Genoa – part 2

29 Sep

Palace Angelo Giovanni Spinola, built in the second half of the sixteenth century for the then Ambassador of the Genoa Republic in Spain, as well as personal banker of emperor Carlo V of Asburg,  was later enlarged on the back and on the ground floor by his son Giulio.
The facade is typical with bottom and top railings elegant cornice, with frescos by Lazzaro Calvi and Lazzaro Tavarone, some barely visible, celebrating their clients, in fact the various members of the noble family appear dressed as Roman leaders, a clear allusion to the value and the size of the lineage.

In the atrium, Stories of Alexander, of Lazzaro Tavarone, and Portraits of Spinola with mythological figures in the spandrels. In the building at the time of the first transfer of ownership to the Bank of France, there was a magnificent collection of paintings by Cappuccino, of Sarzana, Cambiaso, Tintoretto, Jacopo Ponte, Bassano, Raggi, Padovanino, Vanni, Guido Reni, Domenico Piola, Asseretos, Carlone, Luino, Rubens, Procaccini, Van Dick. In 1928, it was sold to the Bank of America and Italy, so it was possible to visit just the entrance hall, being the banks closed on sundays.  

Another building owned by a bank, thus closed as well, is Palace Pallavicini Cambiaso. Built for Agostino Pallavicino in 1558, the palace was owned by the family until the second half of the eighteenth century, then sold to the Cambiaso family. In 1921 he underwent a new change of ownership, in this case also changing use, from private home to offices, with the purchase of the entire building by the Bank of Naples, and then to 
the Banca Popolare di Brescia.

It seems that only private banks have enough money to buy old buildings because another example is Palace Giacomo Spinola Luccoli in Piazza Fontane Marose. Built by Giacomo Spinola between 1445 and 1459 is another historic palace registered in the Rolli list. It’s sold and bought many times but at the beginning of the nineteenth century it’s owned by the Spinola again. Located at the corner of the square Luccoli, a thirteenth century strategic location because it is close to the port of St. Catherine, it has a facade of colored bands and niches with marble statues of illustrious family members, three of which (the first, second and fourth from left) made ​​by Domenico Gagini from Bissone.

Situated in the heart of the city between the historical and the modern center, Piazza De Ferrari is renowned for its fountain, which was restored in recent years along with a major restyling of the square.Today next to Piazza De Ferrari are numerous office buildings, headquarters of banks, insurances and other private companies, making of this district the financial and business centre of Genoa, so that Genoeses popularly refer to it as the “City” of Genoa. At the end of the 19th century Genoa was the main financial centre of Italy along with Milan, and Piazza De Ferrari was the place where many institutions were established, like the stock exchange, the Credito Italiano Bank and the branch offices of the Bank of Italy, founded in 1893.

The new city wall, that surrounded the three areas of the city, namely the castrum which developed on the Castle hill, the civitas, built around the Cathedral of St. Lawrence and the burgus, shopping area around the monastro San Siro, were built in the twelfth century to defend the independence of the Republic of the expansionist intentions of the Emperor Barbarossa, from which they took their name. The realization of this work, which was finished in record time between 1155 and 1159, is due to the materially and financially partecipation of the vast majority of the inhabitants. In 1161 were built the 3 doors (along with two towers) called Soprana, Aurea (now disappeared) and the Holy Faith . Porta Soprana (Soprana Gates) lead to the entrance of the city for anyone who came from the east. 

Below, the Museum Luzzati. Seat of the museum is the old gate of the pier Porta Siberia, designed and built by the architect Galeazzo Alessi in the sixteenth century. It was restored in 1992 with the whole area of the Old Port designed by Genoese architect Renzo PianoThe door was used in the 80s, before restoration, for musical performances by Circle Art and Music. Today it houses the museum, the City of Genoa in 2001 wanted to call it after the set designer and illustrator Genovese Emanuele Luzzati

The Palazzo San Giorgio is located in a square looking on the Old Port. The palace was built in 1260 by Guglielmo Boccanegra, uncle of Simone Boccanegra, the first Doge of Genoa. For the construction of the new palace, materials were used from the demolition of the Venetian embassy in Constantinople, having been obtained from Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII as a reward for Genoese aid against the Latin Empire. Stone lions, the emblem of Venice’s patron St Mark were displayed as trophies on the facade by her bitter rival, the Republic of Genoa. The palace was intended — through the creation of a civil-political center — to separate and elevate the temporal power of the Republic’s government from the religious power of the clergy, centered on the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. In 1262, Guglielmo Boccanegra was deposed and forced into exile. The palace was used for a time as a prison; Marco Polo was its most famous resident and it was there that he dictated his memoirs to Rustichello of Pisa.

The Old Port is a part of the port of Genoa currently used as a residential neighborhood, with cultural and services centers. His rehabilitation was completed in the early nineties on the surface of what was once the heart of port activity – the kingdom of “camalli” (genoese for dockers)  that were part of the Society of Caravana (dockers corporation) – and that had remained unused for many decades. Today is in fact a huge square overlooking the sea, where there are established, in addition to the aquarium, many interesting sights, museums, exhibitions and entertainment, over an area of about 230,000 square meters, making it the largest city square. The area, is also commonly known as “Expo”, having hosted exhibitions of ‘ Expo ’92 Genova. Its total restoration was completed in 1992 upon a project of  architect Renzo Piano , on the occasion of the celebrations of the fifth centenary of the discovery of America.

Just one day, including a wedding, wasn’t surely enough. Genoa has so many treasures to show to visitors interested in history and italian culture. Well, I have family there, so I don’t need excuses to be back, right?

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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