Castelletto - Righi
Castelletto is the name of the hill located above the Historic Centre of Genoa. It is a residential area with a lot of green areas from which it is possible to enjoy a suggestive view over the city, it is a beloved destination for tourists and inhabitants.
For centuries the area remained outside the city walls: only in the 17th century it was included within the city, after the renewal of the fortified walls.
Today the belvedere Montaldo, better known as Spianata Castelletto, is linked to Piazza Portello thanks to an elevator that dates back to the early years of the 20th century, its point of arrival is a liberty stained glass loggia. The belvedere has a panoramic terrace that overlooks the Porto Antico, the palaces of Strada Nuova and the roofs of the Historic Centre.
In this area of the city there is no lack of palaces, monuments and buildings of historic, artistic and cultural interest. The stately Albergo dei Poveri is very famous, it is a building that dates back to the 17th century built thanks to Emanuele Brignole. After being a recovery for citizens in need, today it hosts the University of Genoa.
There are many parks and villas in the area, such as Villa Gruber, Villa Pallavicino named “delle Peschiere”, Villa Gropallo and Villetta Di Negro. The last one belongs to the municipality and is open to the public: in its gardens many Mediterranean and exotic plants blossom, there is a waterfall and inside the building you can visit the Museo d’Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone, one of the most important collections of Chinese and Japanese art in Europe.
It is impossible to talk about Castelletto without mentioning Castello D’Albertis and its beautiful park: it was built in the 19th century in Neoromantic style by the will of the explorer Enrico Alberto D’Albertis and was bequeathed to the Municipality of Genoa by the owner, together with the immense collection that he had managed to assemble during his various travels in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Today this patrimony is the heart of the Museo delle Culture del Mondo set up in the castle.
There are also different religiuos buildings: some ancient churches and the sinagoge, aggregation point of the Jewish community and residence of the Jewish Museum.
Another hilly district is the one of Righi, once it was called Porta Chiappe: even here nature and the spectacular view over Genoa are the protagonists. Over the majestic forts, it is possible to visit the Astronominc Observatory, the seminary of the city and typical restaurants and trattorias.
Moreover, Righi is the point of arrival of the funicolar inaugurated in 1897, which today is still active and is located 300 meters above the sea. The New Walls built in the 17th century extend on the ridge line.
This place is ideal to practice many sports: it is possible to go through the Peralto park in mountain bike or jog thanks to dedicated trails; practice archery in the dedicated field or walk from one fort to another. The Castellaccio complex comprehends its fort and Torre Specola in “Pian delle Forche”, that owes its name to an old practice: here the Genoese people were used to hang prisoners sentenced to death.
These fortifications were built or reinforced in the 17th century after the attack perpetuated against the Republic of Genoa by Carlo Emanuele I di Savoia, know as Testa di Fuoco (Fire Head) for his military skills.