Top Historic Sights in Genoa, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Genoa

Doge's Palace

The Doge"s Palace was once the home of the Doges of Genoa. It is now a museum and a centre for cultural events and arts exhibitions. It is situated in the heart of the city, with two different entrances and façades, the main one on Piazza Matteotti, and the second one on Piazza De Ferrari. The first parts of the Palace were built between 1251 and 1275, during the flourishing period of the Republican history of Geno ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Genoa, Italy

Genoa Cathedral

Genoa Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Lawrence (San Lorenzo), and is the seat of the Archbishop of Genoa. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118 and was built between the twelfth century and the fourteenth century as fundamentally a medieval building, with some later additions. Various altars and chapels have been erected between the 14th and 15th centuries. The small loggia on the north-eastern tower ...
Founded: 1118 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Diocesan Museum

The Diocesan museum of Genoa is located is found inside the old residence of the canons of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and is accessible through the cloister of San Lorenzo. The cloister, built in the 12th century, is characterized by two levels of arches resting on double Romanesque columns with leaved capitals. In the 17th century two sides of the building were modified, with the double columns substituted with heavy p ...
Founded: 2000 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Porta Soprana

Porta Soprana is the best-known gate of the ancient walls of Genoa. After major restorations carried out between the 19th and 20th centuries, it has regained the appearance it supposedly had at the time of the construction of the so-called Barbarossa walls (1150 ca.).
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Porta dei Vacca

The monumental Porta dei Vacca gate was one of three built from 1155 as part of a defensive wall system. It"s characteristic circular towers are shared by the other surviving gate, Porta Soprana.
Founded: 1155 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Santa Maria delle Vigne

Santa Maria delle Vigne is a Roman Catholic basilica church in Genoa, northern Italy. It is known from the 10th century. The main altar was completed in 1730 by Giacomo Antonio Ponsonelli. The church is also the final resting place of the leading early Italian composer Alessandro Stradella, who was murdered in 1682.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Genoa, Italy

San Siro Church

One of the oldest churches in Genoa, San Siro occupies the site of a former church originally dedicated to the apostles. In later centuries, the church was renamed after St Syrus of Genoa, a beatified bishop. Originally the cathedral of Genoa, it stood outside of the original walls, and was vulnerable to attacks from Saracen pirates; the title of Cathedral was transferred to San Lorenzo. There is another church dedicated ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Genoa, Italy

Palazzo Reale

Construction of the present Palazzo Reale began in 1618 for the Balbi family. From 1643-1655, work renewed under the direction of the architects Pier Francesco Cantone and Michele Moncino. In 1677, the palace was sold to the Durazzo Family, who enlarged the palace under the designs of Carlo Fontana. In 1823, the palace was sold to the Royal House of Savoy. From 1919, the palace has belonged to the state. The palace con ...
Founded: 1618 | Location: Genoa, Italy

San Donato Church

San Donato dates from the 12th century and is in Romanesque style. It became a parish under archbishop Siro il Porcello, and was consecrated on May 1, 1189. After the bombardment of 1684 it was restored several times, being again consecrated on December 4, 1892. Other restorations in 1946-1951 have kept its Romanesque appearance. The interior contains a Madonna by the 14th-century painter Nicolò da Voltri; a St ...
Founded: 1189 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato construction was begun by the Franciscans in 1520 in a site previously occupied by the small church of Santa Maria del Prato, belonging to the Humiliati. Works were however halted in 1537, and in 1591 the Lomellini family continued the reconstruction, directed by Taddeo Carlone. In the early 17th century the rich Baroque decoration was executed, with Andrea Ansal ...
Founded: 1520 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Porta Siberia

Porta Siberia is a massive gate, dating back to 1551-53. It was the work of Galeazzo Alessi and once formed part of the 16th-century walls. Its name derives from 'cibaria' (foodstuffs), for it was through this gate that the city"s produce passed, both on arrival from the sea and departure towards other ports in the Mediterranean.Once used as a customs area, after the Old Port was restructured it was turned ...
Founded: 1551 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Santo Stefano Church

Santo Stefano church is one of the most outstanding examples of Romanesque architecture in Genoa. It was founded in the Middle Ages as part of an abbey, in the place where previously a 6th-century small church, entitled to St. Michael Archangel, was located. The most ancient document mentioning Santo Stefano dates from 965, although some scholars attribute its foundation in 972 to the then bishop of Genoa, Theodulf, who r ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Genoa, Italy

Santa Maria di Castello

Santa Maria di Castello is a church and religious complex located in the Castello hill of the city, where in the Middle Ages a bishop"s fortified castle existed. The church is flanked by the large Tower of the Embriaci. The church, in Romanesque style, was erected before 900 AD. It houses many artworks commissioned by the main noble families of Genoa, by artists such as Francesco Maria Schiaffino, Lorenzo Fas ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Genoa, Italy

D'Albertis Castle

The Castello d"Albertis was the home of sea captain Enrico Alberto d"Albertis, and was donated to the city of Genoa on his death in 1932. D"Albertis designed the castle in the style of an architectural collage with a Gothic revival appearance inspired by palaces in Florence and castles of Aosta Valley. It currently houses the Museo delle Culture del Mondo (Museum of World Cultures), inaugurated in 2004. Er ...
Founded: 1886 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Lighthouse of Genoa

The Lighthouse of Genoa (Lanterna di Genova) serves as a symbol and a landmark for Genoa. Built of masonry, at 76 m it is the world"s fifth tallest lighthouse and the second tallest 'traditional' one. Between 1543 and the construction of the lighthouse on Île Vierge, France in 1902, it was the tallest lighthouse in the world. When measured as a whole with the natural rock on which it stands, as it is commo ...
Founded: 1543 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini

The Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini is a villa with notable 19th-century park in the English romantic style and a small botanical garden. The park and botanical garden are open daily. The estate was begun in the late 17th century by Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi, who established the Giardino botanico Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi at that time. Today"s remarkable park was created by her nephew Ignazio Alessandro Pallavicini after ...
Founded: 1840 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Diamante

Forte Diamante is one of the most characteristic forts of Genoa"s entire network of defensive walls. It was built in 1758 right on the summit of Monte Diamante, at about 667 metres above sea level. Its position overlooking the Polcevera and Bisagno valleys and its distance from the city centre made this fort the city"s first defensive bastion against raids from the North.
Founded: 1758 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Basilica di Nostra Signora Assunta

Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption (Basilica di Nostra Signora Assunta) was constructed during 1610–1624. The Baroque-style facade was added in 1932, design of the architect Piero de Barbieri; the sculptor Luigi Venzano contributed the facade statues of St. John the Baptist and St. Joseph, while the central relief depicts the Madonna. The interior was decorated across the centuries and includes works by Giulio ...
Founded: 1610-1624 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Mackenzie Castle

The Mackenzie Castle is a historical manor in the Castelletto quarter of Genoa. It is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. The castle was built on a pre-existing country villa, in turn located on the site of the 16th century Genoese walls. Built in 1893-1905, it was designed in Gothic revival style by Art Nouveau architect Gino Coppedè under commission by Evan Mackenzie, an insurance broker, whose family liv ...
Founded: 1893 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Begato

Fortified with angular bastions around a central courtyard and supported by a broad embankment, this mighty fort complex was built between 1818 and 1831 by the Savoy Corps of Engineers. It was able to house 840 soldiers and 41,000 kilos of ammunition in its gunpowder magazine; it also had 1500 square meters of storehouses. Renovation was carried out between the late 20th century and the early 21st century, subsidised by ...
Founded: 1818-1831 | Location: Genoa, Italy

San Siro di Struppa

San Siro di Struppa is a Romanesque-style church in Struppa, a neighborhood of Genoa. Benedictine abbey was founded here in the Middle Ages, entitled to St. Syrus of Genoa, who, according to the tradition, was born here. A church existed here, most likely, since the 5th century AD, but it is documented only in 955. In 1025 bishop Landulf I of Genoa gave it the Benedictines. The church was most likely rebuilt in the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Sperone

Forte Sperone is the heart of Genoa"s 19th-century fortifications, located right at the apex of the 'Mura Nuove' (new walls) from 1630, which to this day take the shape of mighty ramparts nestled in the hills behind the city centre.The fort"s main entrance, with the Savoy coat of arms above it, is protected by a moat and a heavy gate that was once connected to a drawbridge via two chains; other importa ...
Founded: 1747 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Crocetta

Built during the Napoleonic period at 157 metres above sea level, on a site that was also once home to a monastery, Forte Crocetta was reconstructed by the Sardinian Corps of Engineers between 1818 and 1830.
Founded: 1818-1830 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Puin

This is one of the best-preserved forts of those that formed the 19th-century defence system of the city of Genoa. Located in a spectacular setting overlooking the entire Parco delle Mura, the fort has been used for several years now by Genoa Town Council as an observation point to spot wildfires.Puin Fort also serves as a shelter and meeting/resting place for school groups and hikers.
Founded: 1815-1830 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Monteratti

Forte Monteratti is a military barracks in Genoa built between 1831 and 1842 by the Government of the House of Savoy to defend the area’s highest peak, Monte Ratti (hence the name given to the barracks), situated behind Genoa’s Quezzi and Bavari districts.
Founded: 1831-1842 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Quezzi

Built during the 18th century at 289 metres above sea level, this fort was restored in the 19th century. Damaged during the Second World War, it is now abandoned.
Founded: 1747-1800 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Richelieu

Rising on the Camaldoli hills at 415 metres above sea level, this fort owes its name to Cardinal Armand du Plessis de Richelieu, who defended the city during the siege of 1746-47. Built in the 18th century, it was later renovated in the 19th century.
Founded: 1747-1809 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Castellaccio

The walls of Forte Castellaccio also comprise the 19th-century Torre della Specola (1817-1820), built in a polygon shape using red brickwork, from which a large cannon was fired every day at 12 noon until just before the Second World War. The Torre houses a Meteorological Observatory belonging to the Hydrographical Institute of the Italian Navy.
Founded: 1818-1836 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.