Special Exposition

15/05/1954 - 15/10/1954


Official Designation
International Exhibition of Navigation

Area (ha)



The Italian city of Naples hosted the International Exhibition of Navigation, which was opened by Prime Minister Mario Scelba on 15 May 1954. Recognised by the General Assembly of the BIE on 15 May 1953 with the theme of Navigation, the purpose of the Expo was to showcase the maritime industry at a time when shipping routes were multiplying across the world.

A total of 25 countries participated in the Expo, which took place in the Mostra d’Oltremare, a permanent exhibition centre located in Campi Flegrei.

The Expo

The exhibits of the Expo varied, with the overall theme including global navigation technology, instruments and devices, sea transport, seafood, fishing, and sport.

Given the importance of fishing and seafood to Southern Italy, it was no surprise that the fishing section featured some of the most notable exhibits. The section demonstrated innovative fishing equipment and new systems to store, distribute and display seafood. These exhibits were of interest to both the public and industry professionals, who had the opportunity to learn about new methods.

The organisers of the Expo were careful to ensure that visitors saw more than just ‘models’ of navigation. As such, the displays included a real boat as well as a lighthouse that provided visitors with a light show every evening.

Two significant conferences were held during the Expo. The International Congress on Marine Technology and Navigation took place between 26 September and 1 October, gathering representatives from the Italian Navy, the National College of Sea Captains, the Italian Navy Academy and manufacturers of shipping instruments. The Congress allowed discussions on how maritime navigation equipment could be improved, with a notable focus on radar. Between 3 and 10 October, the International Ethnography Conference was held, which included presentations on the importance of the sea in folk culture in different countries.

The Site Today

The Expo site - the Mostra d’Oltremare – initially opened in 1940 and continues to serve as an exhibition centre. The complex was expanded for the Expo, with some of the additions – including the Mediterranean Theatre, the Palace of Congresses, and the park zone – still standing today. The site also has a health and fitness complex, and a swimming pool that hosts national and international sport competitions.