Baroque and main sights in Genoa
Baroque and main sights in Genoa, written with love by Cecilia
Genoa, called Zena in Ligurian, has the largest port in Italy.
The name derives from Genua, a Latin word that alludes to the mouth of one of the site’s ancient waterways. There are other theories for the origin of the name, for example, it is thought to derive from Etruscan. The word Kainua, meaning ‘new town’ is said to have been found on a pot shard. Finally, Genoa may derive from the Greek word Xenos, meaning ‘foreigner’. In fact, it is a meeting place for foreigners, characteristic of a port city.
Genoese Baroque persuaded Liguria from the early 17th century until the mid-18th century, with the arrival of Neoclassicism. This trend affected all art forms in the Republic of Genoa. The latter at that time was led by oligarchs, very rich people who had the ambition to flaunt their wealth by not only commissioning works of art but also decorating entire buildings and constructing them.
Genoese baroque boasts splendor and elegance. It reached Genoa with four canvases, which laid the foundations for the development of the Baroque in Genoa: Barocci’s Crucifixion 1596, Rubens’ Circumcision 1605, Reni’s Assumption 1617, Miracle of St Ignatius 1620.
EVIDENCE OF BAROQUE IN GENOA
In Genoa, we can trace Baroque mainly in Catholic buildings, since during the Catholic Counter-Reformation all their rooms were renovated with decorations.
Here you can observe the Baroque in Genoa:
• Church of Saints Ambrose and Andrew, Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato: the fresco cycles inside the buildings showcase the transition from Mannerism to the new 17th-century models.
• The Cambiaso and Parodi palaces, the Doria Tursi town hall, the University palace
From the 17th to the 18th century, painters such as Caravaggio, Rubens, and Van Dyck dominated the scene. The galleries in the Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso are central to our knowledge of Genoese painting. Furthermore, Bernardo Strozzi was a great portrait painter in the wake of Rubens, and Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari focused on biblical subjects.
In both of them, we see a Caravaggio style that was to influence Luigi Miradori, known as the Genovesino.
In addition to the Baroque, there are many other places to visit in Genoa: such as the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Royal Palace Museum and the Lantern of Genoa.
Despite all this art, I think that the most beautiful thing about going to a seaside town is walking through the carruggi (small lanes).
If you decide to visit Genoa with your children, there are plenty of other fun activities to offer them: Aquarium of Genoa, Pirate galleon Neptune, Children’s City and Museum of World Cultures, to name a few.
WHAT TO EAT
Genoa offers numerous dishes both in the restaurants and in the town’s alleyways. Our typical dishes are pansoti (= typical pasta stuffed with vegetables in the shape of a triangle) with walnut sauce, cima genovese (= veal meat stuffed with peas, eggs, herbs, cheese, and pine nuts), fried squid, and anchovies that can be found in the fryers around the city.
These are my favorite restaurants: Trattoria Ugo, The Genovese, Antica Friggitoria Carega, Trattoria Sciamadda.
Finally, you can not miss the small surrounding villages: Camogli, Recco, and Santa Margherita Ligure, little pearls on the sea.
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