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The ancient part is characterized by a compact nucleus of old districts which can be visited in the area between the port and S. Lorenzo and between Piazza de Farrari and Via Garibaldi: these areas are famous due to their entanglement of straight alleyways – small streets which at one point didn’t even measure two metres in width but were flanked by blocks of buildings as high as 8 floors – which took the characteristic name of Carugi.
Other notable characteristics of these old districts are houses with 13th Century loggias, three-mullioned windows and quadriform, not to mention the marmoreal decorations with bichrome marquetry. There are notable places to visit, such as the Romanesque Church of S. Donato and that of S. Maria Del Castello, having Palo-Christian origins, but rebuilt in the 12th Century and embellished during the 1400’s; the Cathedral, dedicated to S. Lorenzo, which is the highest example of a Medieval building in the City: with Romanesque-Gothic aspect and consecrated in 1118. The very same medieval characteristics can be found in Piazza S. Matteo through the Case dei Doria, which date back from between the 13th and 18th Centuries, the small church from 1125, dedicated to S. Matthew and containing the tomb of the famous admiral, Andrea Doria. Via S. Luca is also noteworthy, being one of oldest City arterials. The Palazzo S. Giorgio dates back to the medieval period – although it contains a Renaissance part from 1571 – being isolated and facing the port.

The new residential area, initiated since the 16th Century, has the present day Via Garibaldi - one of the most monumental City roads in Italy – and Via Balbi as the two principal roads: the area is characterized by pre-Baroque and Baroque buildings such as Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso, seats of the homonymous Art Gallery. The Church of SS. Annuziata is also an example of this renewed town-planning fervour, dating back to 1591/1620 and being the most grandiose and richest of Genoese Churches. From here, Via Balbi is in easy reach, hosting magnificent buildings including the University from 1634/50 and the Royal Palace which was completed in 1705. At the end of this walk, towards the area around the railway station, there’s also the marvellous Palazzo Doria or of the Prince, dating back to 1547.

The Genoese cultural life in the Renaissance and Baroque courts is testified by the presence of very famous artists such as Luca Cambiaso, Rubens, Van Dyck, and the Architect Alessi: a true and proper capital of art, opened to Europe thanks, above all, to the commercial exchange undertaken by numerous rich Genovese families.

Apart from the examples of contemporary architecture already mentioned, a worthwhile visit would be to the Monumental Staglieno Cemetery: one of the most beautiful Italian monumental cemeteries, with funeral chapels containing precious and refined architectonic parts, in a style that goes from neo-Gothic to Liberty and ends with the contemporary period.

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