Galeria in Genoa

Above: Galleria Mazzini in Genoa

Genoa / Genova

After avoiding the city, for no good reason, in 2011 we made this a target for one of our trips through Italy. Why not a whole lot sooner was the only thing we could say! This is a very interesting city. Genoa (Genova) is the capital of the Liguria Region and is the 6th largest city in Italy.

Yes it is one of the largest seaports in Italy. And, yes it is a large city itself. It sprawls out for as far as the eye can see. But the historic centre is stunning. Genova has the nickname la Superba, the Superb One. Superb it is with endless landmarks and a very good feel to the old historic centre.

We were fortunate, Karen arranged for us to stay at a hotel right in the centre of the city car. We just drop up in our convertible... yes that was nice. The hotel looked after parking the car, and we picked up it near the end of the week when we left. My kind-of visit to a city.

San Lorenzo in Genoa

Above, doors of the impressive Cathedral San Lorenzo

The city has a rich history, Christopher Columbus sailed from here to America. It has the oldest bank in the world here (the Bank of Saint George) and the architecture is impressive. Genoa was once the powerful Maritime Republics, along with Venice, Pisa and Amalfi and the trade and commerce helped to shape the power of the city. In the 16th Century Genoa was at its peak, and the city was the center for artists and architects. Many of the plazzi were designed by famed Galeazzo Alessi. In the 1700s things were not as good, and Genoa was actually annexed by France in 1805.

During World War II Genoa was bombed by the British. In fact, a bomb fell into the cathedral of San Lorenzo, did not explode and it still remains in the church and can still be seen today.

Piazza de Ferrari

The Piazza de Ferrari is the center of the city. Above, the protect for the strike was just starting to take shape! We ended up hiring a taxi driver to take us to some locations and he gave us quite a tour of the city.

The impressive Galleria Mazzini is an imitation of the Vittoria Emanuele Gallery built in Milan. The galleria was very close to our hotel and connects the Piazza De Ferrari with the Carol Felice Theatre and the Piazza Corvetto. It is covered with a glass roof and metal frame. It used to be the main shopping area of the most upscale shops in the city. Now, it has a more subtle look and old comfortable look with only a limited number of stores remaining in the galleria. Walking through it is a great feeling.

Palazzo in Genoa

Above: one of the palazzo along via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi is lined with grand palazzos that date from the high times of Genoa. Now unfortunately the day we had scheduled to be our visit a number of the plazzos, the plan was ruined, as it became a strike. Most were closed, a few let us into the gardens. But we will have to go back. Via Garibaldi dates back to 1550. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the street is lined with old palaces.

San Lorenzo Cloisters

Cathedral of San Lorenzo has the classic white and gray striped facade and it dates from the 12th century. The dome and towers were added in the 16th century. The two unequal towers and large central rose window is not typical and the cathedral combines Gothic, baroque, renaissance and Romanesque architectural styles. The cloisters are located a block away, and the entrance is through the San Lorenzo Diocesan Museum. San Lorenzo Cathedral is the largest of the churches in the city. Not far from there is the small house where it is said, Christopher Columbus was born. Not far from his house are the remains of the walls of Genoa along with the Porta Soprana, an impressive gate into the city. The old walls date from the 12th Century and the new walls, Mura Nuove are more imposing and date from the 17th Century and there are some 20 km in walls remaining.