Genoa is the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy. The urban area called Genoa Metropolitan City has an official population of 862,885. Over 1.5 million people live in the Genoa Metropolitan Area. Genoa is one of Europe’s largest cities on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy. Genoa has been nicknamed la Superba (the Proud one) due to its glorious past and impressive landmarks. The city’s rich cultural history in notably its art, music and cuisine allowed it to become the 2004 European Capital of Culture. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and Niccolò Paganini.
Genoa has a fascinating historic center said to be the largest medieval quarter in Europe, with a wealth of churches, palaces, and museums. The Renaissance and Baroque Rolli Palaces are about 80 palaces built in the 16th and early 17th centuries during the so-called Siglo de oro de los Genoveses, when Genoa was one of the economical world power. In 2006, Genoa’s Rolli Palaces were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The main features of central Genoa include Piazza De Ferrari, around which are sited the Opera and the Palace of the Doges. There is also a house where Christopher Columbus is said to have been born. Other landmarks of the city include the Porto Antico, enriched by Genoese architect Renzo Piano with a large sphere made of metal and glass (Biosphere), installed in the port’s waters, and the famous cemetery of Staglieno, renowned for its monuments and statues, in which the mortal remains of several known personalities rest, among them Giuseppe Mazzini, Fabrizio De André and Oscar Wilde’s wife.
The Aquarium of Genoa is the largest aquarium in Italy and the second largest in Europe. Built for Genoa Expo ’92, it is an educational, scientific and cultural centre. Its mission is to educate and raise public awareness as regards conservation, management and responsible use of aquatic environments. It welcomes over 1.2 million visitors a year.