Genova Italy and its History

Chief Seaport of Italy

Lanterna di Genova - the lighthouse of the port of Genua

Genova (Italian for Genoa) is capital of the Genoa province and Liguria in northwest Italy. The city carries a population of 678,771 as of 1991 and is beautifully positioned on the Italian Riviera. Genova is known for being the chief seaport of Italy, and for striving with Marseilles, France to maintain lead among Mediterranean ports. The harbor facilities in Genova were terribly damaged during World War II and also by storms which occurred in 1954 and 1955, but have since been re-established and improved for modern usage. Genova is also the the chief seaport of Italy.



A Brief Look into the History of Genova

Genova, a town of Ligures, experienced tremendous success while under Roman rule. The town became a free commune around the 10th century and was governed by consuls. During the 11th century, Genova (with assistance from Pisa) drove the Arabs out of Corsica and into Sardinia. Sardinia became the focus of rivalry which resulted in war with Pisa. Genova won the naval battle of Meloria in 1284.

During the Crusades, Genova's wealth and strength continued to grow mightily. From Spain to the Crimea, Genova was able to expand, acquire more possessions and trading privileges as well. In 1408, a group of merchants who were providing a huge portion of Genova's military defense and expansion funds, formed the Banco San Giorgio (a powerful bank.) Genova's policies collided with Venice's plans concerning the Mediterranean, resulting in wars. The wars ended in 1381 with the Peace of Turin. In 1339, an election was held for the first doge, who remained chief magistrate for life.

From the 14th through the 18th centuries, rule of Genova changed hands several times between the French, Spanish and Austrians. In 1797, the Ligurian Republic was formed and formally annexed to France by Napoleon I in 1805. In 1814, Genova and Liguria were united with Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna.

Genova's Economy

Although enova is the chief seaport, it is also a center for commercialization and industry. Among its leading industries are chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles, locomotives, ships, petroleum, airplanes and steel. These have declined somewhat in recent years, placing a heavier burden on service-oriented companies.

Interesting Places in Genova

Some great places to see in Genova are the palace of the doges, the medieval Church of San Donato, the Carlo Felice Opera House (dating back to the 19th century), the 16th century churches of St. Ambrose and the Annunciation, and other magnificent Renaissance palaces.

Walls and forts are abundant throughout the city; the narrow streets of the harbor area are captivating. One popular attraction is the lighthouse called Lanterna, which dates back to the 16th century. This lighthouse is an important "landmark" of Genova.

In 1992, Renzo Piano was credited for redesigning the Old Port. A modern aquarium and a tropical greenhouse are located there. Genova also has a university which was founded in 1243 and a few museums. Genova's maritime presence is still very strong, which can be sensed throughout the entire area.

Dining in Genova

There are many nice restaurants to choose from in Genova. From elegant "slow-food" (snail) at Le Chiocciole to simple cooking from Da Maria, there's variety for every taste.
As you visit the lovely town of Genova, you'll be able to test out many small shops offering anything from spices to condiments.

By the way, if you're a boat retailer or fan, you don't want to miss the International Nautical Show, which takes place in October each year.

Another interesting event is "The Regatta of the Ancient Sea Republics", which involves Genoa, Pisa, Venice and Amalfi engaging in a navigation competition. The regatta occurs every four years in Genova.

Genova is a great place to visit and learn about successful sea trade of old!

By Candice Pardue

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