History of the Museum

An extraordinary Adventure to discover five Centuries of Life at Sea

On August 1, 2004, on the occasion of Genoa as European Capital of Culture, the Galata Museo del Mare opened to the public. An important step for the urban transformation of the waterfront of the Porto Antico area, refurbished by the architect Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra, this museum has strongly improved the cultural and touristic offer of the city. Today is considered the most important maritime museum of the Mediterranean, thought to answer the growing need both of learning more about the maritime history, and of improving the cultural life of people, in an interactive and amusing way.

Galata is a neighborhood of Istanbul and up to the 15th century  was the residence of one of the most important Genoese communities of the Mediterranean; later, at the turn of the 19th century, when the Municipality of Genoa dedicated the old Darsena to commercial docks,  it was named as the old colony. In the 19th century, “the Galata” already had a history that was nearly three centuries long: the ground floor was the area where the galleys of the Republic of Genoa were built and the building was part of the Arsenal, the most important military and maritime complex of the city. In the 20th century, “the Galata” lost its commercial function and was abandoned. At the end of the Nineties, the City Council decided that “Galata” would become the home of Genoa’s maritime museum .

The architect Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra, the architect of the Galata restoration project, has conceived a new and imaginative use of the space, with the aim of revitalizing the maritime image and to further draw the city closer to the sea.

A wise coexistence of old and new architectures give a new identity to the building: crystal and steel reintroduce the double theme of defining volume boundaries and the transparency of the surface, through a fascinating succession of full and empty spaces, of lights and shadows.

The renovation of Darsena was not limited to Galata building but also extended to the surrounding area with the very recent Open Air Museum, a project realized thanks to the cooperation between the Mu.MA, Istituzione Musei del Mare e Migrazioni (Maritime Museums and Migrations Institution), Regione Liguria, Comune di Genova - Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Liguria (Genoa’s Council, Local Authority for Cultural and Landscape Heritage), Soprintendenze e Autorità Portuale (Superintendency and Port Authority), able to generate the recovery of one of oldest areas of the port of Genoa.