Friday, October 12, 2012

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Alacrity, Psalms 111:1-6, Luke 11:15-26, Bl. Maria Teresa Fasce, Genoa Italy

Friday, October 12, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Alacrity, Psalms 111:1-6, Luke 11:15-26, Bl. Maria Teresa Fasce, Genoa Italy

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 
Year of Faith: October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  alacrity  a·lac·ri·ty [uh-lak-ri-tee]

Origin:  1500–10;  < Latin alacritās,  equivalent to alacri ( s ) lively + -tās- -ty2

1. cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness: We accepted the invitation with alacrity.
2.liveliness; briskness.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 111:1-6

1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my heart, in the meeting-place of honest people, in the assembly.
2 Great are the deeds of Yahweh, to be pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendour and majesty his work, his saving justice stands firm for ever.
4 He gives us a memorial of his great deeds; Yahweh is mercy and tenderness.
5 He gives food to those who fear him, he keeps his covenant ever in mind.
6 His works show his people his power in giving them the birthright of the nations.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 11:15-26

Jesus was driving out a devil, but some of the people said, 'It is through Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that he drives demons out.' Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, 'Any kingdom which is divided against itself is heading for ruin, and house collapses against house.
So, too, with evil one: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom last? - since you claim that it is through Beelzebul that I drive demons out. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I drive demons out, through whom do your own sons drive them out? They shall be your judges, then. But if it is through the finger of God that I drive demons out, then the kingdom of God has indeed caught you unawares. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own home, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than himself attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

'Anyone who is not with me is against me; and anyone who does not gather in with me throws away. 'When an unclean spirit goes out of someone it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and not finding one it says, "I will go back to the home I came from." But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied, it then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, and so that person ends up worse off than before.'

• Today's Gospel speaks about a long discussion around the expulsion of a mute demon which Jesus had before the people.

• Luke 11, 14-16: Three diverse reactions in the face of that expulsion. Jesus was casting out devils. Before this very visible fact, before everyone, there were three different reactions. People were surprised, astonished and applauded. Others said: "it is in the name of Beelzebul that he casts out devils". The Gospel of Mark tells us that it was a question of the Scribes who had gone to Jerusalem to control the activity of Jesus (Mk 3, 22). Others still asked for a sign from heaven, because they were not convinced by such an evident sign such as the expulsion done in front of all the people.

• Luke 11, 17-19: Jesus shows the incoherence of the enemies. Jesus uses two arguments to confirm the accusation of casting out the devil in the name of Beelzebul. In the first place, if the demon casts out the devil himself, he divides himself and will not survive. In the second place, Jesus gives them back their argument: If I cast out the demons in name of Beelzebul, your disciples cast them out in whose name? With these words, they were also casting out demons in the name of Beelzebul.

• Luke 11, 20-23: Jesus is the strongest man who has come, a sign of the arrival of the Kingdom. Here Jesus leads us to the central point of his argument: "When a strong man, fully armed guards his own home, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than himself attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil". According to the opinion of the people of that time, evil one dominated the world through the demons. He was a strong and well armed man who guarded his house. The great novelty was the fact that Jesus succeeded to cast out the demons. This was a sign that he was and is the strongest man who has come. With the coming of Jesus the kingdom of Beelzebul was declining: "But if it is through the finger of God that I drive devils out, then the kingdom of God has indeed caught you unawares". When the magi of Pharaoh saw that Moses did things that they were not capable of doing, they were more honest than the Scribes before Jesus and they said: "Here is the finger of God!" (Ex 8, 14-15).

• Luke 11, 24-26: The second fall is worse than the first one. At the time of Luke in the years 80's, a time of persecution, many Christians returned back and abandoned the community. They went back to live as before. To warn them and all of us, Luke keeps these words of Jesus on the second fall which is worse than the first one.

• The expulsion of the demons. The first impact caused by the action of Jesus among the people is the expulsion of the demons: "He gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him!" (Mk 1, 27). One of the principal causes of the discussion of Jesus with the Scribes was the expulsion of the devils. They slandered against him saying: "He is possessed by Beelzebul!" "It is in the name of Beelzebul, head of demons that he casts out devils!" The first power that the Apostles received when they were sent out on mission was the power to drive out demons: "He gave them authority over unclean spirits" (Mk 6 ,7). The first sign which accompanies the announcement of the Resurrection is the expulsion of demons: "The signs that will be associated with believers, in my name they will cast out demons!" (Mk 16, 17). The expulsion of devils was what struck people more (Mc 1,27). This reached the centre of the Good News of the Kingdom. By means of the expulsion Jesus restored or recovered persons to themselves. He restored them their judgment, their conscience (Mk 5, 15). And, especially, the Gospel of Mark, from beginning until the end, with almost words which are the same, constantly repeats the same image: "And Jesus cast out demons!" (Mk 1, 26.34.39; 3, 11-12. 22.30; 5, 1-20; 6, 7.13; 7, 25-29; 9, 25-27.38; 16, 17). It seems to be a refrain which is always repeated. Today, instead of always using the same words, we will use different words to transmit the same image and we will say: "The power of evil, evil one, who causes so much fear to people, Jesus overcame him, dominated him, seized him, conquered him, cast him out, eliminated him, exterminated him, destroyed him and killed him!" With this the Gospel wants to tell us that: "It is forbidden to the Christian to fear evil one!" By his Resurrection and by his liberating action, Jesus drives away from us the fear of evil one, he gives freedom to the heart, firmness in our actions and causes hope to emerge in the horizon! We should walk along the path of Jesus savouring the victory over the power of evil!

Personal questions
• To drive out the power of evil. Which is today the power of evil which standardizes people and robs from them the critical conscience?
• Can you say that you are completely free? In the case of a negative response, some part of you is under the power of other forces. What do you do in order to cast out this power which dominates you?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Blessed Maria Terese Cascia

Feast Day:  October 12
Patron Saint:  Beatified By: 12 October 1997 by Pope John Paul II

Maria Terese of Cascia was born in Torriglia, a small town near Genoa, Italy in 1881 to a middle-class family. Her parents had her baptized with the name Maria, but throughout her life, she was called "Marietta."

Although Marietta lost her mother when she was eight, she was well looked after by her older sister. Religious values were taught at home and Marietta was enrolled in school where she did well. Marietta was lively and vivacious, and she responded well to instruction.

In Genoa, she attended the Augustinian parish of Our Lady of Consolation, a place where she would be greatly inspired to her life's vocation as a nun. Marietta met her confessor there, Father Mariono Ferriello, who encouraged her to pursue her vocation. Marietta was also taught catechism there along with signing. She also learned extensively about St. Augustine, whose spirituality greatly influenced her.

The singular event, which influenced Marietta the most, however, was the canonization of St. Rita of Cascia. Pope Leo XIII canonized St. Rita on May 24, 1900. Along with the canonization, there were lectures, liturgical celebrations, and other events celebrating the life of St. Rita. This influenced Marietta to live a religious life.

Marietta had been contemplating a religious lifestyle for some time, but the canonization of St. Rita compelled her to announce her intentions to her family, who took the news badly. Marietta's brothers were particularly negative about her decision. Still, Marietta was undeterred and she felt absolutely sure she wanted to enter the convent.

Marietta applied for admission to a Ligurian Augustinian monastery, but she was rejected, news which shocked and surprised her. The monastery's abbess, Mother Giuseppina Gattarelli, explained she felt that Marietta, accustomed to life in the city, would not be able to handle the spartan rigors of a rural monastery. Still, Marietta was tenacious; she reapplied and was accepted in 1906.

Thus, in 1906, Marietta began her religious career. On Christmas night of 1906, Marietta was given her habit and one year later she took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. The name, "Teresa Eletta" was given to her.

Unfortunately for Marietta (now Maria Teresa Eletta) she discovered a monastery in crisis. A group of seven young sisters from Visso who were much more relaxed in their practice than the older sisters created a generational crisis. The levity and laughter did little to promote Maria's spiritual growth and disappointment and doubt began to develop in her mind. In June of 1910, Maria Theresa left the monastery to reexamine her decision.

However, Maria returned in May of 1911, more confirmed than ever. The following March, she made her solemn profession of the vows. She promptly protested the situation at the monastery by writing letters to the superiors. Impressed with her alacrity, she was soon appointed to Mistress of Novices in 1914. In 1917, she became Vicar, and in 1920 her sisters unanimously elected her Abbess. She would hold that position until her death in 1947.

Maria Teresa was remembered as a strict, but practical woman who was also very sweet to her community. She made clear to all that Jesus wants active, hard working brides, and that being such would be their duty. She rigidly observed the Augustinian Rule.

Despite her rigidity, her community remembered her for her great tenderness and friendliness. She was not considered a dictator, but a genuine spiritual leader with great charisma.

Maria Terese was also known for her great stamina. As abbess, she directed the construction of a new church for Saint Rita and a girl's orphanage. This project consumed much of her tenure, and in fact, the church was not completed until several months after her death.

Maria Terese also spent much of her time in illness, suffering from painful afflictions. She suffered with a malignant tumor on her right breast and was compelled to undergo two surgeries. She referred to her tumor as "her treasure" and explained that it was the most beautiful gift which Jesus had given to her. She also suffered from asthma, diabetes, and circulatory problems which caused great pain in her feet. She became very overweight and had difficulty walking. Later in her tenure, her sisters had to carry her in a chair.

Despite her pain, she never complained about her illness and she never slowed the pace of her activity. Her condition has been compared to the suffering of Christ, which like Jesus, she bore with patience and reverence.

Maria Terese died on January 18, 1947. She was laid to rest in a crypt next to her beloved St. Rita. Pope John Paul beautified her in July 1997.  Augustinians celebrate her feast day on October 12. 


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Today Snippet: Genoa Italy

Genoa (Italian: Genova; Genoese and Ligurian Zena [ˈzeːna]; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy, with a population of 608,676 within its administrative limits on a land area of 243.6 km2 (94 sq mi). The urban zone of Genoa extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 718,896. The urban area of Genoa has a population of 800,709. In the metropolitan area live between 859,000 and 1.4 million or 1.5 million people. 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 Superb one") due to its glorious past and impressive landmarks. Part of the old town of Genoa was inscribed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO) in 2006 (see below). The city's rich art, music, gastronomy, architecture and history, allowed it to become the 2004's European Capital of Culture. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.

Genoa, which forms the southern corner of the Milan-Turin-Genoa industrial triangle of north-west Italy, is one of the country’s major economic centres. The city, since the 19th century, hosts massive shipyards, oil refineries and steelworks, while its solid financial sector dates back to the Middle Ages. The Bank of Saint George is among the oldest in the world, as it was founded in 1407, playing an important role in the city’s prosperity from the middle of the 15th century. Today a number of leading Italian companies are based in the city, including Fincantieri, Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo STS and Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone.


Genua was a city of the ancient Ligurians. Its name may derive from the Latin word meaning "knee" (genu; plural, genua), i.e. "angle", from its geographical position at the centre of the Ligurian coastal arch, thus akin to the name of Geneva. Or it could derive from the Celtic root genu-, genawa (pl. genowe), meaning "mouth", i.e., estuary.


The city of Genoa covers an area of 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi) between the Ligurian Sea and the Apennine Mountains. The city stretches along the coast for about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the neighbourhood of Voltri to Nervi, and for 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the coast to the north along the valleys Polcevera and Bisagno. The territory of Genoa can then be popularly divided into 5 main zones: the centre, the west, the east, the Polcevera and the Bisagno Valley.  Genoa is adjacent to two popular Ligurian vacation spots, Camogli and Portofino. In the metropolitan area of Genoa lies Aveto Natural Regional Park.



Ancient era and early Middle Ages

Portrayal of Genoa in 1493, woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle.
Genoa's history goes back to ancient times. The first historically known inhabitants of the area are the Ligures.  A city cemetery, dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC, testifies to the occupation of the site by the Greeks, but the fine harbor was probably in use much earlier, perhaps by the Etruscans. It is also probable that the Phoenicians had bases in Genoa, or in the nearby area, since an inscription with an alphabet similar to that used in Tyre has been found.

In the Roman era, Genoa was overshadowed by the powerful Marseille and Vada Sabatia, near modern Savona. Different from other Ligures and Celt settlements of the area, it was allied to Rome through a foedus aequum ("Equal pact") in the course of the Second Punic War. It was therefore destroyed by the Carthaginians in 209 BC. The town was rebuilt and, after the end of the Carthaginian Wars, received municipal rights. The original castrum thenceforth expanded towards the current areas of Santa Maria di Castello and the San Lorenzo promontory. Genoese trades included skins, wood, and honey. Goods were shipped to the mainland from Genoa, up to major cities like Tortona and Piacenza.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Genoa was occupied by the Ostrogoths. After the Gothic War, the Byzantines made it the seat of their vicar. When the Lombards invaded Italy in 568, the Bishop of Milan fled and held his seat in Genoa. Pope Gregory the Great was closely connected to these bishops in exile, for example involving himself the election of Deusdedit. The Lombards, under King Rothari, finally captured Genoa and other Ligurian cities in about 643. In 773 the Lombard Kingdom was annexed by the Frank empire; the first Carolingian count of Genoa was Ademarus, who was given the title praefectus civitatis Genuensis. Ademarus died in Corsica while fighting against the Saracens. In this period the Roman walls, destroyed by the Lombards, were rebuilt and extended.

For the following several centuries, Genoa was little more than a small, obscure fishing centre, slowly building its merchant fleet which was to become the leading commercial carrier of the Mediterranean Sea. The town was sacked and burned in 934 by North African pirates and likely abandoned for a few years.

In the 10th century the city, now part of the Marca Januensis ("Genoese March") was under the Obertenghi family, whose first member was Obertus I. Genoa was one of the first cities in Italy to have some citizenship rights granted by local feudatories.

Middle Ages and Renaissance

Monument to Christopher Columbus.
Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state, one of a number of Italian city-states during this period. Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa was president of the city; however, actual power was wielded by a number of "consuls" annually elected by popular assembly. Genoa was one of the so-called "Maritime Republics" (Repubbliche Marinare), along with Venice, Pisa, and Amalfi and trade, shipbuilding and banking helped support one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean. The Adorno, Campofregoso, and other smaller merchant families all fought for power in this Republic, as the power of the consuls allowed each family faction to gain wealth and power in the city. 

The Republic of Genoa extended over modern Liguria and Piedmont, Sardinia, Corsica, Nice and had practically complete control of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa. Genoese Crusaders brought home a green glass goblet from the Levant, which Genoese long regarded as the Holy Grail. Not all of Genoa's merchandise was so innocuous, however, as medieval Genoa became a major player in the slave trade.

The iconic Lanterna, ancient lighthouse of Genoa built in 1543.
The collapse of the Crusader States was offset by Genoa’s alliance with the Byzantine Empire. As Venice's relations with the Byzantine Empire were temporarily disrupted by the Fourth Crusade and its aftermath, Genoa was able to improve its position. Genoa took advantage of this opportunity to expand into the Black Sea and Crimea. Internal feuds between the powerful families, the Grimaldi and Fieschi, the Doria, Spinola, and others caused much disruption, but in general the republic was run much as a business affair. In 1218–1220 Genoa was served by the Guelph podestà Rambertino Buvalelli, who probably introduced Occitan literature to the city, which was soon to boast such troubadours as Jacme Grils, Lanfranc Cigala, and Bonifaci Calvo. Genoa's political zenith came with its victory over the Republic of Pisa at the naval Battle of Meloria in 1284, and with a temporary victory over its rival, Venice, at the naval Battle of Curzola in 1298.

However, this prosperity did not last. The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347 from the Genoese trading post at Caffa (Theodosia) in Crimea, on the Black Sea. Following the economic and population collapse, Genoa adopted the Venetian model of government, and was presided over by a doge (see Doge of Genoa). The wars with Venice continued, and the War of Chioggia (1378–1381)-- where Genoa almost managed to decisively subdue Venice—ended with Venice's recovery of dominance in the Adriatic. In 1390 Genoa initiated a crusade against the Barbary pirates with help of the French and laid siege to Mahdia. Though it has not been well-studied, the fifteenth century seems to have been a tumultuous time for Genoa. After a period of French domination from 1394–1409, Genoa came under rule by the Visconti of Milan. Genoa lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to internal revolt and its Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Asia Minor colonies to the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Genoa was able to stabilize its position as it moved into the sixteenth century, particularly thanks to the efforts of Andrea Doria, who established a new constitution in 1528, making Genoa a satellite of the Spanish Empire. Under the ensuing economic recovery, many aristocratic Genoese families, such as the Balbi, Doria, Grimaldi, Pallavicini, and Serra, amassed tremendous fortunes. According to Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and others, the practices Genoa developed in the Mediterranean (such as chattel slavery) were crucial in the exploration and exploitation of the New World. Christopher Columbus, for example, was a native of Genoa and donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the Americas for Spain to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa for the relief of taxation on foods.

At the time of Genoa’s peak in the 16th century, the city attracted many artists, including Rubens, Caravaggio and Van Dyck. The famed architect Galeazzo Alessi (1512–1572) designed many of the city’s splendid palazzi, as did in the decades that followed by fifty years Bartolomeo Bianco (1590–1657), designer of centrepieces of University of Genoa. A number of Genoese Baroque and Rococo artists settled elsewhere and a number of local artists became prominent.

The plague killed as many as half of the inhabitants of Genoa in 1656–57. In May 1625 the French-Savoian army that invaded the Republic was successfully driven out by the combined Spanish and Geonese armies.In May 1684, as a punishment for Genoese support for Spain, the city was subjected to a French naval bombardment, with some 13,000 cannonballs aimed at the city.

It was occupied by Austria in 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession. This episode in the city's history is mainly remembered for the Genoese revolt, precipitated by a boy named Giovan Battista Perasso and nicknamed Balilla, who threw a stone at an Austrian official and became a national hero to later generations of Genoese (and Italians in general).

Being unable to retain its rule in Corsica, where the rebel Corsican Republic was proclaimed in 1755, in 1768 Genoa was forced by the endemic rebellion to sell its claim to Corsica to the French, in the Treaty of Versailles of 1768.

Modern history

Genoa in 1810
With the shift in world economy and trade routes to the New World and away from the Mediterranean, Genoa's political and economic power went into steady decline. In 1797, under pressure from Napoleon, Genoa became a French protectorate called the Ligurian Republic, which was annexed by France in 1805. This affair is commemorated in the famous first sentence of Tolstoy's War and Peace:
"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes.(...) And what do you think of this latest comedy, the coronation at Milan, the comedy of the people of Genoa and Lucca laying their petitions [to be annexed to France] before Monsieur Buonaparte, and Monsieur Buonaparte sitting on a throne and granting the petitions of the nations?" (spoken by a thoroughly anti-Boanapartist Russian aristocrat, soon after the news reached Saint Petersburg).
Although the Genoese revolted against France in 1814 and liberated the city on their own, delegates at the Congress of Vienna sanctioned its incorporation into Piedmont (Kingdom of Sardinia), thus ending the three century old struggle by the House of Savoy to acquire the city.

Garibaldi leading the Expedition of the Thousand
The city soon gained a reputation as a hotbed of anti-Savoy republican agitation (having its climax in 1849 with the Sack of Genoa), although the union with Savoy was economically very beneficial. With the growth of the Risorgimento movement, the Genoese turned their struggles from Giuseppe Mazzini's vision of a local republic into a struggle for a unified Italy under a liberalized Savoy monarchy. In 1860, General Giuseppe Garibaldi set out from Genoa with over a thousand volunteers to begin the conquest of Southern Italy. Today a monument is set on the rock where the patriots departed from.

In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Genoa consolidated its role as a major seaport and an important steel and shipbuilding center. During World War II Genoa suffered heavy damages. In a well-known episode, the British fleet bombarded Genoa and one shell fell into the cathedral of San Lorenzo without exploding. It is now available to public viewing on the cathedral premises. The city was liberated by the partisans a few days before the arrival of the Allies.

In the post-war years, Genoa played a pivotal role in the Italian economic miracle, as the third corner of the so-called "Industrial Triangle" of northern Italy, formed by the manufacturer hubs of Milan and Turin and the seaport of Genoa itself. Since 1962, the Genoa International Boat Show has evolved as one of the largest annually recurring events in Genoa. The 27th G8 summit in the city, in July 2001, was overshadowed by violent protests, with one protester, Carlo Giuliani, killed amid accusations of police brutality. In 2007 15 officials, who included police, prison officials and two doctors, were found guilty by an Italian court of mistreating protesters. A judge handed down prison sentences ranging from five months to five years. In 2004, the European Union designated Genoa as the European Capital of Culture, along with the French city of Lille.

Monuments and Landmarks

Genoa's historic centre is one of the widest of Europe (about 400.000 m2). The structure of its oldest part is articulated in a maze of squares and narrow caruggi (typical genoese alleys). It joins a medieval dimension with following 16th-century and baroque interventions (San Matteo square and the ancient via Aurea, now via Garibaldi). Remains of the ancient 17th-century walls are still visible nearby San Lorenzo cathedral, the most attended place of worship of Genoa.

The symbols of the city are the Lanterna (the lighthouse) (117 m high), old and standing lighthouse visible in the distance from the sea (beyond 30 km), and the monumental fountain of Piazza De Ferrari, recently restored, out-and-out core of the city's life. Another par excellence tourist destination is the ancient seaside district of Boccadasse, with its picturesque multicolour boats, set as a seal to Corso Italia, the elegant promenade which runs along the Lido d'Albaro, and renowned for its famous ice-creams. Just out of the city centre, but still part of the 33 kilometres of coast included in the municipality's territory, are Nervi, natural doorway to the Ligurian East Riviera, and Pegli, the point of access to the West Riviera.

The new Genoa most of all based its rebirth upon the restoration of the green areas of the immediate inland parts (among them the Regional Natural Park of Beigua) and upon the realization of facilities such as the Acquario in the Old Harbour - the biggest in Italy and one of the major in Europe - and its Marina (the tourist small port which holds hundreds of pleasure boats). All of this inside the restored Expo Area, arranged in occasion of the Columbian Celebrations of 1992.

The regained pride gave back to the city the consciousness of being capable of looking to the future without forgetting its past. The resumption of several flourishing hand-crafting activities, far-back absent from the caruggi of the old town, is a direct evidence of it.

The restoration of many of Genoa's churches and palaces in the 80's and the 90's contributed to the city's rebirth. A notable example the Renaissance Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, sitting on the top of the hill of Carignano and visible from almost every part of the city.

The total restoration of Palazzo Ducale - once venue of doges and senators and nowadays location of cultural events - and of the Old Harbour and the rebuilding of Teatro Carlo Felice, destroyed by the Second World War bombings that only spared the neoclassic pronao of the architect Carlo Barabino, were two more points of strength for the realization of a new Genoa.

Another monument of relevant importance that has been restored to its former beauty is the monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, in which the mortal remains of several known personalities rest, among them Giuseppe Mazzini, Fabrizio De André and Oscar Wilde's wife. With its characteristic skyline that still today gives the impression of an insurmountable fortress, it is distinguished by its thick network of hill fortifications on wide walls, that in the past war times mede the cemetery impregnable both for the ground and sea attacks. Genoa could not renounce, especially as from the 1960s, to a great renewal, which as happened in several other metropolis, should necessarily get through the realization of big council houses' complexes, whose quality, utility and functionality has been and still is constroversial for those residents living there. 

Concerning this, the most known cases are those of the so-called "biscione", a development in the shape of a long snake, situated on the hills of the populous district of Marassi, and the one of the group of houses known as "Le Lavatrici" (the washing machines), in the district of Pra'. Because of other architectonic solutions that characterised it, since a few decades Genoa has become a sort of capital of the Italian modern architecture, as well as European. This is principally owed to Renzo Piano's work, that since the end of the 1980s has been dealing with the restoration of some of the most famous cities of the world. Piano acquired notoriety as from 1992, when Genoa hosted visitors in its Old Harbour, in occasion of the Columbian Celebrations ("Colombiadi"). The waterfront was completely restored and symbolized by the stylized "Great Bigo" (a sort of trademark of the genoese portual activity). Beyond a complete restyling of the area, the ancient portual zone nearby the Mandraccio opening, in Porta Siberia, was scenographically enriched by Piano himself with a big sphere made of metal and glass, installed in the port's waters, not far from the Acquario, and unveiled in 2001 in occasion of the G8 Summit held in Genoa. The sphere (called by the citizens "Piano's bubble' or "the ball"'"), after hosting an exposition of fens from Genoa's Botanical Gardens, houses now the reconstruciton of a tropical environment, with several plants, little animals and butterflies. Piano also projected the subway's stations and, in the hills area, the construction - in collaboration with UNESCO - of Punta Nave, base of the "Renzo Piano Building Workshop".

Nearby the Old Harbour the so-called "Matitone" can be seen, especially by who crosses the city centre by way of the elevated road (the "Sopraelevata"), controversial as well as peculiar skyscraper in shape of a pencil, that lays side by side with the group of the WTC towers, core of the San Benigno development, today base of part of the Municipality's administration and of several companies.


St. Lawrence Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) is the city's Cathedral, and is built in a Romanesque-Renaissance style. Other important and major churches in Genoa include the Church of San Donato, the Church of Sant'Agostino, the Oratory of San Giacomo della Marina, the Church of Santo Stefano, San Torpete and the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato. Most of these churches and basilicas are built in the Romanesque style, even though the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato is built in a rich and elaborate Baroque style.

The cathedral was founded probably in the 5th or 6th century AD, devoted to St. Sirus, bishop of Genoa. Excavations under the pavement and in the area in front of today's façade have brought to light walls and pavements of Roman age as well as pre-Christian sarcophagi, suggesting the existence of a cemetery in the site. Later a church devoted to the Twelve Apostles was built, which was in turn flanked and replaced by a new cathedral dedicated to St. Lawrence martyr, in Romanesque style. Money came from the successful enterprises of the Genoese fleets in the Crusades.
The transferring of the cathedral favored the urbanization of the zone that, with the construction of it walls, in 1155, and the fusion of the three ancient city nuclei (castrum, civitas and burgus), became the heart of the city. The piazza, in absence of other public squares and centers of lay power, was the only city's public space for the whole Middle Ages. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118. Starting from 1133 the church had archiepiscopal rank. After the fire of 1296, provoked by fights between Guelphs and Ghibellines, the building was partly restored and partly rebuilt. Between 1307 and 1312 the façade was completed, the inner colonnades rebuilt with capitals and matronei added. The Romanesque structures remained pretty untouched, and frescoes of religious subject were also added.

Various altars and chapels have been erected between the 14th and 15th the century. The small loggia on the northeastern tower of the façade was built in 1455; the opposite one, in Mannerist style, is from 1522. In 1550 the Perugian architect Galeazzo Alessi was commissioned by the city magistrates to plan the reconstruction of the entire building; however, he executed only the covering of the nave and aisles, the pavement, the dome and the apse.

The construction of the cathedral end in the 17th century. The dome and the medieval parts were restored in 1894-1900. The actual 7 bells are tuned in the major scale of C#. Among the artworks inside the church are ceiling frescoes in a chapel on the left by Luca Cambiaso; a Crucifixion with Saints (St. Sebastian's Vision) by Barocci; before the organ is an Episode from the life of St. Lawrence by Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo; the ceiling fresco in the presbitery of Martyrdom of St Lawrence was painted by Lazzaro Tavarone; and an Assumption of the Virgin (1914) by Gaetano Previati. The church also contains 14th century Byzantine style frescos in the main portal. Sculptural works include a statue in the chapel of St. John by Domenico Gagini ; a Virgin and a St. John the Baptist by Andrea Sansovino. Other works include works by Matteo Civitali, Taddeo Carlone,and Giacomo and Guglielmo Della Porta .

The cathedral had a fortunate escape on February 9, 1941 when the city was being shelled as part of Operation Grog. Due to a crew error, the British battleship HMS Malaya fired a 381 mm armour piercing shell into the south east corner of the nave. The relatively soft material failed to detonate the fuse and the shell is still there. The Museum of the Treasury lies under the cathedral and it collects jewellery and silverware from 9 AD up to the present. One of the most important piece is the Sacred bowl brought by Guglielmo Embriaco after the conquest of Cesarea and supposed to be the chalice used by Christ during the Last Supper and the Cassa Processionale del Corpus Domini.

Buildings and palaces

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.

Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi), in the old city, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2006. This district was designed in the mid-16th century to accommodate Mannerist palaces of the city's most eminent families, including Palazzo Rosso (now a museum), Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Grimaldi and Palazzo Reale. Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso are also known as Musei di Strada Nuova. The famous art college is also located on this street.

Other landmarks of the city include Palazzo del Principe, the Old Harbour (Porto Antico), transformed into a mall by architect Renzo Piano, and the famous cemetery of Staglieno, renowned for its monuments and statues. The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art has one of the largest collections of Oriental art in Europe.

Genoa also has a large aquarium located in the above-mentioned old harbour. The port of Genoa also contains an ancient lighthouse, called "La Lanterna".



A baroque fresco in the Palazzo Rosso.
Genoa has a rich artistic history, with numerous frescos, paintings, sculptures and other works of art held in the city's abundant museums, palaces, villas, art galleries and piazzas. Genoa is the birthplace and home of the 'Ligurian School', where the key figures were several native and foreign painters, such as Rubens, Van Dyck and Bernardo Strozzi. Much of the city's art is found in its churches and palaces, where there are numerous Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo frescos, such as in the Genoa Cathedral, the Church of Gesù and the Church of San Donato. Genoa is also famous for its numerous tapestries, which decorated the city's many salons. Whilst the patrician palaces and villas in the city were and still are austere and majestic, the interiors tended to be luxurious and elaborate, often full of tapestries, many of which were Flemish.


The Genoese dialect (Zeneize) is the most important dialect of the Ligurian language, and is commonly spoken in Genoa alongside Italian. Ligurian is listed by Ethnologue as a language in its own right, of the Romance branch, and not to be confused with the ancient Ligurian language. Like the languages of Lombardy, Piedmont, and surrounding regions, it is of Gallo-Italic derivation.


The neoclassical Teatro Carlo Felice.
The Teatro Carlo Felice, built in 1828 in the city in the Piazza De Ferrari, and named for the monarch of the then Kingdom of Sardinia (which included the present regions of Sardinia, Piedmont and Liguria). The theatre was the centre of music and social life in the 19th century. On various occasions in the history of the theatre, presentations have been conducted by Mascagni, Richard Strauss, Hindemith and Stravinsky.

On the occasion of the Christopher Columbus celebration in 1992, new musical life was given to the area around the old port, including the restoration of the house of Paganini and presentations of the Trallalero, the traditional singing of Genoese dock workers. Additionally, the city is the site of the Teatro Gustavo Modena, the only theatre to have survived the bombings of World War II relatively intact. The city is the site of the Niccolò Paganini music conservatory. In the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, the ancient Abbey of Cervara is often the site of chamber music concerts.

The city has also a tradition of folk music in Genoese dialect, like the trallalero (a polyphonic vocal music, performed by five men) and several songs, including the well-known piece "Ma se ghe penso" (English: "But if I think about it"), a nostalgic memory of Genoa by an emigrant to Argentina.


Popular foods local to Genoa include pesto sauce, focaccia, farinata, stoccafisso (stockfish), and salsa di noci (walnut sauce). Pasta (usually trofie) al Pesto is probably the most iconic among Genoese foods. Pesto sauce is prepared with fresh basil, pine nuts, grated parmesan, garlic and olive oil pounded together. Another popular dish which is common to Genoa is the minestrone, a thick soup made out of several vegetables and legumes, such as potatoes, beans, green beans, cabbages, pumpkins and zucchini. Other soup dishes which are common to the city include the fish-consisting ciuppin (the precursor to San Francisco's cioppino, buridda, zemin (a soup with garbanzo beans), sbira and preboggion. Other specialties are Ravioli al sugo (Ravioeu ao tocco), Pansoti di Rapallo (round ravioli filled with hard-boiled egg, spinach and grated cheese), Cappon Magro, Pandolce (Pandoçe) and Sacripantina. Is also known for its cheese filled pizza crust (focaccia al formaggio), although it is mainly typical of Recco (a town in the eastern Riviera), not far from Genoa.


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