Genoa (Genova in Italian) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria.
The city has a population of about 610,000 and the urban area has a population of about 900,000. Genoa's Metropolitan Area has a population of about 1,400,000. It is also called la Superba ("the Superb one") due to its glorious past. Part of the old city of Genoa was inscribed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO) in 2006 (see below). The city's rich art, music, gastronomy, architecture and history, made it 2004's EU Capital of culture.
Genoa's history goes back to ancient times
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.
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.
Where to stay:
Official Website: http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/liguria/genoa.html
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