Enclosed between the coastal area and back-lying hills, Genoa is wedged in the Polcevera Bisagno Valleys. It’s Italy’s main port and one of the major ones in the Mediterranean.

Already important in the VII Century BC, it was destroyed (205BC) by Magone, Hannibal’s brother, due to its alliance with Rome. It was then rebuilt as a Federal City, during Caesar’s era, and the ancient Genua became the principal port of Gallia Cisalpina. Impoverished during the Imperial era, it was subjected to Byzantine, Longobard and Franco domination. During the reign of Berengario II, who permitted relevant privileges (958), it was inglobed under the Obertenga mark and flourished as a commercial port.
Due to the offer of help given to the Norman troops and by Fiandra during the 1st Crusades (1099), it obtained possessions and concessions at Antiochia, Giaffa, Cesarea, Jeruselem and San Giovanni d’Acri. The commercial development led to disagreements between Pisa and Venice: the conflict against Pisa began in 1060-62 and ended with the battle of Meloria (1284), following which Genoa took possession of Corsica, the Island of Elba and some Sardinian estates; the one against Venice (1205-1381) had uncertain developments, and notwithstanding a Genovese victory at Curzola (1298), the three successive peace treaties (the last in 1381) left the situation unchanged. Allied to the Church against Federico II (1238), it was disturbed by the feuds between the Guelphs and Ghibellines until its conquest by Carlo VI of France (1401). Under domination by the Marquis’s of Monferrato (1409-13), the Visconti’s (1421) and Francesco Sforza (1463), it returned to French hands in 1507 under Luigi XII. It was also involved in the Franco-Spanish war (1463) and pillaged by Carlo V’s troops (1522). Conquered by Andrea Doria (1528) whilst under the Spanish flag, it became independent thanks to the Madrid Convention (1528). At the end of 1630 it was the centre of Spanish traffic heading towards the Lombard region and Central Europe; Spanish decadence then pushed it to ask for help from the French against expansion ideas by the Hapsburgs and Sabaude. As part of the Napoleonic Empire (1805), it was assigned by the Congress of Vienna (1815) to the Savoia Reign. During the Second World War it underwent heavy bombardments.

Over the last twenty years, the City has known an incessant process of rebirth, both cultural and urbanistic, giving it an annual role as European Capital of Culture. To give witness to the phase, restoration was carried out in the harbour area – including the new aquarium – from plans by Renzo Piano, the reconstruction of the Carlo Felice Theatre from plans by Aldo Rossi and the reorganization of the most important museum sites of the City.

From an artistic point of view, the City has lived two particular flourishing moments: the Medieval and the period between the 16th and 17th Centuries.

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