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Key city information

Population: 608 k
Area: 244 km2
Time zone: UTC+1/+2


The Genoa historical center is located by the sea. Its port, Porto Antico, contains museums, an aquarium, a conference center, libraries, shops and a touristic harbor.

Further inland beyond the port, on the hill on which Santa Maria di Castello church is located, is the most ancient part of the historical area.

This is where the typical Roman new town, castrum, was located. There were also pre-Roman archeological remains found in this area. The medieval town was situated inside the 1155 city wall. Its economic power was located in the buildings around Banchi square and the Ripa portico, its political power in San Giorgio Palace and from the last part of the 13th century in Ducale Palace and its religious power around San Lorenzo cathedral.

In the middle ages, the ruling noble families lived in elegant palaces around small private squares, such as Cattaneo, Sauli, Dei Giustiniani, De Marini and San Matteo squares. Many prestigious palaces were chosen to give hospitality to eminent visitors.

One of the most significant architectural expressions of the 16th century is Via Garibaldi. One can visits its beautiful palaces that give a good indication of the Genoa’s economic and political power in this period. These palaces now contain the most important of Genoa’s museums, banks and public institutions. The famous painter, Rubens, came to Genoa in 1622, drew the plans and elevations of the most important people in Antwerp.

To the west of Via Garibaldi is Via Balbi, created in the first part of the 17th century using the same urban model as Via Garibaldi. This street contains magnificent palaces, the most important of which are Reale palace that hosts the National Gallery, The University building that used to be a Jewish college and Pallaco Durazzo Pallavicini that now contains the rich private collection of paintings.

In the 19th century De Ferrari square became the economic heart of the city. The following, new roads were built from this square: Via XXV Aprile, Via Roma, Galleria Mazzini and Via XX Settembre whose palaces were built in an eclectic style.

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