A dream marina
When in 2002 Alessandro Menozzi chanced upon Porto Mirabello and was enthralled by the location, the project was languishing and in danger of becoming yet another unfinished work. Fintecna-IRI had first launched the project thirty years earlier, but owing to red tape, lack of funding and differences of opinion, the partners had deciding to sell up. The sale was finalised in 2006 and a group of entrepreneurs from the Emilia region took over I.T.N. Industrie Turistiche Nautiche, the company set up in 1971 specifically for construction of the port. Alessandro Menozzi, heading the operation, became the majority shareholder and chairman, giving sufficient momentum to the project to bring it to completion in 2010. The project, which saw a 130 million euro investment by I.T.N., was a technically complex undertaking that involved juggling the various requirements imposed by the Port Master Plan and the La Spezia Port Authority’s Three-Year Operational Plan (reorganisation of public land, redevelopment of the La Spezia waterfront, rationalisation of wharfs and terminals, etc.). The Port Authority acknowledged the economic investment for seabed reclamation made by I.T.N. and granted it a sixty-year concession for the maritime property of more than 200,000 square metres located in the Molo Mirabello area of La Spezia, «consisting of the connecting road between the city’s streets and the main island; the main island itself alongside Molo Mirabello; the main pier; the secondary pier; the Lagora pier and the secondary island; the internal pile-supported piers; and the stretch of water». Just two years after it was opened, the new marina has already established itself as one of the finest private ports in Europe.
One of its chief attractions is its location at the centre of a magnificent gulf that offers ideal conditions for sailing. Porto Mirabello can also boast unique green credentials in that it is the only Italian marina that does not occupy usable land, having been created entirely offshore on a purpose-built artificial island of around 40,000 square metres.
The project was conceived by Studio Zacutti with the goal of providing exclusive services to an elite clientele. These services include: large berthing piers with widths from 27 to 35 metres; 420 berths for boats longer than 12 metres, including 100 reserved for mega-yachts of length between 25 and 100 metres; 700 berths for boats up to 12 metres in length on the external side of the main jetty; 1,300 car parking spaces and 287 garages, including parking at the stern of the boats; electric cars for transportation between the piers; the state-of-the-art Mirabello Shipyard for repairs and maintenance; a 160 ton travel lift for hauling and launching (with a lifting capacity of up to 500 tons); a heliport on the main pier; two fuel stations; 24-hour security service; on-board catering service.
At the entrance to the island, linked to the city centre by a new pedestrian walkway extending at a height of 1.8 metres above sea level, stands a two-floor shopping gallery with a metal and glass vaulted roof and sixty high-end stores. Beyond the shopping gallery lies a square with a fountain along with several low buildings used for offices, restaurants, wine bars, a wellness spa area, a 25 metre open-air swimming pool and Club House, all set amongst greenery and palm trees. Great care was devoted to the choice of finishing materials, with a preference for traditional local materials and the use of a clearly coordinated colour scheme to avoid the dominance of certain elements over others.
Marble, wood and stone were used in coordination with 11,000 square metres of Piemme ceramic tiles (Ecowood porcelain tiles for the walkways, Piemmegres Natural for the floors in wet areas, Ardesia Multicolor for the shopping gallery walkways, Absolute and Mediterraneo for the store interiors), producing stunning aesthetic results.