• Celebrations in honour of San Giovanni Battista
    Celebrations in honour of San Giovanni Battista

  • The Polcevera Valley Palio of the Bronze Table
    The Polcevera Valley Palio of the Bronze Table

  • Giuseppe Mazzini - tricolore - Rinaldi©genovacittadigitale
    Giuseppe Mazzini

  • Goffredo Mameli - Inno - ©museidigenova
    Goffredo Mameli

  • Eugenio Montale - plaque with poetry taken from "Ossi di Se Robertk9410 (CC 4.0)
    Eugenio Montale

  • Fabrizio de Andrè
    Fabrizio de Andrè

  • Ridolfo Bigordi del Ghirlandaio (attr.) - Portrait of Christopher Columbus - 152
    Cristoforo Colombo

  • Paolo Villaggio - Foto: Elena Torre  CC BY-SA 2.0
    Paolo Villaggio

  • Eugène Delacroix, Portrait of Niccolò Paganini
    Niccolò Paganini

  •  Confraternities in procession - Foto: Molinari @genovacittadigitale
    Processioni delle Casacce

  • mezzero genovese
    Crafts

History and traditions

It’s only natural to expect a city like Genoa to have a soul rich in traditions and celebrations. And indeed, its history begins in the fifth century BC, it was one of the Maritime Republics, and it has always asserted its independence in defiance of the powers of past times. Today it is one of Italy’s main ports, and in 2004 was proclaimed European Capital of Culture.

The whole year round, Genoa’s streets, squares and seas become the stage for historic parades and pageants, such as the one commemorating the triumphant return from the Holy War of Guglielmo Embriaco, alias Testadimaglio (William the Drunkard, alias Mallet Head), with the Sacro Catino (Holy Bowl), a relic on display today at the Museum of San Lorenzo. Another such tradition is the Palio Marinaro di San Pietro, which is contested at the end of June every year in the waters off Genoa’s Riviera di Levante or Eastern Riviera.

Another age-old custom, the tradition of the nativity scenes, brings its magnificent constructions and ancient figurines to the Ligurian capital. One of them is on permanent display at the Palazzo Reale, while many others are open to the public from October until spring.

There is no shortage of celebrations and events in honour of Genoa’s patron saint, San Giovanni Battista, who is commemorated on the 24th of June, which is a public holiday for all Genoese. Yet another saint who is commemorated is San Francesco da Paola, patron saint of sailors and hence an important tradition for the city: still today the “campana del mare” or “bell of the sea” rings out every evening.

Genoa’s traditions hold many wonders in store, to be experienced and discovered in order to appreciate the spirit of its centuries-old history.

 

San Francesco da Paola - foto www.sanfrancescodapaola.com

San Francesco di Paola, or Saint Francis of Paola, was born in Paola, on the coast of Calabria, on 27 March 1416; at 12 years old, he took the Franciscan...

Celebrations in honour of San Giovanni Battista

San Giovanni Battista is the saint protector of Genoa and he is celebrated on the day of his birth on June 24th.

...
Il Palio di San Pietro - 01/07/2012 - Bagni S. Nazaro

On June 29th (or the Sunday closest to that date), Genoa celebrates a Saint traditionally linked with the sea: the "Fisherman Saint" Peter,...

The Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics - Amalfi 2012 - Giordanella -

The Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics (also known as the Palio delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare) is a sports...

The Polcevera Valley Palio of the Bronze Table

Between the end of August and the first day of September, since 1991 Pontedecimo holds the Palio of the Bronze Table.

The initiative celebrates the...

Genoa's Nativity Scenes - Madonnetta - Rinaldi - ©genovacittadigitale

"No nativity scene here is the same as any other… each differs in size and in detail.  Some are masterpieces of good taste and...

Il Confeugo - 2012 - Verner - ©genovacittadigitale

The ceremony of the Confeugo takes up an old tradition of the Republic of Genoa, documented since the 14th century but probably dating back even further....

The Medieval Pageant of Genoa - Amalfi 2012 - Giordanella - ©genovacittadigitale

The Medieval Pageant of Genoa re-enacts a historical event from the year 1101: the triumphant return of the Genoese condottiere Guglielmo Embriaco (known as...

Giuseppe Mazzini - tricolore - Rinaldi©genovacittadigitale

Giuseppe Mazzini was born in Genoa, in Via Lomellini, on 22 June1805, to Giacomo, a former Jacobean university professor, and Maria Drago. He took a keen...

Goffredo Mameli - Inno - ©museidigenova

Goffredo Mameli was born in Genoa on 5 September  1827 to an Admiral of the Sardinian Navy and the Marchioness Adelaide Zoagli Lomellini.
The...

Eugenio Montale - plaque with poetry taken from "Ossi di Se Robertk9410 (CC 4.0)

Eugenio Montale was a fundamental Italian poet and writer and was born in Genoa on October 12th in 1896...

Fabrizio de Andrè

Fabrizio De Andrè, or “Faber” as he was nicknamed by his friend Paolo Villaggio, does not need to be introduced. He is considered one of the...

Ridolfo Bigordi del Ghirlandaio (attr.) - Portrait of Christopher Columbus - 152

Cristoforo Colombo was born in Genoa in 1451, from Domenico Colombo and Susanna Fontanarossa.

There is little information about his childhood, but...

Paolo Villaggio - Foto: Elena Torre  CC BY-SA 2.0

Actor, writer, comedian, humorist, screenwriter and tv host Paolo Villaggio was born in Genoa on December 30th in 1932.

We all remember him as the...

Eugène Delacroix, Portrait of Niccolò Paganini

The violinist, composer and guitarist Niccolò Paganini was one of the most relevant musician of the Italian 19th century. He is considered...

 Confraternities in procession - Foto: Molinari @genovacittadigitale

From the first days of spring until November there are more than 200 religious processions in Genoa. They are called ”processioni delle Casacce...

Details in San Lorenzo Cathedral

The earliest settlements in the Genoa area are pre-Roman, dating to around the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

Publius Cornelius Scipio made use of...

mezzero genovese

What can lovers of traditional crafts find in Genoa? Genoa’s handicraft culture is above all ...