Role in ILLUMINATE Project : End User exterior area


Porto Antico stands for a new part of the city of Genoa and from 1995 the publicly owned company that runs it: Porto Antico di Genova S.p.A. Porto Antico di Genova is by nature a very broad concept. It’s an urban landmark, a cultural center, an economic body, a driving force of development, a way of life, space and time open to all. It’s “the Square on the Mediterranean".

Porto Antico di Genova S.p.A.  was granted the concession of the Old Port Area by the Municipality of Genoa in July 1995.

It was transformed after decades of neglect thanks to the intervention of Renzo Piano on the occasion of the 500th Anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America (1992).

The company is made up of:

51% Municipality of Genoa

39% Chamber of Commerce Genoa 

10% Genoa Port Authority                   

Today, the company employs 39 people and aims to consolidate the results achieved through the development of the conference sector, implementation of real estate value, enhancement of the area’s image as a tourist attraction recognized in Italy and abroad. 


Main features of the area

117.000 sq. m : Porto Antico di Genova surface area

86.000 sq. m  outside surface

36.436 sq. m water surface

70 businesses 

900 jobs

€50 million spillover benefit to the city


Destination Uses

Cultural-scientific                                     23%

Conference & Meetings                           20%            

Recreation – Educational                         17%

Services - Parking                                    15%

Offices                                                       12%

Food & Restaurants                                     7%

Business                                                       6%

Description of the area :The cultural center


Porto Antico di Genova is an area of high cultural attendance thanks to the 8 facilities that are located within its "borders" and which each year attract thousands of visitors from Italy and abroad. 

Cultural “Containers” account for 23% of the covered areas and represent in percentage terms the most significant destination use of the buildings.

Acquario di Genova

Genoa’s Aquarium, Europe’s largest exhibition of aquatic biodiversity, is the attraction most visited in Genoa and the national reference point for the care of stranded or injured marine animals: 9,400 square meters of exhibition space, 70 recreated rooms, 12,000 animals and plants, 600 species and 200 plant species.

La città dei bambini e dei ragazzi

With 11 thematic areas and over 90 game elements, La città dei bambini e dei ragazzi is the largest recreational and educational facility for children between 2 and 14 years of age in Italy. In 2009, with the contribution of Porto Antico di Genova S.p.A, two new exhibits were added: the “Digiwall”, the “Digital Wall", and the "Soapdish."

The two innovations are part of a restyling plan that foresees an investment of half a million euros over the next five years provided by the company.

Edmondo De Amicis Library

It is the major editorial and multimedia facility dedicated to youngsters ranging from 0 to 18 years of age in Europe: 2200 sq. surface area, more than 35,000 books, 180 reading stations, 30 multimedia workstations for viewing CD ROMs and listening to music.  

Museo Nazionale dell’Antartide / the National Antarctica Museum

The Museo Nazionale dell'Antartide: 1000 sq. m of exhibition space, a journey of discovery of the eco-environmental, biological and wildlife characteristics of the Antarctica continent. 

Porta Siberia Luzzati Museum

Porta Siberia, Museo Luzzati houses the permanent exhibition of Emanuele Luzzati’s works plus  drawings, scenography and thematic exhibits renewed every six months and accompanied by workshops and activities for children.

Bigo / panoramic lift

The Bigo, architectural symbol of the entire area, supports the panoramic lift reaching a height of 40 meters and guides your discovery of the city’s main monuments with its exhibition panels from an unusual aerial prospective.


The technological biosphere is a “droplet” suspended on the sea containing rare botanical, floral and wildlife species coming from tropical areas of the planet. 

Genoa Port Center

The Genoa Port Center is the Mediterranean’s first port exhibit center, a virtual and interactive pier for discovering the work, activities and professions of port life, the routes of goods, the arrival and departure of ships.

A brand new terminal focusing on the knowledge, work and activities of the port and its transformation.

Conference Center

The Porto Antico di Genoa Conference Center represents the conference division of the company. It manages the Magazzini del Cotone Conference Center, matchless for is architectural characteristics, central position, proximity to the airport, train stations, highways, hotels and cultural attractions.

The Magazzini del Cotone Conference Center, located in 7 modules on 4 floors of the Magazzini del Cotone building has an Auditorium separable into two mirror-halves seating 1480 and 9 different sized meeting rooms as well as 8000 sq. m of exhibition space.

The Conference Center hosted the international press center during the G8 summit held in Genoa in 2001.

The Magazzini del Cotone Conference Center and the Porto Antico di Genova Area are a Wi.Fi. hotspot, currently one of the largest in Italy.

Recreation area

Porto Antico is also an area dedicated to recreational activities and fun open to all ages all year round.

Piazza delle Feste

Piazza delle Feste is the space covered by the tensile structure near the Bigo panoramic lift. From December to March it is a charmingly unique ice skating rink where visitors can ice skate by the sea in a sheltered environment of great architectural value.

The rest of the year, Piazza delle Feste is used for hosting shows, exhibitions and sporting events.    

Teatro Piscina/ Swimming Pool theatre

The Swimming Pool Theatre is a multipurpose space outside the Magazzini del Cotone.

The pool is open from June to September. At the pool, with bar and solarium, you can attend swimming lessons, aqua gym and free swimming.  When covered, the pool can be used as a stage.

L’Isola delle Chiatte / Barge Island

“Isola delle Chiatte”, named after the composer Luciano Berio is located at the far end of the Aquarium Pier, now “Via Fabrizio De Andrè”. It’s an extraordinary panoramic point situated at the center of the old port.

Porticciolo Turistico / Marina

Marina Molo Vecchio is the marina located in the "heart" of Genoa. A total of 160 berths measuring from 8 meters long are available for transit or rent. Open 365 days a year, the marina offers a full range of services, docking assistance, real-time weather, dedicated services, reserved car parking facilities.

Children’s Play Area

In the Mandraccio area a children's play area has been set up. A fenced area equipped with slides and gymnastic courses for playing and fun in total safety.

Also, an especially equipped inclusive play area has been installed designed in accordance with the principles of Universal Design and accessible to all without any separation between specific games for children with disabilities or development of areas devoted exclusively to them.

The area, created with the help of F.IS.H., the Italian Federation for Overcoming Handicaps, and Enel Cuore Onlus, is the first of its kind in Italy.

Arena del Mare

A square on the sea that during the summer turns into a real stage area. It is the stage of the Arena del Mare, located at the far end of the Magazzini del Cotone and inserted in the spectacular natural arch of the Old Port.

A charming location that every year, in July and August, hosts musical, dance theater and cabaret performances.

Multiplex Cinema

The multiplex cinema - made up of No. 10 theatres that can accommodate about 3,000 people – has reopened in 2010 after a short temporary closure.

A totally renewed facility in appearance and latest technological equipment, the ideal place for spending free time and enjoying a wide and varied range of experiences, entertainment and recreation.