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A Brief Historical Background for Genoa (Italy)

Updated on December 23, 2014

The Conquering City. Genoa

In Roman times Genoa became a “municipium”, and during the Middle Ages it was conquered by the Lombards and then by the Saracens. The Crusades were a fundamental event in the history of Genoa, because they enabled it to establish key sea trade with the most important countries in the Mediterranean Sea.

Later Genoa extended its territory, conquering other countries and cities such as Corsica, Sardinia, Nice and La Spezia. After the defeat of Pisa, its fleet dominated all the western Mediterranean sea. However, Genoa was continuously in competition with Venice, her most powerful rival city. In the 12th century people were splitted into two political parties, the Ghibellines and the Guelfs, ruled respectively by the members of the Doria family and by the Fieschi.

At the beginning of the 14th century, Genoa elected its first Doge, but the city has been a principal subject of dispute among the most powerful local families . Although the difficult in establishing peace, trade increased, and, in the fifteenth century, the Banco di San Giorgio was also founded, becoming one of the most powerful banks both of Italy and Europe. Genoa was for several times ruled by France and then by Spain. However, at the beginning of the 19th century, Genoa was incorporated with France, and after the Vienna Congress it was ruled by the King of Sardinia until the Unification of Italy (1861).

Genoa is rich both in mediaeval churches and magnificent sixteenth century palaces. Along the Strada degli Orefici, visitors can find the Cathedral dedicated to S. Maria di Carignano, built in the twelfth century, and renovated in the fourteenth century. The Cathedral stands in its exciting exuberance for its black and white marble, and the main facade shows beautiful portals built in Italian Gothic style, while the Bell Tower, finished in the 16th century, is of the Renaissance style.

Among its palaces, worth mentioning are Palazzo Doria, Palazzo Spinola, Palazzo Brignole, Palazzo Balbi and many other palaces. But there are also many works of art in Genoa full of interest, and tourists can easily spend several days to visiting its glorious historical heritage. Moreover, if visitors love the sea and the sun, the whole coast is constituted by sandy beaches, mainly around the towns of Alassio, and Varazze that offer a wide range of tourism facilities. In fact, San Remo near Genoa offers casino entertainment facilities , sports life and gourmet meals such as pasta and rice dishes, the well-known pappardelle and other specialties of Genoa and its surroundings.

The Coat of Arms of Genoa

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