Genoa, pirates and the galleon of Polanski ;)

Galleon Neptune is one of the most particular touristic attraction of Genoa.  It is something that you don’t expect to find in this town.  The ship is located next to the Aquarium, that I’ve described here. If you come to Genoa especially with children you should absolutely visit it.


This is a full scale, ship replica of a 17-the Spanish galleon. It was constructed in 1985 for the film “Pirates” directed by Roman Polanski. It is a real ship that is able to cruise across the sea. It was built in Tunisia and after shooting, it was moved to a promotional tour in Cannes in France, and then moved to Genoa in Liguria.

General characteristics

Tonnage: 1500 tons

Length: 65 m

Beam: 16.40 m

Draft: 2.2 m

Speed: 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph)


It was a story about adventures of English pirates that sailed across the ocean on their galleon named Neptune. The main character was a pirate named Thomas Bartholomew Red. It was a French-English-Turkish production. The movie was presented at the Festival of Cannes in 1986. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best film directed by Roman Polanski. The reported gross box office revenues in the United States was only about $1.64 million and $6.3 million worldwide. “Pirates” received a mostly negative to mixed critical reception.Despite the film’s financial failure, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.


  • At the beginning, the film’s estimated budget was $15 million, but the final budget is estimated to have been US$40 million (!).
  • Polanski wanted for Jack Nicholson to play the role of pirate Captain Red. But after some attempts of negotiation, Polanski changed his idea because of the enormous fees Nicholson was demanding. According to Polanski, when Nicholson was asked what amount exactly he wanted, he answered, “I want more.”(!)


Address: Porto antico, Molo Ponte Calvi

Entrance: 6€; 4€ children (4-12); under 4 – free of charge

Opening hours: 10.00 am- 5.00 pm

You can pay only in cash.

General opinion

The galleon is very majestic and impressive when you see it from the harbour. However, when you climb on its board it is a little bit bare and desolated. Unfortunately, the majority of its cabins are closed to the public and general conditions of the ship are not perfect… However, when you come with children, they become crazy here. For them is a real pirates vessel and they can play here in a fantastic way. For an adult, if he/she is not lovers of vessels or the movies of Polanski, seeing it from outside can be enough 🙂


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