea that guided Renzo Piano‘s pencil in the recovery of the area on the occasion of the International Specialized Exhibition “Cristoforo Colombo: the ship and the sea” in 1992.
Quote: “Genoa is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Before ’92 the port was separated from the city, but since then Genoa has been able to find its contact with the sea and re-establish a relationship with water “- Renzo Piano
An Area to be returned to its city: Porto Antico di Genova SpA, which manage it, enhancing it and promoting it over the years, has transformed it into a space to be lived all day long, every day, and has achieved the goal of giving it a proper name, a personality, a soul.
The spaces have become one of the most popular and appreciated realities, the Old Port of Genoa, the Mediterranean Square.
A modern square in a thousand-year-old city, the junction point between the sea and the historic center, a gateway open to cultures, encounters and the future.
Since then, the Area has not stopped expanding, improving itself, always offering new reasons of interest to the visitors who live it every day: Genoese and more numerous tourists are increasingly attracted by the richness of the cultural offer of our territory.
And today the Area has expanded even further: in the overall picture of the new Genoese waterfront that is taking shape day by day, Porto Antico di Genova extends its activities and its expertise to the Genoese exhibition center, creating new opportunities of interest and new reasons to visit our city.
The incorporation of the Genoa Fair.
Since 2019 Porto Antico has integrated Fiera di Genova SpA, the company that since the end of the 1950s has overseen the construction of the exhibition area and, since 1962, has managed the activities, based on the original idea of the first president, Giuseppe De André, and the urban plan of Carlo Daneri.
Some of the best designers of the time worked on the construction, with buildings that have made the history of architecture, such as the Palasport signed by Leo Finzi, Franco Sironi, Lorenzo Martinoia and Remo Pagani. The district, which was later equipped with marinas for the exhibition in water of the boats present at the International Boat Show and a marquee on the sea, has been enriched in even more recent times by a spectacular pavilion designed by Atelier Jean Nouvel.
The management of the Fiera di Genova is responsible for some of the events that have become part of the heritage of the sector of our country, such as the International Boat Show and Euroflora, without forgetting one of the longest-lived Italian samples, Fiera Primavera.
The Palasport was the scene of concerts by the Beatles and Kiss, by Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, Vasco Rossi, Ligabue and Jovanotti, Sport events such as the World League of volleyball and boxing matches with Nino Benvenuti and Cassius Clay; the tensile structure hosted, among others, the concerts of Elton John and Peter Gabriel.
Today the exhibition center is profoundly transforming, according to the design of the eastern waterfront signed by Renzo Piano, maintaining its traditional functions in the Blue pavilion, in the tensile structure and in the marina.