Come and have a day trip in Genoa famous for having once been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and more recently for the cruise and tourist industry
by Angelo Scorza (01-01-96)
The gateway to the sea
Genoa is the most important Italian port. The ancient Genoese coins portray one of the principal characteristics of Genoa: the city as the gateway to the sea.
With the completion in just 18 months of the new Cruise Terminal of Ponte dei Mille occurred in 1991, a new gateway to the sea has opened its doors.
The Cruise Terminals
The Italian port boasts two stylish cruise terminals, Ponte dei Mille and Ponte Andrea Doria, designed in the first part of the XX century but fully upgraded and refurbished to offer state-of-the-art facilities in an evocative ambient.
Before the Sixties, when the passenger flows between the United States and Europe passed mainly through the New York-Genoa link, the most prestigious transatlantics called Genoa.
When the aircraft came to replace the legendary liners as a more popular means of transport for crossing the oceans, Genoa started developing a tremendous vocation for cruise traffic; even today cruise passengers basically pass through Genoa, the port that offers the widest tourist and cultural prospects in the Mediterranean, a region where the trend for cruising is growing up dramatically.
With its new conception the port, the most important industry of Genoa, becomes the city heart merging to form part of the urban panorama in a harmonious and prestigious recomposition of its waterfront.
Passengers can enjoy congenial arrival and departure lounges with a full array of services so that they can pass the time pleasantly while waiting to embark.
The state-of-the-art facilities redeveloped from Genoa s historically important maritime station offer quick and efficient baggage handling and travelling procedures, keeping waiting time to a minimum.
Furthermore, passenger security is guaranteed by the most advanced Building Automation System managed by the Control Room which monitors the entire terminal.
The Ferry Terminal
In 1997 another project of great importance will be completed: the new Ferry Terminal at Calata Chiappella.
The new facilities will cover a total surface of 160,000 square metres at the services of 12 berths.
The functional characteristics of the terminal resulted in its good location and in the projecting of the building designed as a link between the sea and the land for both road freight, along the quay, and for passengers and office-goers, along the same level as the city.
Boarding bridges will be reached via elevated passenger walkways, which are planned to give a panoramic view of the harbour.
The city has a lot of attractions. The Carlo Felice Theatre, refurbished in the Nineties, is the most modern opera house in Europe. It is located in the heart of the city at Piazza De Ferrari just 50 metres far from the magnificent Palazzo Ducale.
The restoration of the cultural soul of Genoa was completed in 1992.
Palazzo Ducale was a fort, palace and prison in the past.
Today it is not only a vast multifunctional display space but also a link between the old city and the new.
The Doges apartments and chapel, the two extraordinary, Salone del Maggior Consiglio and Salone del Minor Consiglio, are open to visitors.
The Lanterna the ancient lighthouse which is also the city symbol, has reopened to public just this year.
According to most credited scholars, it was built in the XIII century.
Originally used as a tower for the city wardens it served to jail the enemies of the Marine Republic of Genoa during its golden age.
The Lanterna was first used as a lighthouse in the early 1300, when fire was fed by means of olive oil, a plantation very much spread in the whole Liguria, the region surrounding Genoa.
Partially destroyed in the first half of the XIV century by the bombing from the French, it was rebuilt in 1543.
In 1785 the escutcheon of Genoa was painted on the northern side.
The Lanterna is 117 metres (383 feet) high and the light reach is 27 nautical miles. From its top there is a wonderful panoramic view over the Gulf of Genoa.
People can visit it upon request to the Province of Genoa for a price of 10,000 italian Lire, inclusive of the transport within coach or boat through the port.
The Aquarium was inaugurated in 1992 in coincidence with the Expo 92 celebration for the 500 anniversary of the discovery of America by the famous navigator Christopher Columbus (Genoa 1451-Valladolid 1506). The exhibition is the widest marine park in Europe and every day thousands of people visit it. Average attending is 1,3 million per year. Forty nine basins contain sea cretaures from the whole world: dolphins, sharks and seals enjoy the children's visits. Over 500 different species are represented for a total of 5,000 specimen among fishes, reptiles and amphibious.
The premises extend over an area of 13.000 square metres. The 80 per cent of the fishes are procreated in captivity.
Ticket costs 14,000 italian Lire. Rebates are provided for groups, students and for the visit of other city amenities.
In the spring of 1996 has been held, at the international fairground, the fifth edition of Euroflora, the largest flower festival in the world.
This event occurs in Genoa every fifth year and visitors came all over the world.
The Mediterranean Cruise and Ferry Convention
The conference focuses exclusively on the Mediterranean, its cruise and ferry industries, and the prospects for growth in both sectors. Partecipants from the USA, the Caribbean and Asia will join an array of European delegates for the four-day programme, furthermore an exhibition of over 3,500 square metres with the latest products, services and technology runs alongside the conference.