genova 770x162

Genoa, the “superb”

Francesco Petrarca used this adjective. Actually, in a travel journal of 1358, he described Genoa in Latin using these words “You will see a regal town, placed against a hill, proud for its men end walls whose features make it the lady of the sea".

The snap-shot of Petrarca is still current: from the sea the old town sounds a theatre set bordered with palaces and churches that look out on the sea. A “superb” show; among its landmarks Genoa features the biggest historical centre in Europe and the charm of the forty-two palaces called Rolli that have entered the World heritage of Unesco. The Rolli where, at the time of the Republic of Genoa, amazing lodging palaces belonging to eminent Genoese people that aimed at hosting, from a public lottery, the people in transit for visits of state.

In the historical district of the town the Old Harbour plays a very important role, it has been the core of the town for centuries and now this area – restored thanks to the direction of Renzo Piano in 1992 – combines history, technology and culture. Renzo Piano also designed the panoramic elevator called “Bigo”, it is the architectonical symbol of the Old Harbour, it was originally a shipyard crane mounted on cargo ships. From the top of “Bigo” you can see the whole waterfront where the Aquarium is located, it is the largest Aquarium in Italy and the first in Europe considering the species being hosted. Further emotions are assured by the sea museums of Genoa thanks to which Genoa is ranked among the best destinations related to the sea culture. A very famous event is the Boat Show that is usually held in October at the Genoa’s Trade Fair Centre that was inaugurated half a century ago after this show. Among the main landmarks the Doge’s Palace stands out: its construction started in 1298 during the flourishing period of the history of this town that set its economic power in the Mediterranean area and the new building the Palazzo Fieschi was included too; it was bought by the Republic of Genoa in 1294. The medieval building is partially still visible and the “Tower of People” too, it is called “la Grimaldina”.

Genoa is a destination that implies culture as a central theme including a number of routes that involve the Museums of the New Street (Musei di strada Nuova) that are protected by Unesco –, around twenty civic museums and among the ecclesiastic icons the Roman-Gothic cathedral that contains the Museum of the Treasure, a coffer of sacred objects among which the Sacred Basin. From the sacred to the profane the way is short and leads to the palace of St. Gorge, the seat of the first bank of Europe, famous for its impressive fresco of St. George on his horse who’s killing a mythical-legendary figure. The list of “top landmarks” is big and it deserves to be discovered and rediscovered more than once especially all around the historical centre’s area, the heart of the Mediterranean culture based on the sea, the deep smell of spices, the differences and similarities, the shade and the light of the narrow and tiny “carruggi” (alleyways) where the languages of the world are spoken, similar and different at the same time.


These routes also lead to the historical shops, to the everyday life from the present and from the past, bordered by the alleyways full of tiny shops rich of local handicraft products and bakeries that produce the warm “focaccia” and the grocery stores where coffee, the drink brought by Columbus when he discovered America in 1492, is still roasted. In Dante’s Square, beyond Porta Soprana, there is the reproduction of the house where Christopher Columbus lived.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

Web content manager
All Rights Reserved

Perhaps you can be interested in...:

▶ destination Italy
▶ Italy of art cities
▶ italian dream
▶ Italy of regions
▶ studying italian