Genoa: sea and cultural heritage
Overlooking the Ligurian Sea, squeezed between the sea and the mountains, Genoa was one of the Maritime Republics from the 11th to the 18th century. During this period it played a primary role in European trade, becoming one of the greatest naval powers. Today, its port is still one of the largest and most important in Europe.
Genoa’s commercial and economic power gave the city the opportunity to flourish. The historic centre, characterised by the presence of wonderful residences, which today house museums and art galleries, bears witness to this strong development and wealth. The maze of alleys, where the ancient university founded in the 15th century is also located, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2006.
Venturing into the “caruggi” of the historic centre
The narrow, tangled alleyways of Genoa’s historic centre hide a number of treasures. Here are those worth a visit along with some other points of interest within the city:
- “The Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi del Rolli”: between the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the rich noble families of Genoa had luxurious palaces designed along the Strada Nuova, today’s Via Garibaldi. Due to their magnificence, a law was instituted in 1576 obliging each palace to host state visits. Today “Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi del Rolli” are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
- The Cathedral of San Lorenzo: erected around 1098, the cathedral is the city’s most important church, where the ashes of the patron saint St John the Baptist are kept. The structure, characterised by a façade with typical Genoese black and white bands, is a perfect example of Gothic style.
- The old town centre: Restored to its splendour by major restoration work, the old town is made up of “caruggi”, the picturesque alleyways of medieval origin, and the characteristic narrow streets sunken between walls known as “creuze”.
- Lanterna: the lighthouse dating back to the 14th century and now in its 16th-century reconstruction is the undisputed symbol of the city.
- Galata Museo del Mare: Genoa offers a very varied and articulated museum proposal. A prominent and unique institution is the Galata Museo del Mare, dedicated to the story of life at sea, from Christopher Columbus to modern times.