Genoa, is a superb capital and crossroad of traffic and culture, between continental Europe and the Mediterranean, it is rich of mysterious treasures that even the Genoese find hard to acknowledge. Genoa provokes conflicting feelings, due to the fact that it is a place of contradictions: boredom and melancholy for those who dare not deepen their knowledge, but above all, admiration, amazement, fondness and an even deep passion for those who seek the hidden corners, the testimony of history spread through the maze of narrow alleys, the sumptuousness of the halls of noble palaces, concealed by the modest exterior, the savor of the sea breeze or the clear sky, swept away by the north wind. It was a city of merchants and bankers provided with great initiative (the first bill of exchange, the first Italian stock market), and was a city of navigators that changed the world with their discoveries. After a brief interlude of industrial predominance in the postwar economy, within a few years, with the construction of the aquarium, one of the biggest in Europe, and the opening of new spaces at the “Porto Antico” area, and with the recovery of the theatres and the ever increasing top level exhibitions, Genoa is gaining importance for tourism. The geographical position, at the vertex of the Ligurian Gulf where the Eastern and Western Riviera meet, enhances it’s role as a cultural bin at the disposal of even those tourists whose initial intent is to enjoy themselves in the crashing waves on the shore of a deep and clean sea. But Genoa offers much more: the abundance of churches in the maze of alleyways and the sanctuaries on the mountains which surround it, draws those who wish to gather and collect one’s thought in prayer. These sacred places, most of which are dedicated to the Holy Mary, were erected by the faithful worshipers who knew how to manage, and yet felt safer if protected by a superior guide, to refer to in time of need or to express one’s thanks. In the past, the religiousness and the soldiers pride were not so distant as it is now, and so, nearby the sanctuaries we find imposing traces of the fortifications that protected Genoa, at first the great naval republic and afterwards the most important trading port in Italy. The recent story of the Second World War and that of the Resistance against nazi-fascists has left deep wounds in the fabric of the city and in the memory of old people, but also traces in the names of streets and on the mountains, being theatre of bloody clash and sacrifices. Noble palaces, churches, forts, town walls, parks and other different cultural and historic testimony of Genoa present themselves to the visitor framed by a green garland of mountains and by the blue sea.
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