Genoa Visitor information
Genoa is the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy, with a population of over 608,000 within its administrative limits on a land area of 243.6 km2 (94 sq mi). The urban zone of Genoa extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of almost 720,000. The urban area of Genoa has a population of about 800,000. In the metropolitan area live over 1.5 million people and Genoa is one of Europe's largest cities on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy.
Genoa has been nicknamed la Superba ("the Superb one") due to its glorious past and impressive landmarks. Part of the old town of Genoa was inscribed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO) in 2006. The city's rich art, music, gastronomy, architecture and history allowed it to become the 2004 European Capital of Culture. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.
Genoa, which forms the southern corner of the Milan-Turin-Genoa industrial triangle of north-west Italy, is one of the country’s major economic centres. The city has hosted massive shipyards and steelworks since the 19th century, and its solid financial sector dates back to the Middle Ages. The Bank of Saint George, founded in 1407, is among the oldest in the world and plays an important role in the city’s prosperity since the middle of the 15th century. Today a number of leading Italian companies are based in the city, including Fincantieri, Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo STS and Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone.
The average yearly temperature is around 19 °C (66 °F) during the day and 13 °C (55 °F) at night. In the coldest months: December, January and February, the average temperature is 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 6 °C (43 °F) at night. In the warmest months – July and August – the average temperature is 27.5 °C (82 °F) during the day and 21 °C (70 °F) at night. Generally – summers/holiday season lasts about 4 to 6 months, from May/June to September/October.
Genoa's history goes back to ancient times. The first historically known inhabitants of the area are the Ligures. A city cemetery, dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC, testifies to the occupation of the site by the Greeks, but the fine harbor was probably in use much earlier, perhaps by the Etruscans. It is also probable that the Phoenicians had bases in Genoa, or in the nearby area, since an inscription with an alphabet similar to that used in Tyre has been found.
In the Roman era, Genoa was overshadowed by the powerful Marseille and Vada Sabatia, near modern Savona. Different from other Ligures and Celt settlements of the area, it was allied to Rome through a foedus aequum ("Equal pact") in the course of the Second Punic War. It was therefore destroyed by the Carthaginians in 209 BC. The town was rebuilt and, after the end of the Carthaginian Wars, received municipal rights. The original castrum henceforth expanded towards the current areas of Santa Maria di Castello and the San Lorenzo promontory. Genoese trades included skins, wood, and honey. Goods were shipped to the mainland from Genoa, up to major cities like Tortona and Piacenza.
The medieval gates of Genoa are a rare survivor of the city's oldest buildings.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Genoa was occupied by the Ostrogoths. After the Gothic War, the Eastern Romans made it the seat of their vicar. When the Lombards invaded Italy in 568, the Bishop of Milan fled and held his seat in Genoa. Pope Gregory the Great was closely connected to these bishops in exile, for example involving himself the election of Deusdedit. The Lombards, under King Rothari, finally captured Genoa and other Ligurian cities in about 643. In 773 the Lombard Kingdom was annexed by the Frank empire; the first Carolingian count of Genoa was Ademarus, who was given the title praefectus civitatis Genuensis. Ademarus died in Corsica while fighting against the Saracens. In this period the Roman walls, destroyed by the Lombards, were rebuilt and extended.
For the following several centuries, Genoa was little more than a small centre, slowly building its merchant fleet which was to become the leading commercial carrier of the Mediterranean Sea. The town was sacked and burned in 934 by North African pirates and likely abandoned for a few years.