Today the area is considered one of the most beautiful in Genoa, both inhabitants and visitors enjoy long walks along the sea or just sit and relax in one of the many bars and restaurants located in the area.
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The Porto Antico (Old Port) is the oldest part of the Genoa’s harbor.
The old pier was built during the 15th century close to Porta Siberia (Siberia Gate), the gate that regulated the access to the city. During the 20th century the dock was remodeled in order to be more modern; the Genoa’s Port was already the biggest one in Italy. Many buildings were erected and the landscape of the port changed dramatically.
Genoa’s most illustrious citizen is probably the great explorer Cristoforo Colombo. The city of Genoa has always celebrated the renowned traveler; for this reason in 1992 for the Columbus celebration the famous architect Renzo Piano remodeled the oldest areas of the Port. The idea was to give back to the genoesi an area neglected for too many years! Today the space offers many different attractions such as an aquarium, various museums and venues for events. Famous is the Bolla a glass sphere that houses an incredible miniature rainforest.
The beautiful Piazza De Ferrari is the most important plaza of Genoa. Dedicated to the Duke Raffaele De Ferrari the plaza is located in the heart of the town. The Genoeses call it the “city” because the most significant buildings of Genoa are located either in the Piazza or very close to it.
The irregular shape of the square come from the fact that once the area was divided into two different Piazze. This is easily noticeable also thanks to the different styles of the numerous buildings.
At the beginning of the 20th century the entire center of the city had a restyle; three important street were built: Via XX Settembre, Via Dante and Via Petrarca. All of them converges in Piazza De Ferrari. Four new building were added too; the two most famous are the Teatro Carlo Felice (Theatre Carlo Felice) and Palazzo della Nuova Borsa (Palace of the New Stock Exchange).
However the most important addition in the piazza was the Bronze Fountain that had become one of the symbols of the city.
Unfortunately during the Second World War the center of Genova was heavily bombed; the newly built Teatro Carlo Felice was destroyed. Only at the end of the century it was reconstructed respecting the original design.
Today Piazza De Ferrari is a pedestrian area where every day many Genoeses and tourists stroll around, enjoying its unique atmosphere!
The Cathedral of St Lawrence was founded in the 5th century AD. Excavations under the Duomo have brought to light Roman’s Walls and pre-Christian tombs; probably the site was used as a cemetery since long before.
Many churches were built on the spot before in 1155 the actual Romanesque Duomo was erected. It became very quickly the center of the medieval city. At the end of the 13th century a terrible fire damaged the church; when it was restored the original style was kept, however various frescoes were added.
Since then the Duomo went through several renovations. During the 14th and 15th centuries were added several chapels and altars; in 1550 an architect was hired in order to rebuild the Duomo di San Lorenzo completely. Luckily the project was never completed and only few changes went through.
At the end of the 17th century the Duomo was finally completed.
Many beautiful artworks are conserved in the interior of the Cathedral: frescoes, statues and paintings from different periods and styles.
The Genoa’s Cathedral is also famous for a “miracle” that took place in 1941. During the Second World War the city was being badly bombed by the allied. By mistake a British vessel launched a shell that felt right in the center of the church. Luckily only the walls were damaged while the bomb never exploded. The shell is still inside the Duomo along with an inscription where the people of Genoa thank the Virgin Mary for this “miracle”.
Caruggi is the popular name given to the characteristic small streets of Genoa. The word means alley, many roads in the old city are called Vico from Vicoli (lane).
Most of the caruggi names derive from the activity that was practiced in the area. Typically the name are related to artisanal activities like Via Orefici (Goldsmiths Street) and Piazza di Pellicceria (Furriery Square). Today a lot have changed but the caruggi still attract many tourists thanks to the numerous little shops (botteghe) that still offer artisanal products.
It is believed that the old Genoa was built with this little alleys in order to protect itself against the pirates’ attacks; it was easier to defend the city. Eventually Genoa was fortified too.
The most famous Genoa’s Caruggio is called Via di Pre’.
Visitors can’t lose the opportunity to stroll around in this unique area; walking and getting lost in these characteristic alleyways is an inimitable experience. It seems that the time stopped long ago thanks to the authentic little stores and workshops. Every time that a caruggio turns is hard to know what you will find around the corner!