Genova “the Superba” and its beautiful lighthouse

Genoa (Italian, Genova) is a historical port city in northern Italy, the capital of the Region of Liguria.

Genoa, nicknamed “the Superba” by Francesco Petrarca, may be less known by major tourist operators, but its splendor is often hidden inside the narrow streets of the historical center, called “vicoli” or “caruggi”.

Genoa is a sort of decayed glorious port town, whose decay, however, is what makes it so interesting and pretty. The facades of grand palaces are hidden in scruffy, yet enticing alleyways, and there are really curious treats for anyone in virtually every alley. The city is your “typical” Italian one – quite sunny (during summer), with Mediterranean-looking houses topped by grey slate roofs, filled to the brim with outdoor cafes and bars, with lots of tiny and quirky alleyways, elegant designer shops, and restaurants. Today, also, the old port has been renovated, and currently contains some funky avant-garde modern architecture, a delightful marina, and several seaside bars and shops. The city is a good base to explore the Italian Riviera and world famous places like Portofino and the Cinque Terre.

The Lighthouse of Genoa (commonly known as Lanterna and from here the Derby of Genova, Genoa vs Sampdoria is called Derby della Lanterna) besides being an important aid to night navigation in the vicinity, the tower serves as a symbol and a landmark for the City of Genoa. Built of masonry, at 76 m (249 ft) it is the world’s fifth tallest lighthouse and the second tallest “traditional” one. Between 1543 and the construction of the lighthouse on Ile Vierge (France, 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 commonly perceived and represented, its height is 117 m (383 ft), which would make it the second tallest lighthouse in the world, the tallest in Europe, and the tallest traditional lighthouse.

The Lighthouse of Genoa is synonymous with history, but also with a mysterious legend.

The latter depicts how the tower builder (his name is unknown) was thrown into the sea from its top by the Genoese and the reasons for the crazy gesture seem to be essentially two.

The first, of a more romantic nature, can be summed up as follows: the inhabitants of the city, struck by the aesthetic and strategic perfection of the tower, decided to eliminate the architect to prevent him from proposing a similar work elsewhere, while the rawer version speaks of a murder linked to economic reasons (the Genoese, in a few simple words, did not want to pay the bill).

  • The Lighthouse has been in operation for more than 8 centuries and is currently the official lighthouse of the Port of Genoa.
  • It is used as an airport lighthouse (it is the only one still operating in our beautiful country) and regulates, as such, all air and sea traffic.
  • Its light is visible up to 50 km away.
  • The Lighthouse is a square-based tower and is entirely made of natural stone. The summit is reached by an internal staircase consisting of 365 steps, but only the first 172 are accessible to the public (the summit is not, in fact, open for visitors because it is under military control).


pics: IG @bottarogabriele + web