Genoa Tourist Attractions
Situation and importanceGenoa (in Italian Genóva), capital of the region of Liguria, lies in the Gulf of Genoa (Golfo di Genova), the northern bay of the Ligurian Sea.
Genoa is a conurbation (Greater Genoa) extending from Nervi to Voltri for a distance of 35km/22mi along the coast. It is Italy's leading port and center of maritime trade, ranking with Marseilles as one of the two principal Mediterranean ports. It is also a university town and the see of an archbishop. Genoa, known as "la Superba" on account of its splendid marble palaces, has a magnificent situation, particularly when seen from the sea, rising in a wide arc on the lower slopes of the Ligurian Apennines. The various parts of the town are linked by five road tunnels and high bridges, and two huge tower blocks form striking landmarks in the town center. The old town is a maze of narrow streets, many of them steep, which are filled with the colorful and noisy activity of a Mediterranean town. The new parts of the town with their tall modern buildings, gardens and villas lie in the plain at the mouth of the River Bisagno and on the higher ground to the north and west. The tall lighthouse on the west side is the emblem of the town.EconomyGenoa's economy revolves mainly around the port, which was extended in the mid-1950s to supply the industrial regions of Milan and Turin. Container trans-shipment has also increased. Besides being the exit point for oil pipelines to Switzerland and Germany, the nearby districts of Sampierdarena, Cornigliano and Multedo are the main centers of heavy industry, together with Cristoforo Colombo airport built over the sea. Other major industries include papermaking, textiles and transport.HistoryGenoa first appears in history in 218 B.C. as capital of the Ligurians. In the 10th century A.D. it was an independent republic, which in 1284, after almost 200 years of war, finally defeated its most dangerous competitor, Pisa, in the naval battle of Meloria. In the 14th century the Genoese fought with Venice for control of the trade with the East, but were decisively defeated at Chioggia in 1381. During this period the town was torn by internal disputes and fell into the hands of foreign masters. The independence of the republic was restored by Admiral Andrea Doria (1466-1560) in 1528, but Genoa's power was now in decline. In 1684 the town was bombarded by a French fleet, and in 1746 it was occupied for some months by Austrian troops. In 1805 the "Ligurian Republic" was incorporated in the Napoleonic Empire, and ten years later (1815) became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and Piedmont. In 1860 Genoa finally became a part of Italy. In the Second World War it was a center of the resistance movement.Famous natives of Genoa include the Italian freedom fighter and revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-72), the national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82), son of a Genoese from Nice, Christopher Columbus (Christoforo Colombo, 1451-1506), discoverer of America, and the great virtuoso of the violin Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840).ArtThe old palaces of the nobility, more numerous and more splendid in Genoa than in any other Italian town, give some impression of the magnificent life-style of the 16th and 17th centuries. The pattern of the Genoese palace, with its grandiose distribution of architectural masses and its skillful use of rising ground, was set by the Perugian architect Galeazzo Alessi (1512-72) and his successors. The churches of Genoa, many of them of very ancient origin, were mostly rebuilt during the Gothic period and adorned with Pisan and Lombard sculpture. Outstanding Genoese painters were Luca Cambiaso (1527-85) and Bernardo Strozzi, called "Il Prete Genovese" (1581-1644).
The Cimitero di Staglieno and the 19th century pilgrimage church of the Madonna della Guardia are two feature attractions in the Genoa surroundings.
Cimitero di Staglieno
North of the Piazza della Vittoria, up the Bisagno valley, is the beautifully situated Campo Santo or Cimitero di Staglieno, one of the most famous cemeteries in Italy. In the lower arcades are numerous monuments, richly decorated and often overloaded with ornament. Steps lead to the upper arcades, the central feature of which is a domed rotunda. Above this, in the Boschetto dei Mille, is the tomb of Giuseppe Mazzini.
Madonna della Guardia
North of Genoa, on a prominent conical hill, stands the 19th century pilgrimage church of the Madonna della Guardia (804m/2,653ft). The main celebration is held on August 29th, the day (in 1940) when the Virgin Mary appeared to a farmer in the village of Livellato.
Map of Genoa Attractions