Genoa ( , ; in Genoese and Ligurian: Zena, ; in
Latin and, archaically, in English: Genua) is a city and an important seaport in
northern Italy, the capital
of the Province of Genoa and of
the region of Liguria.
The city has a population of about
610,000 and the urban area has a population of about 900,000. It is
also called la Superba
("the Superb one") due to its
glorious past. Part of the old city of Genoa was inscribed on the
World Heritage List (UNESCO) in 2006 (see below). The city's rich
, made it 2004's EU Capital of culture
Genoa is a
maritime town, and is ranked 5th in Italy for economic strength,
after Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples, and is a
major industrial city in northern
Italy, being part of the nation's famous "industrial
Major Italian companies and businesses, such
as Ansaldo Energia
, Ansaldo STS
and Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone
based in the city. Also, the city's Bank of Saint George
is one of the
oldest in the world, founded in 1407.
was a city of the ancient Ligurians
. Its name may derive from the Latin
word meaning "knee" (genu; plural, genua), i.e.
from its geographical position, thus akin to the name of Geneva.
it could derive from the Celtic root genu-, genawa (pl. genowe),
meaning "mouth", i.e., estuary, or from the Latin word of Celtic
origin "ianua", meaning "door".
The flag of Genoa is a St. George's
flag, a red cross on a lime white field, identical to the
Flag of England
, which also
incorporates the St. George's Cross.
Ancient era and early Middle Ages
Ancient map of Genoa.
Genoa's history goes back to ancient times. The first historically
known inhabitants of the area are the Ligures
. The attribution of its foundation to
in 2500–2000 BC has been recently
recognized as wrong.
cemetery, dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC, testifies to
the occupation of the site by the Greeks, but
the fine harbor probably was in use much earlier, perhaps by the
Etruscans. It is also probable that the Phoenicians had bases in Genoa, or in the nearby area, since an
inscription with an alphabet similar to that used in Tyre has been found .
Roman era, Genoa was overshadowed by
the powerful Marseille and Vada
Sabatia, near modern Savona.
Different from other Ligures and Celt settlements of the area, it
was allied to Rome through a foedus aequum
in the course of the Second Punic
. It was therefore destroyed by the Carthaginians in 209 BC.
The town was rebuilt and, after
the end of the Carthaginian Wars, received municipal rights. The
thenceforth expanded towards the current
areas of Santa Maria di Castello and the San Lorenzo promontory.
Genoese trades included skins, wood, and honey. Goods were shipped in
the mainland up to important cities like Tortona and Piacenza.
Medieval gates of Genoa is a rare
survival of the city's golden age and its best known
After the fall of the Western Roman
, Genoa was occupied by the Ostrogoths
. After the Gothic War
, the Byzantines made
it the seat of their vicar. When the Lombards
invaded Italy in 568, the Bishop of Milan
fled and held his seat in Genoa. Pope Gregory the Great was closely
connected to these bishops in exile, for example involving himself
the election of Deusdedit. The Lombards, under King Rothari,
finally captured Genoa and other Ligurian cities in about 643. In
773 the Lombard Kingdom was annexed by the Frank
empire; the first Carolingian count of Genoa
was Ademarus, who was given the title praefectus civitatis
. Ademarus died in Corsica while fighting against the
Saracens. In this period the Roman walls, destroyed by the
Lombards, were rebuilt and extended.
For the following several centuries, Genoa was little more than a
small, obscure fishing center, slowly building its merchant fleet
which was to become the leading commercial carrier of the
Mediterranean Sea. The town was sacked and burned in 934 by Arab
pirates but it was quickly rebuilt.
In the 10th century the city, now part of the Marca
("Genoese Mark") was under the Obertenghi family,
whose first member was Obertus I. Genoa was one of the first cities
in Italy to have some citizenship rights granted by local
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Via XX Settembre.
Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state
, one of a number of Italian city-states
during this period.
Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor
was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa
was president of the city; however, actual power was wielded by a
number of "consuls" annually elected by popular assembly.
one of the so-called "Maritime Republics" (Repubbliche Marinare), along with
Venice, Pisa, and
Amalfi) and trade, shipbuilding and banking helped support
one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean.
, and other smaller
merchant families all fought for power in this Republic
, as the power of the consuls allowed each
family faction to gain wealth and power in the city. The Republic of Genoa extended over modern
Liguria and Piedmont, Sardinia,
Corsica and had practically complete control of the
Sea. Through Genoese participation on the
Crusades, colonies were established in the
Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern
Genoese Crusaders brought home
a green glass goblet from the Levant
Genoese long regarded as the Holy
collapse of the Crusader States was
offset by Genoa’s alliance with the Byzantine Empire, which opened
opportunities of expansion into the Black Sea and Crimea.
Internal feuds between the powerful families, the Grimaldi
, the Doria
, and others caused much disruption, but in
general the republic was run much as a business affair.
1218–1220 Genoa was served by the Guelph podestà Rambertino Buvalelli, who probably
introduced Occitan literature to
the city, which was soon to boast such troubadours as Jacme
Grils, Lanfranc Cigala, and
Bonifaci Calvo. Genoa's political
zenith came with its victory over the Republic of Pisa at the naval Battle of
Meloria in 1284, and over its persistent rival, Venice, at
the naval Battle of Curzola in
However, this prosperity did not last. The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347
from the Genoese trading post at Caffa
(Theodosia) in Crimea, on the Black Sea.
economic and population collapse, Genoa adopted the Venetian model
of government, and was presided over by a doge
(see Doge of Genoa
). The wars with
Venice continued, and the War of
(1378–1381), ended with a victory for Venice. In 1390
Genoa initiated a crusade against the Barbary pirates with help of
the French and laid siege to Mahdia
period of French domination from 1394–1409, Genoa came under rule
by the Visconti of Milan.
lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to
internal revolt and its Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Asia
Minor colonies to the Turkish Ottoman
Christopher Columbus, a native of
Genoa, donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the
Americas for Spain to the
Bank of Saint George in Genoa
for the relief of taxation on foods.
The Spanish connection
was reinforced by Andrea Doria
established a new constitution in 1528, making Genoa a satellite of
the Spanish Empire. Under the ensuing economic recovery, many
aristocratic Genoese families, such as the Balbi, Doria, Grimaldi,
Pallavicini, and Serra, amassed tremendous fortunes. At the time of
Genoa’s peak in the 16th century, the city attracted many artists,
and Van Dyck
The famed architect Galeazzo Alessi
(1512–1572) designed many of the city’s splendid palazzi
, as did in the decades that followed by
fifty years Bartolomeo Bianco
(1590-1657), designer of centerpieces of University of Genoa
. A number of
Genoese Baroque and
settled elsewhere and a number of local artists
became prominent. The plague
as much as half of the inhabitants of Genoa in 1656–57.
In May 1684, as a punishment for Genoese support for Spain, the
city was subjected to a French naval bombardment, with some 13,000
cannonballs aimed at the city. It was occupied by Austria in 1746 during the War of the Austrian
In 1768, Genoa was forced to also cede
Corsica to France.
With the shift in world economy and trade routes to the New World
and away from the Mediterranean, Genoa's political and economic
power went into steady decline.In 1797, under pressure from
, Genoa became a French
protectorate called the Ligurian
, which was annexed by France in 1805. This affair is
commemorated in the famous first sentence of Tolstoy
's War and
"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family
estates of the Buonapartes.(...) And what do you think of this
latest comedy, the coronation at Milan, the comedy of the people of
Genoa and Lucca laying their petitions [to be annexed to France]
before Monsieur Buonaparte, and Monsieur Buonaparte sitting on a
throne and granting the petitions of the nations?"
(spoken by a thoroughly anti-Boanapartist
Russian aristocrat, soon after the news reached Saint
Although the Genoese revolted against France in 1814 and liberated
the city on their own, delegates at the Congress of Vienna
incorporation into Piedmont
(Kingdom of Sardinia
ending the three century old struggle by the House of Savoy
to acquire the city.
The city soon gained a reputation as a hotbed of anti-Savoy
republican agitation (having his climax in 1849 with the Sack of Genoa
), although the union with Savoy
was economically very beneficial. With the growth of the Risorgimento movement, the Genoese turned their
struggles from Giuseppe Mazzini's
vision of a local republic into a struggle for a unified Italy under a
liberalized Savoy monarchy.
In 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi
set out from Genoa
with over a thousand
volunteers to begin the campaign. Today a monument is set on the
rock where the group departed from.
During World War II
the British fleet
bombarded Genoa and one shell
fell into the cathedral of San Lorenzo without exploding. It is now
available to public viewing on the cathedral premises. The city was
liberated by the partisans
a few days before the
arrival of the Allies.
The 27th G8 summit
in the city, in
July 2001, was overshadowed by violent protests, with one
protester, Carlo Giuliani
amid accusations of police brutality. In 2007 15 officials, who
included police, prison officials and two doctors, were found
guilty by an Italian court of mistreating protesters. A judge
handed down prison sentences ranging from five months to five
2004, the European Union designated
Genoa as the European
Capital of Culture, along with the French city of Lille.
of Genoa covers an area of 243 square kilometres (151 sq miles)
between the Ligurian
Sea and the Apennine Mountains.
A satellite picture of Genoa.
The city develops on the coast for about 30
kilometres (18 miles) from the neighbourhood of Voltri to Nervi,
and for 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the coast to the north along
the valleys Polcevera and Bisagno. The territory of Genoa can then
be popularly divided into 5 main zones: the centre, the west, the
east, the Polcevera and the Bisagno Valley.
Genoa has a Mediterranean
, maritime temperate, with atlantic influences.
Winter is mild, with an average temperature of 8.0°C in January,
and summer is warm with an average temperature of 24.0°C in August.
The daily temperature range is limited, with an average range of
6°C between high and low temperatures. The driest month is July,
while the wettest months are October and November. Snow generally
falls once a year.
Genoa is also a windy city, especially during winter when northern winds
often bring cool air from central
and northern Europe (usually accompanied by lower temperatures,
high pressure and clear skies). Another typical wind blows from
, mostly as a consequence of
atlantic disturbances and storms, bringing humid and warmer air
from the sea.
features of central Genoa include Piazza De
Ferrari, around which are sited the Opera and the Palace of
There is also a house where Christopher Columbus
is said to have
Nuova (now Via Garibaldi), in the old city, was inscribed
on the World Heritage List in
2006. This district was designed in the mid-16th
century to accommodate Mannerist palaces of the city's most eminent
families, including Palazzo Rosso (now a museum), Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Grimaldi and Palazzo Reale.
famous art college, Musei di Strada Nuova and the Palazzo del
Principe are also located on this street.
landmarks of the city include St. Lawrence Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo), the Old Harbour (Porto
Antico), transformed into a mall by architect Renzo Piano, and the famous cemetery of
Staglieno, renowned for its monuments and statues.
Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art
has one of the largest
collections of Oriental art in Europe.
also has a large aquarium located in the above-mentioned old harbour.
of Genoa also contains an ancient lighthouse, called the "Torre della
Lanterna" (i.e., "the tower of the lantern").
Genoa has 82,000 square metres of public parks in the city centre,
such as Villetta Di Negro which is right in the heart of the town,
overlooking the historical centre. Many bigger green spaces are situated
outside the centre: in the east are the Parks of Nervi (96,000 sq
m.) overlooking the sea, in the west the beautiful gardens of
Villa Durazzo Pallavicini
(265,000 sq m.). The numerous villas and palaces of the city
also have their own gardens, like Palazzo del Principe, Villa
Bianco and Palazzo Tursi, Palazzo Nicolosio Lomellino,
Albertis Castle, Villa Croce, Villa Imperiale Cattaneo, Villa
Bombrini, and many more.
Corso Italia runs for 2.5 kilometres in the quartiere
the two other neighbourhood of Foce and Boccadasse
. The promenade, which was originally built in
1908, overlooks the sea, towards the promontory of Portofino, and the main landmarks are the small lighthouse of
Punta Vagno, the San Giuliano Abbey, the Lido of
The Porto Antico ("old harbour" in Italian) is the ancient part of
the port of Genoa. The Genoese architect Renzo Piano
redeveloped the area, restoring the
historical buildings (like the Cotton warehouses) and creating new
landmarks like the Aquarium, the Bigo and recently the "Bolla" (the
Sphere). The main touristic attractions of this area are the famous
Aquarium and the Museum of the Sea (MuMA). In 2007 these
attractions had almost 1.7 million visitors.
In 2007, there were 610,887 people residing in Genoa, located in
the province of Genoa, Liguria
, of whom 47%
were male and 53% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and
younger) totalled 14.12 percent of the population compared to
pensioners who number 26.67 percent. This compares with the Italian
average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners).
The average age of Genoa residents is 47 compared to the Italian
average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the
population of Genoa grew by 1 percent, while Italy as a whole
grew by 3.85 percent.
The current birth rate of Genoa is
7.49 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average
of 9.45 births. Genoa has the lowest birth rate and is the most
aged of any large Italian city.
As of 2006, 94.23% of the population was Italian
. The largest immigrant group is from the
Americas (mostly Ecuador): 2.76%, other European
nations (mostly Albania, and Romania): 1.37%, and North
The city is predominantly Roman Catholic
, with small Protestant
The Municipal Council of Genoa is led by a left-wing majority,
elected in May 2007. The mayor is Marta
, member of the Democratic Party
The city of Genoa is subdivided into 9 Municipi (administrative
districts), as approved by the Municipal Council in 2007.
The 9 districts of Genoa.
||Population (% of total)
||Pré, Molo, Maddalena, Oregina, Lagaccio, San Nicola,
Castelletto, Manin, San Vincenzo, Carignano
||Sampierdarena, Campasso, San Teodoro, San Bartolomeo
|Bassa Val Bisagno
||San Fruttuoso, Marassi, Quezzi
|Media Val Bisagno
||Staglieno, Sant'Eusebio, San Gottardo, Molassana, Struppa
||Borzoli, Certosa, Rivarolo, Teglia, Begato, Bolzaneto, Morego,
San Quirico, Pontedecimo
||Sestri, Cornigliano, Campi
||Crevari, Voltri, Palmaro, Prà, Pegli, Multedo
||Foce, Brignole, Albaro, San Martino, San Giuliano, Lido,
||Sturla, Quarto, Quinto, Nervi, Bavari, San Desiderio,
Port of Genoa, with a trade volume of
58.6 million tonnes it is the first port of Italy, the second
in terms of twenty-foot
equivalent units after the port of transshipment of Gioia Tauro, with a trade volume of 1.86 million TEUs.
A view of the commercial port of
Several cruise and ferry lines serve the passenger terminals in the
old port, with a traffic of 3.2 million passengers in 2007.
MSC Cruises chose Genoa as one of its main home
ports, in competition with the genoese company Costa Cruises, which moved its home port to
quays of the passenger terminals extend over an area of 250
thousand square metres, with 5 equipped berths for cruise vessels
and 13 for ferries, for an annual capacity of 4 million ferry
passengers, 1.5 million cars and 250,000 trucks. The historical
maritime station of Ponte dei Mille is today a technologically
advanced cruise terminal, with facilities designed after the
world's most modern airports, to ensure fast embarking and
disembarking of latest generation ships carrying thousand
passengers. A third ruise terminal is currently under construction
in the redesigned area of Ponte Parodi, once a quay used for grain
of Genoa is located just few kilometres west of the city
It connects Genoa with several daily flights to
Rome, Naples, Paris, London, Madrid and Munich. In the last years
the passenger traffic has grown to 1.2 million passengers a year,
with an increase of international destinations and charter
Railway and rapid transit
railway stations are Genoa Brignole Station and Genoa
Principe Station, the first situated in the east side of the city
centre, close to the business districts and the exhibition centre,
while the second is in the west side, close to the port, the
university and the historical centre. From these two
stations depart the main trains connecting Genoa to France, Turin,
Milan and Rome.
Genoa Brignole railway station.
Another station of secondary importance is Genoa Sampierdarena,
which serves the densely populated neighbourhood of
Sampierdarena.21 more local stations serve the other
neighbourhoods, on the 30 kilometres long coast line from Nervi to Voltri,
and on the northern line through Bolzaneto and the Polcevera Valley.
The municipal administration of Genoa is projecting to transform
these urban railway lines to be part of the rapid transit system,
which now consists of a light metro
which connects Brin to the city centre (Metropolitana di Genova
The metro line is currently being extended to Brignole Station,
with the opening of two new stations, Corvetto and Brignole, and
this is expected to be completed in 2011. A possible further
extension towards the eastern densely populated boroughs was
planned, but the municipal administration is keen to improve the
public transport investing in new tram
instead of completing the extension of the light metro. The actual
stations of the metro line are Brin-Certosa, Dinegro, Principe,
Darsena, San Giorgio, Sant'Agostino and De Ferrari, with a length
of the line of just 5.3 km (3.3 mi).
The first organized forms of higher education in Genoa date back to
the 13th century when private colleges were entitled to award
degrees in Medicine, Philosophy, Theology, Law, Arts.Today the
University of Genoa
, founded in
the 15th century, is one of the largest in Italy, with 11
faculties, 51 departments and 14 libraries. In 2007-2008 the
University had 41,000 students and 6,540 graduates.
Genoa is also home to other colleges and academies:
The Italian Institute of
was established in 2003 jointly by the Italian
Ministry of Education, Universities and Research
of Economy and Finance
, to promote excellence in basic and
applied research. The main fields of research of the Institute are
, Drug discovery
. The central research
labs and headquarters are located in Morego, in the neighbourhood
International University (FIU), based in Miami, Florida, United
States also has a small campus in Genoa, with the University of Genoa, which offers
classes within the FIU School of Architecture.
The Aquarium of Genoa
Genoa (in Italian:
Acquario di Genova) is the largest aquarium in Italy and the
second largest in Europe.
Genoa Expo '92
, the Aquarium of Genoa
is an educational, scientific and cultural centre. Its mission is
to educate and raise public awareness as regards conservation,
management and responsible use of aquatic environments. It welcomes
over 1.2 million visitors a year.The Aquarium of Genoa is
co-ordinating the AquaRing EU project. It also provides scientific
expertise and a great deal of content for AquaRing, including
documents, images, academic content and interactive online courses,
via its Online Resource Centre.
There are 2 football teams in Genoa: Genoa
Cricket and Football Club
and U.C. Sampdoria
Genoa Cricket and Football Club
oldest football club
in Italy. The
football section of the club was founded in 1893 by James Richardson Spensley
English doctor, and has won 9 championships
(between 1898 and 1924) and 1 Italy Cup
(season 1936/1937). U.C. Sampdoria
was founded in 1946 from the merger
of two existing clubs, Andrea Doria (founded in 1895) and
Sampierdarenese (founded in 1911). Sampdoria has won one Italian
championship (Serie A - Season
), 4 Italy Cups, 1 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
in 1989/90 and 1
Italian Super Cup
. Both Genoa
C.F.C. and U.C. Sampdoria play their home games in the
Ferraris Stadium, which holds 36,536 spectators.
Genoese include Sinibaldo and Ottobuono Fieschi (Popes Innocent IV and Adrian
V) and Pope Benedict XV, navigators
Christopher Columbus, Enrico
Alberto d'Albertis, Enrico de
Candia (Henry, Count of Malta)
and Andrea Doria, composers Niccolò Paganini and Michele Novaro, Italian patriots Giuseppe Mazzini, Goffredo Mameli and Nino Bixio, writer and translator Fernanda Pivano, poet Edoardo Sanguineti, Communist politician
Palmiro Togliatti, architect
Renzo Piano, Physics 2002 Nobel Prize
winner Riccardo Giacconi,
Literature 1975 Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale, the court painter Giovanni Maria delle Piane (Il
Mulinaretto) from the Delle Piane
family, the artist Vanessa
Beecroft, comedians Gilberto Govi,
Paolo Villaggio, Beppe Grillo, Luca
Bizzarri, Paolo Kessisoglu and
Maurizio Crozza; singer-songwriters Fabrizio de André and Ivano Fossati, actor Vittorio Gassman, and actress Moana Pozzi, Giorgio Parodi who conceived the
motorcycle company Moto Guzzi with Carlo
Guzzi and Giovanni Ravelli. Some reports say the navigator &
explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) is
also from Genoa, others say he was from Savona.
from Genoa include
, and Paula Frassinetti
, 80's singer, songwriter
and actress Sabrina Salerno
Via XX Settembre is the main shopping street and runs between
Piazza de Ferrari and Piazza della Vittoria. Mercato Orientale
(Eastern Market) is an indoor food and produce market located on
Via XX Settembre. Centro Storico (Historic Center) is the old city
center with narrow, winding allies and many churches, mansions,
shops, restaurants and bars.
Popular foods local to Genoa include pesto
), and salsa di noci
Twin towns — Sister cities
Genoa is twinned
- Gino Benvenuti. Le repubbliche marinare. Amalfi,
Pisa, Genova e Venezia. Netwon Compton, Rome, 1989.
- Steven A. Epstein; Genoa & the Genoese, 958-1528
University of North
Carolina Press, 1996; online edition
- Steven A. Epstein; "Labour and Port Life in Medieval Genoa."
Mediterranean Historical Review 3 (1988): 114-40.
- Steven A. Epstein; "Business Cycles and the Sense of Time in
Medieval Genoa." Business History Review 62 ( 1988): 238-60.
- Face Richard. "Secular History in Twelfth-Century Italy:
Caffaro of Genoa." Journal of Medieval History
6 (1980): 169-84.
- Hughes Diane Owen. "Kinsmen and Neighbors in Medieval Genoa."
In The Medieval City, edited by Harry A. Miskimin, David
Herlihy, and Adam L. Udovitch, pp. 3–28. 1977.
- Hughes Diane Owen. "Urban Growth and Family Structure in
Medieval Genoa." Past and Present 66 (1975): 3-28.
- Lopez Robert S. "Genoa." In Dictionary of the Middle
Ages, pp. 383–87. 1982.
- Vitale Vito. Breviario della storia di Genova. Vols.
1-2. Genoa, 1955.
- Giuseppe Felloni - Guido Laura "Genova e la storia della
finanza: una serie di primati ?" "Genoa and the history of
finance: a series of firsts ?" 9 November 2004, ISBN
- Paul the Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, II.25
- Gregory I, Registrum Epistolarum, MGH Ep. 2, XI.14, p. 274
- Paul the Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, IV.45
- Early modern Italy (16th to 18th centuries) » The
17th-century crisis Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Genoa 1684, World History at KMLA.
- BBC 15 July 2008 "Italy officials convicted over
- Fonte: Il Secolo XIX, 17 ottobre 2008, pag.
- Genoa Port Authority
traffic statistics from Assaeroporti
- Facts and figures, University of
- The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) on
the Internet Archive
Staglieno: A monumental cemetery