The Palermo Cruise Terminal was inaugurated today, on the Vittorio Veneto pier, built on the skeleton of the ancient maritime station, dated 1950 and signed by the architect Salvatore Caronia Roberti. Double cutting of the ribbon, first with the mayor Orlando then with the governor musumeci, who arrived a few minutes later. It is the result of a complete re-functionalization which has kept its external appearance substantially unchanged but has radically intervened on the reconfiguration of the interior spaces, in terms of consistency, functions, architecture, connections.
The structure and the supporting works have a total cost of 40 million euros. Present at the ceremony Pasqualino Monti, president of the Port Authority of the Western Sicily Sea, Nello Musumeci, president of the Sicilian Region, Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo, Rodolfo Giampieri, president of Assoporti, Francesca Isgrò, president of West Sicily Gate, Giovanni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises, Mario Zanetti, general manager of Costa Cruises. In connection, Enrico Giovannini, Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility, while Mara Carfagna, Minister for the South and Cohesion, sent a video message.
“We are committed to giving the port a new soul, linked to the ancient heart of the city, its history, its culture”, explained Monti. “It is a source of pride for me – he continues – to return his cruise to the city. terminal, indispensable for grasping the many requests coming from outside and to respond in a new way to the current needs of the market. The intervention served to increase the development and use of the structure which plays a strategic role for mobility, tourism, the economy of the urban and Sicilian reality. What’s more: it represents the first interface between the city of Palermo and cruise tourism “.
In 2017 the new governance, chaired by Pasqualino Monti, had inherited a maritime station in a state of neglect: a dilapidated, seized structure on a quay in turn seized in 2015 by the Palermo Public Prosecutor for stability problems, and with a dispute in act with the company that was carrying out the work. From this starting condition, a mammoth and complex redevelopment began, carried out in the midst of a thousand difficulties, not least those resulting from the pandemic. The dispute was resolved and the construction site reopened at the end of 2018, the quay was made safe and released and the terminal completely rebuilt.
The first renovation project of the entire building dates back to 2009 but was subsequently adapted to supervening regulatory and plant requirements, and also made larger and more functional. The interior has been totally demolished and rebuilt. The project is part of the wider redesign of the waterfront, in a desirable and increasingly modern and mature relationship between the city and its port, capable of making the cruise terminal not only more efficient but liveable and pleasant for citizens as well. The objective is clear: to raise the functionality of the cruise terminal to a level of contemporary standard, through the redefinition of spaces, the implementation and reorganization of structures and services (acceptance, waiting, control and technology), integration and replacement of technological systems.
The use of steel and glass make it a contemporary-looking structure without forgetting the space dedicated to greenery, now an essential “sign” of the port. Particular attention was paid to environmental microclimatic control and highly sustainable energy saving. On the top floor there is a bar (another is on the ground floor), and a large restaurant, with a sinuous shape, rests on the roof and, thanks to the conformation of the volumes of the maritime station, does not disturb the skyline from the city front.
In addition to the quay, the whole area around has also been completely redesigned, assigning a precise location to the various services useful to those who disembark. Monti resumes: “We did not look for a beautiful building located in the center of the port but we built a network of essential infrastructures around it: we dredged the seabed, sailed the south pier, inserted the dolphin at Vittorio Veneto, finally eliminated the basins from 19 and 50 thousand Tpl which made the maneuvers of the giants of the sea difficult. We have rebuilt the Sammuzzo, a quay of about 500 meters on which not even a fishing boat could dock and which today is a safe landing place for large cruise ships, and a green space with an equipped hydrofoil terminal at the head: the public service for smaller islands it is essential that it takes place in a qualified context. On the Trapezoidal, we have undertaken an incredible demolition of almost 20 thousand square meters of ugliness and atrocities. We remained faithful to our motto “demolish to rebuild”, because the market, or our beacon for increasing volumes, passenger traffic, wealth, needed the works to be completed quickly and with respect for deadlines “.