Marina di Loano, devoted to excellence

Marina di Loano has developed thanks to the vision of the UnipolSai Group, which employed its extensive entrepreneurial expertise to create an efficient and cutting-edge marina. We talked about it with the CEO Gianluca Mazza

by Francesco Michienzi

GIANLUCA MAZZA IS THE CEO OF MARINA DI LOANO, a modern tourist marina, able to host 997 vessels from 6 to 77 metres long. The marina is undergoing constant development and is devoted to excellence in terms of the services it offers.

What role does Marina di Loano play within the context of Italian and international tourism? Marina di Loano is a very well-equipped marina on the Riviera di Ponente and certainly has a very high international standing. For the last few years, it has been ranked among the world’s top ten marinas in terms of its offering and service quality. It is a safe harbour thanks to its cleverly designed dams and breakwaters and can host a large number of maxi yachts seeking shelter, particularly during the winter period.

What are the marina’s strong points? The marina’s strong points are security in terms of boat protection, its extensive range of services, its mooring assistance and its central position concerning Sardinia, Tuscany and France.

When you took on the role of managing director at the facility, what mission were you given? I received the appointment in March 2020, just moments before the crisis started, and I found myself having to manage an unexpected situation. Once we had overcome the initial period, we worked hard to make the most of the structure, seeking to improve without resting on our laurels.

I’ve read that you consider Marina di Loano’s excellence to be a starting point and not a destination. Absolutely! Like in all businesses we have to keep giving ourselves bigger and bigger targets. This is certainly difficult because we are starting with a good competitive advantage and a facility that already ranks above its competitors and the offering from marinas.

The marina can host 997 vessels from 6 to 77 meters long. There are over 1,000 moorings in total. Services and reception are guaranteed 24/7. There are 35 moorings for large yachts and 899 car parking spaces. Total surface area 35.5 hectares, with 16 km2 of public green space. There are a maintenance and repair yard inside the marina.

The most interesting initiatives include the Leisure Harbor that you backed very strongly. Can you tell us more about it? The Leisure Harbor is a contest. It represented a first step forward in the search for ideas on how we could improve various areas. This project provided us with suggestions in terms of improving our buildings, our appearance, our various commercial and catering departments and the reuse of certain structures. We received 124 projects from 900 registered entrants in this international competition, and more than fifty countries took an interest in it.

Marina di Loano
Leisure Harbor
Leisure Harbor is the new planning solution able to show a potential new image of the Marina di Loano, albeit protecting and enhancing its strong points such as the raised promenade and the system of terraces overlooking the landscape. The Edificio C, in continuity with the commercial area, reactivates an architectural connection with the gangplank, which brings you to the buildings. Besides, the element of continuity, able to create union inside the whole area, is the metal mesh coating, which, together with the mirrored glass, allows a game of transparencies reflecting the buildings and the surrounding seascape. MDarchitetti won the first prize in the Young Architects Competitions.

What kind of investment will this operation involve for the Marina? It’s a bit premature to talk about it at the moment, but it will be significant to modernize a project that started twenty years ago and opened after ten. It will also involve regional marketing to attract tourists from outside the world of yachting, partly because we have a 16,000-m2 beach, which is quite unusual in Liguria. Furthermore, the 900-metre breakwater is an extension of the town. As well as keeping the Marina completely safe, it is also very popular with joggers and outdoor sports.

So it is possible to combine certain yacht owners’ need for privacy with a good relationship with the local area? Of course. The Marina also features an area devoted to social yachting with moorings for the residents of Loano. We also have to think about tourism, seeking to unite the town with the marina as much as possible.

The Marina is designed for modern vessels. It has numerous moorings for large yachts, but there is also plenty of space for RIBs and jet skis. The quays have been designed to meet all requirements.

All sorts of leisure options, both within the marina facility itself and on the Marina Beach, which occupies 16,000 m2 with a 200-meter seafront, divided into four spaces, each one devoted to a different requirement: from relaxation to families, sports, and dogs.

I think that the brand’s renewal could fit into this strategy of change and development. What new values do you want to convey? Marina di Loano’s restyling aims to boost its image as a unique facility considered one of the world’s finest marinas. We have therefore sought to give added personality to the logo by adding two distinctive elements: the pennant, which has always symbolised yachting, and the porthole that identifies one of the marina’s most recognisable architectural features. The union of these two elements conveys our desire for these two central aspects of our marina – the one linked to the harbor, but also the one increasingly integrated with the local area – to coexist and to promote them more and more. The modern graphics refer to a vision of the future built upon innovation and sustainability.

What type of market do you operate on and where do the yacht owners who moor with you come from? The maxi yacht owners come from all over Europe. The others come from Piedmont and Lombardy. We also have Swiss and German owners, attracted to the area by some of its facilities such as the two 9 and 18-hole golf courses in Garlenda, just 16 kilometers from the Marina. We have a diving centre and there are plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Do you still have any spaces available for superyachts at the moment? Yes, we still have spaces. We’re just over 80% full at the moment.

Are most of your moorings sold or rented? We initially sold moorings for thirty years, but now we prefer to rent them out.

The shipyard is run by Amico Loano and is the second yard, after the one in Genoa, owned by the Amico & Co Group. It is equipped with cutting-edge technology and offers all necessary technical assistance and maintenance services, guaranteeing as little environmental impact as possible.

Are there many turnovers among the boats? No, not a lot. We have a good number of long-standing clients and then obviously there’s a good chunk of transits, although last year affected this somewhat, due to the pandemic emergency.

So it is more of a winter base for crews, charter vessels and maintenance. Winter is a period that we will be focusing on more and more. Many maxi yachts moor with us because the town is nearby and offers all the services the crews require. Furthermore, we are working to execute them new services.

Can you tell me more about the results for 2020? The results for 2020 were very satisfactory, so much so that our turnover was up in 2019 and it was our first year with a positive result.

Può dirmi qualcosa di più sui risultati del 2020? I risultati del 2020 sono stati molto soddisfacenti, tanto che abbiamo migliorato il fatturato rispetto al 2019 con un primo bilancio con risultato positivo.

(Marina di Loano, devoted to excellence – – May 2021)