Pirates in Genoa: the Galleon at the Old Port

In one of the most interesting places to visit in Genoa, the Old Port, where the blue sea breaks against the old and new buildings of the city that, in a harmonious play of colors, blend into the entire Ligurian coastline, a real pirate ship is moored: the Neptune Galleon.

The construction of the Galleon

Let us begin by saying that his name is a historical inaccuracy. In fact, the one moored in the dock at Calvi Pier is not a Galleon but should be a Vessel.

These two types of ancient boats differed in the number of guns, the number of battery decks, the volume of the forecastle, the configuration of the spur (curvilinear), and in general the latter was larger in size than the former.

The galleons, on the other hand, were smaller and had fewer large-caliber guns, fewer battery decks, larger architectural volumes in the forecastle as well as straight spur.

The Neptune was built between April 1984 and March 1985 at the dockyard in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia. It was thus meant to be a fairly faithful reproduction of a late 17th-century Spanish vessel (it is actually structurally closer to a French-type vessel).

The Galleon is 63 meters long, 16.4 meters wide and has 3 square-sailed masts plus bowsprit with a sail area of 4500 square meters. It has a 400-hp auxiliary engine that enables it to easily reach a speed of 5 knots (just under 10 km per hour).

The vessel was shaped like a real ship, seaworthy and functional, with steel livework (what is below the waterline) and deadwork (what is above the waterline) and iroko wood masting.

The ship is then rich in wood carvings and the cannon hatches are carved in the inner parts with faces all different. The figurehead is adorned with a singular sculpture, and the interior is also cared for down to the smallest detail.

The Galleon has had some problems in recent years, with a fire occurring on board and the loss of parts of the bow. It was then fully restored in August this year and now stands again in its full glory.

The Galleon movie star

The vessel, as can be easily guessed from the date of its construction, was destined not for pirates to sail the seas but to become a movie set.

It was the filming location in 1986 for the movie Pirates by Roman Polanski, a second film appearance occurred in 2011, when the vessel was used to film some scenes for the TV miniseries Neverland – The True Story of Peter Pan where she was Captain Hook’s “Jolly Roger,” while the Galleon’s last on-screen appearance was in the Liguria Region’s new commercial for the seventy-third edition of the Sanremo Festival.

Some useful information

The Galleon is moored at Calvi Pier, between theAquarium and the Galata Museo del Mare. It is open to the public daily from 10 am to 7 pm. The tour has unlimited time, so you can enjoy it at leisure, and you can see its exterior parts (masts, rudder wheel, shipboard bells of which one is ringing, various sculptures and sea view) and interior parts (cannons, hatches, barrels, various ropes…). The cost is 6 euros per person.

Where to stay

Just under a kilometer from the city center and a hundred meters from Brignole train station, Urban Flora is the perfect place to visit Genoa and the Old Port.

With us you will experience a Scandinavian-modern look, where fresh and pleasant plants will make you enjoy as much relaxation as possible and for an unforgettable vacation. All rooms provide a private bathroom, smart TV and free Wi-Fi that will make you feel right at home. Book your room now or contact us to ask for more information.


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