The International Naval Museum of Western Liguria
Comune di Imperia: viale Matteotti, 157 - 18100 Imperia (IM)
Telefono: 0183 70 11
Fax: 0183 29 06 91
Il museo navale Il museo navale

Imperia has had a maritime tradition for more than a thousand years, dictated by the special relationship its citizens have with the sea. Industrialisation and the transformations of the 20th century did not change this relationship: no matter whether sailors, ship and yacht builders, fishermen or port workers, they are always in contact with the sea.

With the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013), the aim is to create a new museum pole to be positioned in the redefinition of a notable portion of the city’s waterfront, with new premises for living in, doing business in and new services, which will propose a high-level cultural and enjoyment offer.

A little bit of history

The “Museo Navale Internazionale del Ponente Ligure” (International Naval Museum of Western Liguria) was created by Commander Serafini who, over many years of passionate dedication, built a very important collection of historical pieces dedicated to the sea.

The complex of buildings that will host it cover the spaces in front of the pier of Calata Anselmi in Porto Maurizio. Built in subsequent phases from the start of the 1900s where a boatyard once stood, and using innovative construction techniques for the era, these buildings were a free port for more than a century. They mainly stored and moved olive oil, produced or worked locally, that was leaving by sea for the most distant business destinations.

Buildings that are full of history and fascination rooted in the industrial tradition of the city, the Calata Anselmi Docks gradually lost their original function, becoming considerably decayed even after the modifications and reworking that they underwent over the years.

The intervention

The project involves the functional completion and preparation of the recovered spaces on the ex Docks of Calata Anselmi, to where the existing International Naval Museum of Western Liguria will be transferred; the display spaces will be enlarged and the presented collections increased in size, with the inclusion of additional important finds, currently not available or not suitably developed.

The buildings of the ex Docks of Calata Anselmi in Porto Maurizio have been restored and rendered usable with a project that is articulated in two phases; the first was completed in July 2008 with the redesign of the spaces and the second involves removal of the existing silos and changing of the connected operations.

The route begins with the spectacular Dolia hall, which holds the reconstruction of the underwater archaeological site. Continuing to the floor above, there is a ring route that uses the longer sides of the rectangular building.

The first room tells of Imperia and its sailors in the Middle Ages up to the 1600s, with stories of famous and less famous local people who were leaders and statesmen (Andrea Doria) or pirates and merchants (Scarincio).

The next room takes the visitors sailing on every type of yacht up to the start of the 20th century, and will presents those wonderful sea machines; people will tell stories about famous people who existed and became myths over time.


The historical urban centre of Porto Maurizio covers the promontory on the sea in front of Oneglia, the industrial part of the city. Originally surrounded by defensive walls, the neighbourhood called Parasio, from the dialect word Paràxiu (which comes from the Latin word Palatium, an antique tower used as a fort and prison), a pedestrian precinct and with characteristic carùggi (alleys) that spiral upwards, hosts the Oratorio della Buona Morte (Oratory of a Good Death) and the Duomo of San Maurizio (Cathedral of San Maurizio).

Borgo Foce is also characteristic; it is an antique hamlet of fishermen that took its name from the mouth of the River Caramagna, around which the houses were built. With a small port for the typical Ligurian fishing boats, called gozzi, it is dedicated to the sailor Emanuele Aicardi who died in the Pireo on 25 January 1941.
Around Imperia, there are many towns and villages (Caramagna, Lucinasco, Dolcedo, Pontedassio, Borgomaro) where the culture and growth of olives have developed.


The city of Imperia is divided into two parts, Oneglia and Porto Maurizio, which brought back together during the fascist period.
Two Nobel Prize winners from the 20th century lived in Imperia: Giulio Natta who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1963 and Renato Dulbecco, who won the prize for medicine in 1975.

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