Lighthouse of the Year

Faro di Genova ‘Lanterna’, Italy – 2024

The “Lanterna” is the world’s third oldest operational lighthouse. Rising 77m above its 40m high rock, it was for a long time the highest lighthouse in the world and remains the highest lighthouse in the Mediterranean Sea, and the second highest in Europe. By coincidence or design, there are precisely 365 steps to the top!

Built for the first time in 1128, the original tower Lanterna was partially destroyed during the Genoese, rebellion against France and then rebuilt in its current form in 1543. As with any lighthouse of this age, a wide variety of technologies have had their time and space within Lanterna – and the tower and its museum continue to tell that story. Whilst accommodating change, the lighthouse remains exceptionally well conserved with a well developed program of maintenance. It retains its rotating system with Fresnel lenses dating all the way back to 1840.

The tower dominates the skyline and its height combined with its longevity has made it a truly iconic feature of Genoa and its ancient port. For hundreds of years it has been the first site greeting visitors to the city.  Today, it is more than ever connected with the life and culture of the Genoa. A highly developed website offers all sorts of perspectives and a Virtual Tour of the lighthouse. The tower is lit up different colours to represent various celebrations or commemorations and a calendar is provided to show which colours represent which event – yet another way that this tower is so highly integrated into the wider culture of the city and beyond.

Adjacent to the tower and part of the same complex are elements of the city walls and defensive system which contain the “Museo della Lanterna’ This museum covers (amongst other things) the history of navigation and navigational aids in Genoa, and describing various signalling systems that have been used at sea. Part of a Fresnel lens, similar to that found in the lighthouse itself, is shown in such a manner as to display its inner workings.

An incredible history, great efforts in conservation, international significant, high local cultural value and innovation are what IALA HLY is all about. Lanterna has each an amble quantity!

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