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Genoa The Marvelous City

“You see in Genoa a city in the act of ruling, seated on rough hillsides, superb in walls and men”. Francesco Petrarca, 1358 Genoa is both a physical and mental experience that grows on you the more you become acquainted with the city. For Genoa is impossible to grasp at first glance. Built on a narrow strip running east/west, hemmed in between the towering Apennines, rugged hills and the sea to the south, it is a city that has long been a major player down through history with an enviable story of intense, game-changing moments. Genoa’s many facets are revealed only after viewing it from many angles. It can appear a small, cramped city crouching between barriers on both sides, obliged to reach out both eastwards and westwards. It is also a multilayered city with centuries of history. Two valleys, the Polcevera and Bisagno, running at right angles from the coast connect Genoa with the Po Valley beyond the mountains. Today, Genoa is both the mediaeval city that rose up on the banks of the River Bisagno but also "Greater Genoa" that includes 19 municipal areas stretching from east to west along a 20 km coastline and the urban, industrial and commercial fabric penetrating more than 15 km into the Polcevera Valley. Genoa is a city with many "hearts" but one soul that has continued to thrive despite everything. Its character has been forged down the ages by courage, strength and vision that have enabled it to remain contemporary in every age. Despite its small size and the prevailing politics in Europe and the Mediterranean that "big is good", Genoa has demonstrated over the centuries that geographical constraints and small size are only relative considerations in the struggle to play a strategic economic, social, cultural and political role. Geographical location does not necessarily ensure success. In Genoa's case, it obviously was what drove the city to become a trading seafaring city. But what has always made...

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