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—  Comune  —
Comune di Genova
A collage of Genoa

Coat of arms
Genoa is located in Italy
Location of Genoa in Italy
Coordinates: 44°24′40″N 8°55′58″E / 44.41111°N 8.93278°E / 44.41111; 8.93278Coordinates: 44°24′40″N 8°55′58″E / 44.41111°N 8.93278°E / 44.41111; 8.93278
Country Italy
Region Liguria
Province Genoa (GE)
 - Mayor Marta Vincenzi (Democratic Party)
 - Total 243.60 km2 (94.1 sq mi)
Elevation 20 m (66 ft)
Population (30 June 2009)[1]
 - Total 610,766
 Density 2,507.2/km2 (6,493.7/sq mi)
 - Demonym Genovesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 16121-16167
Dialing code 010
Patron saint John the Baptist
Saint day June 24
Website Official website

Genoa (Italian: Genova About this sound listen , pronounced [ˈdʒɛːnova]; in Genoese and Ligurian: Zena, pronounced [ˈzeːna]; 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. Genoa's Metropolitan Area has a population of about 1,400,000. It is also called la Superba ("the Superb one") due to its glorious past.[2] Part of the old city of Genoa was inscribed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO) in 2006 (see below). The city's rich art, music, gastronomy, architecture and history, made it 2004's EU Capital of culture[3].

Genoa, which forms the southern corner of the Milan-Turin-Genoa industrial triangle of north-west Italy, is one of the country’s major economic centres.[4][5] With a GDP of 15.08 billion Euros, or 1.3% of the national total, the city ranked fifth in Italy for economic strength in the year 2000: after Rome (6.45%), Milan (4.74%), Turin (2.19%) and Naples (1.51%), and ahead of Bologna (1.01%), Florence (1.00%) and Palermo 0.94%).[6] The Bank of Saint George, one of the oldest in the world, was founded here in 1407 and played an important role in the city’s prosperity from the middle of the fifteenth century.[7][8] Today a number of leading Italian companies are based in the city, including Ansaldo Energia[9], Ansaldo STS and Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone.



Genua was a city of the ancient Ligurians. Its name may derive from the Latin word meaning "knee" (genu; plural, genua), i.e. "angle", from its geographical position at the center of the Ligurian coastal arch, thus akin to the name of Geneva. Or it could derive from the Celtic root genu-, genawa (pl. genowe), meaning "mouth", i.e., estuary; the same etymology is found in an area of the modern city, called Foce (river mouth). Still another hypothesis is derivation from the Latin word of Celtic origin "ianua", meaning "door", cognated with the Latin god Janus [1]. This latter etymology may be due to its position at the entrance of valleys which cross the Apennine mountains to connect the Mediterranean sea with the Padan Plain, and in this case it would be similar to that of other toponyms nearby, like Chiavari (from the Latin "Clavis Vallis", key to the valley) and Serravalle Scrivia (in Italian, city that "Closes the Scrivia Valley").


The flag of Genoa is a St George's Cross, a red cross on a lime white field, identical to the Flag of England, which also incorporates St George's Cross.



Ancient era and early Middle Ages

View of Genoa around 1490.

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 Celts in 2500–2000 BC has been recently recognized as wrong.[citation needed]

A city 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[citation needed].

In the 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 ("Equal pact") in the course of the Second Punic War. 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 original castrum 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 landmark.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, 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.[10] Pope Gregory the Great was closely connected to these bishops in exile, for example involving himself the election of Deusdedit.[11] The Lombards, under King Rothari, finally captured Genoa and other Ligurian cities in about 643.[12] 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 Genuensis. 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 Januensis ("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 feudataries.

Middle Ages and Renaissance

Via XX Settembre.
Monument to Christopher Columbus.

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. Genoa was 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. The Adorno, Campofregoso, 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 Tyrrhenian Sea. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa. Genoese Crusaders brought home a green glass goblet from the Levant, which Genoese long regarded as the Holy Grail.

Torre della Lanterna, the ancient lighthouse of Genoa.

The 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 and Fieschi, the Doria, Spinola, and others caused much disruption, but in general the republic was run much as a business affair. In 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 1298.

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. Following the 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 Chioggia (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. After a period of French domination from 1394–1409, Genoa came under rule by the Visconti of Milan. Genoa lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to internal revolt and its Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Asia Minor colonies to the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

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, who 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, including Rubens, Caravaggio 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 Rococo artists settled elsewhere and a number of local artists became prominent. The plague killed as much as half of the inhabitants of Genoa in 1656–57.[13]

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.[14] It was occupied by Austria in 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1768, Genoa was forced to also cede Corsica to France.

Modern history

Genoa in 1810.

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 Napoleon, Genoa became a French protectorate called the Ligurian Republic, which was annexed by France in 1805. This affair is commemorated in the famous first sentence of Tolstoy's War and Peace:

"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 Petersburg).

Although the Genoese revolted against France in 1814 and liberated the city on their own, delegates at the Congress of Vienna sanctioned its incorporation into Piedmont (Kingdom of Sardinia), thus ending the three century old struggle by the House of Savoy to acquire the city.

Garibaldi leading the Expedition of the Thousand.

The city soon gained a reputation as a hotbed of anti-Savoy republican agitation (having its 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, killed 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 years.[15] In 2004, the European Union designated Genoa as the European Capital of Culture, along with the French city of Lille.


A satellite picture of Genoa.
Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: EuroWeather

The city of Genoa covers an area of 243 square kilometres (151 sq miles) between the Ligurian Sea and the Apennine Mountains. The city stretches along 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 climate (Koppen climate classification: Csa), with oceanic influences.

Winter is mild, with an average temperature of 8.0 °C (46 °F) in January, and summer is warm with an average temperature of 24.0 °C (75 °F) in August. The daily temperature range is limited, with an average range of 6 °C (43 °F) 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 southeast, mostly as a consequence of atlantic disturbances and storms, bringing humid and warmer air from the sea.

Climate data for Genoa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) 5.0
Precipitation cm (inches) 10.64
Avg. precipitation days 7.3 6.9 8.1 7.5 7.0 4.9 2.8 5.6 5.9 7.6 8.0 6.1 77.7
Source: Italiano della Meteorologia[16]

Main sights

Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

State Party  Italy
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 1211
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2006  (30th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
The Palazzo Ducale.
The Palazzo Reale, or Royal Palace


St. Lawrence Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) is the city's Cathedral, and is built in a Romanesque-Renaissance style. Other important and major churches in Genoa include the Church of San Donato, the Church of Sant'Agostino, the Oratory of San Giacomo della Marina, the Church of Santo Stefano, San Torpete and the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato. Most of these churches and basilicas are built in the Romanesque style, even though the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato is built in a rich and elaborate Baroque style.

Buildings and Palaces

The main features of central Genoa include Piazza De Ferrari, around which are sited the Opera and the Palace of the Doges. There is also a house where Christopher Columbus is said to have been born.

Strada 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. The famous art college, Musei di Strada Nuova and the Palazzo del Principe are also located on this street.

Other landmarks of the city include 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. The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art has one of the largest collections of Oriental art in Europe.

Genoa also has a large aquarium located in the above-mentioned old harbour. The port 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 Doria, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi, Palazzo Nicolosio Lomellino, Albertis Castle, Villa Croce, Villa Imperiale Cattaneo, Villa Bombrini, and many more.[17]


A view of the gardens of the Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini.

Corso Italia runs for 2.5 kilometres in the quartiere of Albaro, linking 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 Albaro.

Old harbor

The Porto Antico ("old harbour" in Italian) is the ancient part of the port of Genoa. The Genoese architect Renzo Piano redeveloped the area for public access, 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.[18]


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1861 242,447
1871 256,486 5.8%
1881 289,234 12.8%
1901 377,610 30.6%
1911 465,496 23.3%
1921 541,562 16.3%
1931 590,736 9.1%
1936 634,646 7.4%
1951 688,447 8.5%
1961 784,194 13.9%
1971 816,872 4.2%
1981 762,895 −6.6%
1991 678,771 −11.0%
2001 610,307 −10.1%
2009 610,741 0.1%
Source: ISTAT 2001

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.[19] 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,Ukraine, the former Yugoslavia and Romania): 1.37%, and North Africa: 0.62%. The city is predominantly Roman Catholic, with small numbers of Protestant adherents.


The Municipal Council of Genoa is led by a left-wing majority, elected in May 2007. The mayor is Marta Vincenzi, member of the Democratic Party.

Administrative subdivision

The city of Genoa is subdivided into 9 Municipi (administrative districts), as approved by the Municipal Council in 2007.[20]

The 9 districts of Genoa.
Municipio Population (% of total) Quarters included
Centro-Est 91,402 (15.0%) Pré, Molo, Maddalena, Oregina, Lagaccio, San Nicola, Castelletto, Manin, San Vincenzo, Carignano
Centro-Ovest 66,626 (10.9%) Sampierdarena, Campasso, San Teodoro, San Bartolomeo
Bassa Val Bisagno 78,791 (12.9%) San Fruttuoso, Marassi, Quezzi
Media Val Bisagno 58,742 (9,6%) Staglieno, Sant'Eusebio, San Gottardo, Molassana, Struppa
Valpolcevera 62,492 (10.3%) Borzoli, Fegino, Certosa, Rivarolo, Teglia, Begato, Bolzaneto, Morego, San Quirico, Pontedecimo
Medio Ponente 61,810 (10.1%) Sestri, Cornigliano, Campi
Ponente 63,027 (10.3%) Crevari, Voltri, Palmaro, Prà, Pegli, Multedo
Medio Levante 61,759 (10.1%) Foce, Brignole, Albaro, San Martino, San Giuliano, Lido, Puggia
Levante 66,155 (10.8%) Sturla, Quarto, Quinto, Nervi, Bavari, San Desiderio, Borgoratti



A view of the commercial port of Genoa.

The Port of Genoa, with a trade volume of 58.6 million tonnes[21] it is the first port of Italy,[22] 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.[21] Several cruise and ferry lines serve the passenger terminals in the old port, with a traffic of 3.2 million passengers in 2007.[23] 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 Savona. The 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.[24] 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 cruise terminal is currently under construction in the redesigned area of Ponte Parodi, once a quay used for grain traffic.


The Airport of Genoa is located just few kilometres west of the city centre. 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,[25] with an increase of international destinations and charter flights.

Railway and rapid transit

The main 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.

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 lines instead of completing the extension of the light metro.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28]

Genoa is also home to other colleges and academies:

The Italian Institute of Technology was established in 2003 jointly by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research and the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, to promote excellence in basic and applied research. The main fields of research of the Institute are Neuroscience, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Drug discovery. The central research labs and headquarters are located in Morego, in the neighbourhood of Bolzaneto.[29]

Florida 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

The Aquarium of Genoa (in Italian: Acquario di Genova) is the largest aquarium in Italy and the second largest in Europe. Built for 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 also goldfish in the aquarium.[30]


A baroque fresco in the Palazzo Rosso.

Genoa has a rich artistic history, with numerous frescos, paintings, sculptures and other works of art held in the city's abundant museums, palaces, villas, art galleries and piazzas. Genoa is the birthplace and home of the 'Ligurian School', where the key figures were several native and foreign painters, such as Rubens, Van Dyck and Bernardo Strozzi.[31]

Much of the city's art is found in its churches and palaces, where there are numerous Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo frescos, such as in the Genoa Cathedral, the Church of Gesù and the Church of San Donato.[31]

Genoa is also famous for its numerous tapestries, which decorated the city's many salons. Whilst the patrician palaces and villas in the city were and still are austere and majestic, the interiors tended to be luxurious and elaborate, often full of tapestries, many of which were Flemish.[31]


Genoese (Zeneize) is the most important dialect of the Ligurian language, and is commonly spoken in Genoa alongside Italian.

Ligurian is listed by Ethnologue as a language in its own right, of the Romance branch, and not to be confused with the ancient Ligurian language. Like the languages of Lombardy, Piedmont, and surrounding regions, it is of Gallo-Italic derivation.


The prestigious Neoclassical Teatro San Carlo.

The Teatro Carlo Felice, built in 1828 in the city in the Piazza De Ferrari, and named for the monarch of the then Kingdom of Sardinia (which included the present regions of Sardinia, Piedmont and Liguria). The theater was the center of music and social life in the 1800s. On various occasions in the history of the theater, presentations have been conducted by Mascagni, Richard Strauss, Hindemith and Stravinsky.

On the occasion of the Christopher Columbus celebration in 1992, new musical life was given to the area around the old port, including the restoration of the house of Paganini and presentations of the Trallalero, the traditional singing of Genoese dock workers. Additionally, the city is the site of the Teatro Gustavo Modena, the only theater to have survived the bombings of World War II relatively intact. The city is the site of the Niccolò Paganini music conservatory. In the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, the ancient Abbey of Cervara is often the site of chamber music concerts.


There are 2 football teams in Genoa: Genoa Cricket and Football Club and U.C. Sampdoria; Genoa Cricket and Football Club is the oldest football club in Italy. The football section of the club was founded in 1896 by James Richardson Spensley, an 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 1990-1991), 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 Luigi Ferraris Stadium, which holds 36,536 spectators.


Famous 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. Saints from Genoa include Romulus, Catherine, 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, focaccia, farinata, stoccafisso (stockfish), and salsa di noci (walnut sauce).

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Genoa is twinned with:

See also


  • 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 88-87822-16-6 (


  1. ^ The population of the comune (or municipality), rather than that of the extended urban area. ‘Bilancio demografico Anno 2009: Genova’, Demografia in Cifre, Istat, 2009.
  2. ^ "Genoa: a bloody history, a beguiling present | Italy". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  3. ^ ‘Genoa’,
  4. ^ ‘Genoa Economy’,
  5. ^ ‘Italy: Industry’, Encyclopedia of the Nations, Advameg, Inc.
  6. ^ Censis, La ricchezza del territorio italiano (Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali, 16 January 2004), Table 1: ‘Prime 20 posizioni nella graduatoria secondo il PIL nel 2000’. The figures given are for the comuni, rather than for the metropolitan areas.
  7. ^ George Macesich, Issues in money and banking, (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000), p. 42.
  8. ^ Alta Macadam, Northern Italy: From the Alps to Bologna, Blue Guides, 10th edn. (London: A. & C. Black, 1997).
  9. ^Ansaldo Energia: Company profile’, LinkedIn Corporation.
  10. ^ Paul the Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, II.25
  11. ^ Gregory I, Registrum Epistolarum, MGH Ep. 2, XI.14, p. 274
  12. ^ Paul the Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, IV.45
  13. ^ Early modern Italy (16th to 18th centuries) » The 17th-century crisis Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  14. ^ Genoa 1684, World History at KMLA.
  15. ^ BBC 15 July 2008 "Italy officials convicted over G8"
  16. ^ "Visualizzazione tabella CLINO della stazione / CLINO Averages Listed for the station Genova". 
  17. ^ "Tourism - Comune di Genova". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  18. ^ Fonte: Il Secolo XIX, 17 ottobre 2008, pag. 25
  19. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  20. ^ "Testo del Regolamento sul sito del Comune di Genova". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  21. ^ a b "Autorità Portuale di Genova - Traffico porto". Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  22. ^ "Inf_07_05_Statistiche dei trasporti marittimi 2002-2004" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  23. ^ Genoa Port Authority
  24. ^ "Autorità Portuale di Genova - Passeggeri". Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  25. ^ Official traffic statistics from Assaeroporti
  26. ^ "Mobility Point and local press". 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  27. ^ "A brief history of the University of Genoa". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  28. ^ Facts and figures, University of Genoa
  29. ^ The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) on the Internet Archive
  30. ^ "AquaRing - home" (in (Italian)). 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  31. ^ a b c
  32. ^ "Baltimore City Mayor's Office of International and Immigrant Affairs - Sister Cities Program". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  33. ^ "Marseille Official Website - Twin Cities" (in French). Ville de Marseille. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  34. ^ "Twinning Cities: International Relations (NB Genoa is listed as 'Genova')" (PDF). Municipality of Tirana. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 

External links

Staglieno: A monumental cemetery

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Genoa article)

From Wikitravel

Genoa (Italian, Genova) is an historical port city in northern Italy, the capital of the Region of Liguria. Genoa was the European Capital of Culture for 2004.

For other places with the same name, see Genoa (disambiguation).


Venice, Rome, Milan, and Florence are of course the most known and admired towns in Italy. When moving to north-western Italy (Milan, Turin) it is nevertheless absolutely worth staying for a couple of days or a weekend in Genoa. The city is a good base to explore the Italian Riviera and world famous places like Portofino and the Cinque Terre.

Paolo Coelho wrote: "Among the marvels of Italy, it will take some digging to find the beauties of Genova, but it is worth visiting it. I remember walking there with a friend, when she suddenly said: “Let’s stop for a bit. I can’t stand this orange color!”". The fact is the more you stay the more you will enjoy and appreciate the town. A place where you discover daily new surprises, even if you stay for years.

The city may be less known by major tourist operators, but its splendor is often hidden inside the narrow streets of the historical center, called "vicoli".

Get in

By plane

The Aeroporto di Genova - Cristoforo Colombo [1] provides several daily flights from other major European cities such as Rome, London, Munich, Paris and Madrid. From the airport it is fairly easy to rent a car or take a shuttle (bus no. 100, also called Volabus) to the city center.

By train

Genoa can be easy travelled to by train from Milan, Turin, Rome, Tuscany (Pisa, Livorno and Florence (changing train in Pisa or Viareggio)) and France (There is a direct train connecting with Nice). There are two main train stations in Genoa, Brignole and Principe. Brignole serves most local routes and provides access to many bus lines. Principe serves local as well as long distance trains and many trains from Milan and beyond will only stop at this station.

By car

Coming from Milan you can reach Genoa via the A7-E62 (approx. 145 km). Mind though that the last part, from Serravalle to Genoa, is incredibly twisty, making you wonder if you’re still on the highway or accidentally have taken a wrong turn into a motordrome. It’s therefore advisable to take an alternative route, turning off the A7 at the deviation near Tortona and heading on the A26/A7, following Genova, Ventimiglia, Savona, Voltri; making it a longer (+20 km), but certainly safer and more comfortable trip, unless you want to spice up you journey and observe how (some) Italians drive. The same highway is less twisty northbound.

Coming from Turin you can either take the A6/E717 to Savona (137 km) and then go to Genoa following the beautiful, but twisty A10 coast highway (an other 45 km) or follow the Genova Piacenza indications you'll find on the ringroad heading south. This latter is the shorter alternative (170 km total), but offers fewer sightseeing opportunities.

Coming from the French Riviera just follow the highway A10 and enjoy the sight (approx 160 km from the French border). If you're tempted to avoid the toll roads, be aware that it will take you at least three or four times as long although you might get better views.

Coming from Tuscany you can take the A12 from Rosignano to Genoa; mind that you must have snow chains on board between the gates of Carrodano and Sestri Levante when travelling from November 1st to March 31st, even though snow is seldom a problem here.

By bus

Genoa can be reached via Eurolines coach from many European countries. Long distance buses also run from Nice.

By boat

Genoa is an important port, and has many ferry services. Grandi Navi Veloci crosses from Barcelona weekly, and takes about eighteen hours. It also offers a weekly crossing to Tangiers, which takes around forty-six.

Other direct ferry routes from Genoa are; Barcelona (Spain), Valletta (Malta), Bastia (Corsica), Olbia and Porto Torres (Sardinia), Palermo (Sicily), Tangier (Morocco) and Tunis (Tunisia).

Get around

There regular buses servicing the whole city, but the timetables one can see at stops are not always reliable. In addition to this there is a short tube railway connecting the city center with the train station of Principe and the peripheral district of Rivarolo. With the tube connection is also possible to cross the medieval center which usually has too narrow streets (called 'caruggi') for cars or busses.

Trains travel through the whole city in the east/west direction; this is probably the best way to travel if you plan to see some peripheral districts on the coastline, as no bus travels for the whole width of the city.

The historical center is serviced by bus only around some important squares and streets (Piazza Acquaverde for Stazione di Piazza Principe, Piazza della Nunziata, Largo Zecca, Piazza Corvetto, Piazza Caricamento); caruggi are best seen on foot.

You can take the boat from the Porto Antico to visit Pegli and the public park of Pallavicini or you can take other boats from the Old Harbour and travel along the coast to Camogli, San Fruttuoso, Portofino, Chiavari and the Cinqueterre.

For the most you can however explore within walking distance in the historical center of the old town, the largest middle age town of Europe



  • The Aquarium [2] The biggest in Europe!
  • The Sea Museum [3] and the Naval Museum [4]
  • Ethnographical Museum [5]
  • Museum of Modern Art - Wolfson [6]
  • Museum of Modern Art - Villa Croce [7]
  • Museums of Fine Arts - Strada Nuova - Palazzo Bianco (White Palace) [8] and Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace) [9]
  • Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art [10] The biggest European collection of oriental art.
  • Doria Museum of Natural History [11]
  • The Cathedral Museum [12]
  • Museum of St. Augustine [13] A convent displaying various medievil works of art.
  • Ligurian Archeological Museum [14]
  • Luxoro Museum [15] A private collection which houses various works of art and furniture.
  • Raccolte Frugone [16] The Nervi's former private art collection.
  • Wolfsoniana [17] A museum of modern applied arts.
  • Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) [18] Owns a historical picture gallery.
  • National Ligurian Gallery at the Spinola Palace [19]
  • Museum of the Ligurian Art Academy [20]
  • Museum at the Prince's Palace [21] Another Genovese historical art collection.
  • Ippolito National Ligurian Museum [22]
  • The Cathedral of San Lorenzo
  • The palazzi dei rolli present on World Heritage List of UNESCO [23]
  • The historical centre:
  • Santa Maria di Castello [24], the cloister of the domenican order, the museum and the summer cathedral offer a lot of treasures and exploring them is free during the opening hours of the church

Genoa is known to have Europe’s biggest historical center. This is the heart of the old city. It’s made up of an incredible amount of tiny streets and alleys called Caruggi. Walking through it will plump you right back in ancient times when Genoa was the most important harbor of the Mediterranean sea. The city is generally safe, but caution is to be applied, especially at night time and in the more quiet zones toward Piazza Principe and the old harbor, due to presence of small criminality.

  • The natal house of Cristoforo Colombo. In piazza Dante you will find what is said to be the natal house of Columbus;
  • The impressive fortification belt built on the hills surrounding the city, originating in the 16th Century [25];
  • There is a funicular railway servicing Monte Righi, where one can have pleasant walks on the surrounding hills and to the fortifications (see above), or just admire the spectacular view of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Spianata Castelletto is a nice belvedere where one can have a pleasant view of the city and of the seaport. It can be reached by public lift from Piazza della Nunziata or on foot from that very same square.
  • Via Garibaldi (also known as Via Aurea and Strada Nuova, Golden Street and New Street) with very impressive baroque buildings. Some similar buildings are also found in Via Balbi.
  • The Old Harbour (Porto Antico), next to the Aquarium, is an entertainment area with museums, cinemas, cafés and also a beautiful promenade along the sea.
  • The Lanterna - the oldest European lighthouse and a prominent Genovese symbol
  • A lot of beautiful churches, some of which date back to the Romanesque time (San Giovanni di Pre', San Donato, Santa Maria del Castello)
  • Corso Italia - Genoa's promenade
  • Boccadasse - a picturesque fishermen quarter
  • Castello d'Albertis [26]
  • Palazzo Ducale Where the Dukes of Genoa used to live.


There are plenty of things to do in Genoa. A lot of young kids spend their time playing with their friends in public pools and share ice-creams in the summer time. There are a lot of paintings in the town and on the brick floors which a lot of people admire. Fishing for catfish is also a hobby most people have.


Italian language courses organised by Scuola Tricolore [27]. Whether you are interested in group or individual courses, in the morning, afternoon or evening, Scuola Tricolore offers high quality tuition and for those interested accommodation and leisure activities. Courses available in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Italian Luanguage School A Door to Italy [28] - the ideal school for foreigners who like to improve their language skills. You can ask for private teachers and personalized lessons even outside of the schoolfacilities.


Most men work at fishing farms and on the boats to raise money for their family. Cafe and restaurant work is very popular also.


There is a large shopping center called Fiumara located near Genova Sampierdarena train station. To reach Fiumara, take a local train to Genova Sampierdarena station and exit the station. Turn left and go under a bridge, near which there is a sign to the left for Fiumara. The shopping center is visible from the other side of the bridge and is about 10 minutes walk. The mall can also be reached by car or bus routes 1, 2, 4 and 22. The mall is open from 9AM-9PM Monday - Sunday. Nearby there is a theater and activity center which includes a pool hall, bowling alley and restaurants. Downtown you can find shopping along Via XX Settembre, starting from Piazza Ferrari.


The vast majority of places charges service for a fixed amount per person (called 'coperto'), as is custom in Italy. A trattoria, cafe or bar will not charge this fee for lunch, and this is often a good place to get pasta or a sandwich in the afternoon. Restaurants are open from approximately 12:30 - 3:00PM for lunch and 7:30 - 10:00PM for dinner.

  • Trattoria Da Maria, Vico Testadoro 14 - ph. +39 010 581080 - Close to Piazza de Ferrari, traditional regional cuisine and a practical and crowded atmosphere. Possible opening for lunch only, no reservation.
  • Osteria La Lanterna, Via San Siro 12R - ph. +39 010 2461608 - Close to Via San Luca and Museo del Risorgimento, this restaurant offers mainly fish dishes at a very reasonable price.
  • Trattoria Sa Pesta, Via Giustiniani 16r, tel. ++39 010 2468336 - In the old town, this restaurant offers traditional regional cuisine.
  • Le Colonne di San Bernardo, Via San Bernardo 59r, +39-010-2462646, [29]. 8PM - 10PM. Fish and meat specialities with limited choice, but high quality and a selection of excellent wines. All prepared with great care. Sweets represent a wonderful surprise, not to miss. EUR 35. (44°24'22,8°55'49) edit
  • Ombre Rosse, Vico Indoratori 20-22-24 r, 010 2757608 / 347 4280698. Lunch, Dinner. Quality Genovese typical food, like pansotti, vegetable cakes, baccala, lepre, brasato. EUR 25.  edit
  • La Berlocca, via ai Macelli di Soziglia 45r, 010 4075555. Lunch, Dinner. Fish & meat of great quality. Excellent choice of wines. EUR 35.  edit
  • Grace Restaurant [30]: the cuisine, linked to the territory, combines the flavours and aromas of Liguria with the pleasures of traditional international cuisine and is entrusted to the expert hands of Chef Salvatore Di Carlo.
  • Pesto sauce originates from the city of Genova. It is used in many dishes including pastas and pizzas. You can always order from the huge cariety of pastas and pizzas available here but trying the one which is based on Pesto is must to experience the traditional Genovese cuisine.
  • Another must try from the Genovese or Ligurian cuisine is the 'focaccia' which essentially is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with onions, herbs, or other foodstuffs. They are quite tasty and often cheaper than pizzas. There are many 'Focaccerias' scattered throughout Genova and its surroundings. These are basically take away places and easy on the wallet too. In many of the focaccerias you will find improvised varieties of focaccias but usually the best tasting ones come with only tomatoes or onions and a bit of olive oil.
  • Don't miss to try the Farinata a thiny crusty pie made with chick- peas flour, water salt and olive oil.
  • Piazza delle Erbe: small square in the old town, with nice bars (5 min. walking from Piazza De Ferrari and Palazzo Ducale) open until 1 AM. On Fridays and Saturays it is crowded of young people.
  • Apartment Vico della Rosa (Vico della Rosa), Vico della Rosa, +39-3483864636, [31]. 60 sqm Apartment in the historical centre of Genova. Located in the area of Soziglia. Ideal for 2 people and minimum stay of 3 days. directly from the owner 500.  edit
  • Apartment Santa Maria di Castello (Santa Maria di Castello), Salita Santa Maria di Castello 15, +39-34834864696, [32]. 100 sqm Apartment in the oldest part of the historical center of Genova. 2 bedrooms. Ideal for 4 people. Can be rented for minimum 1 week directly from the owner 600.  edit
  • Hotel Nuovo Nord [33], Via Balbi 155 Ph: +39 010 2464470.
  • Youth Hostel, via Costanzi 120, tel. (0039)0102422457, (to reach from the center by bus no. 40)
  • Columbus Village Accommodations [34], Via XX Settembre 26/5 16121 Genova, tel: +39 010 8692029. (From the US 011 39 010 8692029). An agency that rents local bed & breakfast accommodations in Genoa. They also rent accommodations in the surrounding area and short-let apartments.
  • Hotel Villa Bonera [35], Via Sarfatti, 8, tel: +39 010 3726164, fax: +39 010 3728565.
  • B&B Casa Aurora [36], Piazza San Giorgio 32/12, Tel: +39 010 2541677, +39 340 6107251. In the city center of the old town.
  • Hotel Cairoli , Via Cairoli 14, Ph. +39 010 2461454 (Fax +39 010 2467512), [37]. Situated in the historical center of the city and close to Porto Antico. Single room from €55, double room from €75 (as of September 2006).
  • Hotel Minerva, Via Maragliano 34D, Santa Margherita Ligure, +39 0185 286073, [38]. The Hotel Minerva is located in Santa Margherita Ligure in a quiet area a short walk from the beaches €80-190.  edit
  • Locanda di Palazzo Cicala,[39]. Locanda di Palazzo Cicala has all the magic of a "hotel de charme". It is in the very heart of the historic city centre, opposite S. Lorenzo Cathedral, just a short walk from the Old Harbour, the Cotone Congressi congress centre and the art exhibitions in Palazzo Ducale.
  • Hotel Bristol Palace, [40].
  • Best Western City, [41].
  • Hotel Savoia Majestic, [42].
  • Sheraton Genova, [43].
  • Hotel Romantik Pagoda.
  • AC Hotel Genova.

Stay safe

Streets in Genoa are usually quite safe, especially in the main tourist areas and residential areas. Downtown, Quarto dei Mille, Quinto del Mare and Nervi are all safe districts during the day as well as the evening. As in all large cities, pay special attention to your surroundings and do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables. When walking it is advisable to observe Italian custom which is to not stop at crosswalks, but instead to keep going. Cars and mopeds will slow down or drive around you when you cross. You should, however, observe lighted crosswalks. When visiting the beach be cautious of slippery areas and waves which can be unpredictable.


It is not difficult to find someone who can help you with easy/touristic problems in English, Spanish or French, but the best is of course to speak a little bit of Italian.

Get out

Genoa makes a good base to explore Cinque Terre, Rapallo, Portofino, Portovenere, La Spezia, or Chiavari.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun


  1. Genoa (Italian city)


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it


Gènova, /ˈdʒɛnova/, /"dZEnova/

Proper noun

Genova f.

  1. Genoa
  2. The letter G in the Italian phonetic alphabet

Related terms

See also



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