All-purpose, multifacated, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic city, Genoa, main city of the region of Liguria, extends along its own bay between Voltri to the West and Nervi to the East.
Famous as the "Superba" or "Dominator of the Seas", the city anchors its history to its naval and commercial traditions. Thanks to these traditions, in the XI century, the Republic of Genoa became one of the most important naval strongholds of the Mediterranean and it extended its dominion over the whole territory of Liguria.
The Old Port is today part of the city, thanks to the excellent refurbishments achieved by the locally born architect Renzo Piano, in a perfect mixture between old and new in suggestive forms and colours. Famous examples of the old part of the city are "The Lanterna" (light tower) and awesome view offered by the antique houses of Ripa Maris, whilst of the modern: Il Bigo (a panoramic lift in a modern monument dedicated to the cranes of the port) and La Bolla (an enormous glass house with the shape of a crystal ball where tropical plants and wildlife grow) both of Renzo Piano, the Aquarium, the Cotton Houses, the Galata Museum of the Sea (dedicated to the Trans Atlantic journeys of the Italian emigrants towards the United States in late '800 and early '900).
The old town center is one of the largest in all Europe and it offers a new bright ambience, since the whole area, known as the "Strade Nuove" where the mansions of the "Rolli" Family are located , has been completely refurbished about 10 years ago and declared from the UNESCO as part of the "World Heritage List".
The urban structure of the city center is a maze of narrow roads and alleys.
The Palazzo Ducale was the home of the Dogi (Dukes) and seat of government of the Republic of Genoa, whilst today it is a World famous exhibition center.
The building has been subject to refurbishments over the centuries: the architect Andrea Cerasole (famous as the Vannone), at the end of '500 rebuilt it and attached it to the nearby Fieschi and Abbati medieval mansions, the Town Hall and the Tower del Popolo. In the '700, after a large fire, the central part was rebuilt with Neoclassic forms.
The Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo is a "Historic Factory", started in the early years of the XII century in Romanesque style and completed later in Gothic style. The rose window was built in '400, the left tower in 1450 and the lodge is dated a century later. It is an overlap of architectonic styles: the Gothic nave with Romanesque capitals and columns, wall frescos of the Baroque period by Luca Cambiaso and Giovanni Battista Castello and an important altar of the '800 situated under the dome, achieved in 1536 by Galeazzo Alesi.
Not to miss are the historic Villas built in out standing park settings such as: Villa Pallavicini in Pegli with its collection of wild camelia and the Park of Nervi with its luxuriant rose garden. Genoa extends its territory inland uphill and offers memorable panoramas over the environment. Worth a trekking visit are the fortified walls, on the mountain side of the city, with its Forts, such as the Fort Sperone, where today in the Summer Season live shows are performed.
Genoa is also known as the "city of theatres": the "Opera House of Carlo Felice" and lo "Stabile" are the two public production theatres, whilst the privately owned ones are: Teatro della Tosse(of the Cough), Teatro Garage, Teatro dell'Archivolto, Teatro della Gioventù (of the Youth), Teatro Duse and the Politeama.