Genova, Province of Genova, Liguria

The capital of its province and of the Liguria region, the city is an important seaport in northern Italy.

It is the first Italian commercial port, with also two passenger docks, Ponte dei Mille and Ponte Andrea Doria, and the second port in the Mediterranean after Marseille, France. Its name is probably Ligurian, meaning "knee", i.e. "angle", from its geographical position. Alternatively, the name has been claimed to derive from Latin Janua ("gate"), the two-headed god Janus.

Genoa was the birthplace of Christopher Columbus (although his birthplace is disputed between Italy and France), admiral Andrea Doria, violinist Niccolò Paganini and Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini.


  • Area: 243 km²
  • Altitude: 19 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 600,000 inhabitants
  • Population Density: 2.512 inhabitants per km²
  • Zip/postal code: 16100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 010
  • Patron Saint: St. Giovanni Battista, celebrated on 24 June
  • Official website: Comune di Genova.

Administrative divisions

The metropolitan city of Genova is divided into nine "municipi".
Municipii of Genoa
  • Municipio I - Centro Est: Carignano, Castelletto, Lagaccio, Maddalena, Manin, Molo, Oregina, Prè, San Nicola, San Vincenzo
  • Municipio II - Centro Ovest: Angeli, Belvedere, Campasso, Sampierdarena, San Bartolomeo, San Gaetano, San Teodoro
  • Municipio III - Bassa Val Bisagno: Fereggiano, Forte Quezzi (Biscione), Marassi, Quezzi, San Fruttuoso, Sant'Agata
  • Municipio IV - Media Val Bisagno: Doria (Struppa), Molassana, Montesignano, Parenzo (Staglieno), Prato (Struppa), San Pantaleo (Staglieno), Sant'Eusebio
  • Municipio V - Valpolcevera: Begato, Bolzaneto, Borzoli Est, Certosa, Morego, Pontedecimo, Rivarolo, San Quirico, Teglia
  • Municipio VI - Medio Ponente: Borzoli Ovest, Calcinara, Campi, Cornigliano, San Giovanni Battista, Sestri
  • Municipio VII - Ponente: Ca' Nuova, Castelluccio, Crevari, Multedo, Palmaro, Pegli, Prà, Voltri
  • Municipio VIII - Medio Levante: Albaro, Brignole, Chiappeto, Foce, Lido, Puggia, San Giuliano, San Martino
  • Municipio IX - Levante: Apparizione, Bavari, Borgoratti, Castagna, Nervi, Quartara, Quarto, Quinto, San Desiderio, Sturla

History - Antiquity

"Genua" was a city of the ancient Ligurians, and its history goes back to ancient times. A city cemetery, dating from the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., testifies to the occupation of the site by the Greeks, but the fine harbour probably was in use much earlier. Destroyed by the Carthaginians in 209 BC, the town was rebuilt by the Romans, who used it as a base during their wars with Liguria. Under the Romans, the city enjoyed municipal rights and exported skins, wood, and honey. Faithful to Rome while other Ligurian and Celtic peoples of modern Northern Italy stood by Carthaginians in the Second Punic War, Genoa lost its importance as a Roman port city after the rise of Vada Sabatia, near Savona.

History - the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, Genoa was an independent and powerful republic (one of the so-called Repubbliche Marinare, with Venice, Pisa, and Amalfi). Genoa was the most persistent rival of Venice, and like Venice its nominal republic was presided over by a doge (see Doges of Genoa). Genoa fought a series of wars with Venice starting in 1253, the last of which, the War of Chioggia (1378-81), Venice barely survived. The Siege of Chioggia marked the first strategic use of artillery in Italy, and perhaps, Europe.

Crusaders from Genoa brought home a green glass goblet long regarded in Genoa as the Holy Grail itself and thought to be emerald. The Republic of Genoa extended over modern Liguria and Piedmont. At various times Genoa had several colonies in the Mideast, in the Aegean and the Black Sea, whence the Black Death was imported into Europe from the Genoese trading post at Kaffa (Feodosiya) in the Crimea, in Sicily and Northern Africa. It also had for a time the island of Sardinia. and disputed Corsica with Corsicans and France until 1768. Famous Genoese families such as the Dorias had practically complete control of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

History - Modern Times

The Republic became part of the French Empire until 1815, when the delegates at the Congress of Vienna sanctioned its incorporation into Piedmont (Kingdom of Sardinia). In 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi set out from near Genoa (actually Quarto) with a thousand volunteers to unify Italy, which was at the time split in several kingdoms.

What to see

    The Lanterna
  • The Lanterna, the old lighthouse, is almost a symbol of Genoa, and is visible from everywhere in the city.
  • The Parco Urbano delle Mura, the green lung of the city, interspersed with ancient monuments, restoing areas, playgrounds and track and field paths.
  • San Matteo, built in 1125, with a very peculiar facade in black and white bands, with a byzanthine mosaic over the portal, hosts the tomb of admiral Andrea Doria.
  • SS. Annunziata, with a majestic neoclassical facade and precious baroque interior.
  • Santa Maria Assunta on the Carignano hill, with its typical twin belltowers, and huge greek-cross interior.
  • Cathedral of San LorenzoThe Cathedral of San Lorenzo, hosting the marvelous Museo del Tesoro di San Lorenzo, a rich collection of items from all ages and places.
  • The Palazzo Doria, the ancient mansion of the rich Doria family, now the seat of the Province offices
  • The Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the Doge at the time of the Mariner Republic
  • The Palazzo Bianco, along Via Garibaldi one of most beautiful streets in Italy, hosting an important Art Gallery
  • The Palazzo Rosso, always along the Via Garibaldi, richly decorated in frescoes and valuable items, the seat of a Gallery of art works belonging to the ancient Genoese families Brignole and Durazzo.
  • The Museo Navale, hosting ancient sea vessels, and historical ships.
  • The House of Cristoforo Colombo, hosting a collection of ancient items and documents.
  • The Aquarium of Genoa, the most important and largest in Europe.
  • The Cemetery of Staglieno, a true open-air museum with statues and chapels in different styles, gothic, byzanthine, egyptian, Liberty, mesopotamic, neo-classical, designed in 1835 and inaugurated in 1851, now comprising over 18,000 square meters. It includes also an English cemetery (with the tomb of Oscar Wilde's wife, Mary Constance Lloyd), a protestant and a Jewish cemetery. Many famous Italians are buried here, among them Giuseppe Mazzini, Gilberto Govi and Rina Gaioni Govi, Nino Bixio, Fabrizio De Andrè, Stefano Canzio, Ferruccio Parri. The cemetery is a favorite destination for artists and men of culture for its beauty - as Ernest Hemingway said, "one of the world's marvels", and also Mark Twain described the place with admiring words in "The Innocents Abroad" (pub. 1867).
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Provinces of Liguria
Liguria region
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