Provincial capital of the Liguria region, Genoa is located at the farthest inmost part of the Gulf of Genoa, along the foothills of the Appennines, with a coastal extension of about 35 km. It has a population of 676,000 inhabitants, and is the main commercial port of Italy. It is an active center for traffic and industry (shipbuilding, steel works, metal-mechanics industry, deposits and refineries of mineral oils, cement makers, food, wood and paper industries). A commercial port, genteel seaside resort, fine 16th century palaces in a town proud of its history and legend which was the native place of Christopher Columbus The oldest part of the urban center, a distinctive maze of crowded and narrow streets leading to the old port, form a striking contrast with the modern part, spread out on the nearby hills. The extremely rapid topographical development of the last ten years has established one continuous spread of habitation from the coast eastward to Nervi and to the west beyond Sampierdarena, to include the industrial centers of Cornigliano and Sestri Ponente. Since 1962 Genoa has had an airport serving the European continent, which was built on a wide landscaped area obtained by reclaiming a stretch of sea facing Sestri Ponente. The main center of the Liguri Genuates, Genoa developed as a maritime emporium beginning in the 5th century BC. In 205, it was destroyed by the Carthaginians because of its loyalty to Rome. In the 3rd century it became a municipality and episcopal diocese. It achieved its maximum importance as a maritime republic in the 13th century, after defeating Pisa in 1284 and gaining predominance over the Tirrenian Sea. Due to feuds and rivalry with Venice it tightened political alliances with France, but eventually was conquered by that country in 1499 and again in 1502. It gained permanent independence from France in 1528. The famous admiral, Andrea Doria, managed to re- establish the independence of the Genoese Republic, which was maintained up to the Napoleanic period. After that, in 1814, it was annexed to Piedmont. After the creation of the Italian State in 1861, the city developed its economic functions through rapid industrial and commercial progress. Genoa was occupied by the Germans in 1943; however, it was the first city of western Italy to rise up against the Occupation (24 April, 1945) and to force the German garrison to unconditional surrender, prior to the arrival of Allied troops. Art and culture Artistically speaking, the most lively periods for Genoa were the Middle Ages and the 16th and 17th centuries. The medieval city extended from the port towards the west, the hills and the present monumental bridge, continuing up to Piazza Fontana Marose and «Lanterna» (the symbol of Genoa). The new walls contained the Casteletto and the foothills of the Montegalletto. The neighborhoods were formed by typical small lanes flanked by tall buildings called «caruggi.» These were rich with important monuments: from the churches of San Donato and Santa Maria di Castello to the Cathedral; from Sant'Andrea Gate to the homes of the Doria, and to San Giogio Palace. In the 16th and 17th centuries Genoa's architecture flourished. Famous architects such as G. Alessi, G. B. Castello, G. Ponzello, P.F. Cantone and others created an extremely original complex of churches, towns and above all, princely palaces. Painting and sculpture, essentially decorative in function, developed alongside works of art by painters such as Luca Cambiaso, Valerio Castello, Fiasella, Piola, De Ferrari, Assereto and Carlone. These created an authentic Genoese school with contributions from Flemish painters like Rubens and van Dyck, who lived in Genoa. Following are the principal museums, monuments and points of interest of the city. Genoa comes from the Latin janua - gate. What an attractive hypothesis, so redolent of mystery and promise! A gateway to the sea, to far horizons, exotic beaches, the fabulous markets of the Orient. A gate that also closes behind it a wealth of treasures: the arts, history, society and culture, the ordinary men and women who shaped the destiny of Genoa. Genoese, in a word at sea and on land, within and beyond the gate, a surly folk rooted in age-old traditions, loth to parade their possessions, yet more than ready to render what they receive. A reserved character, tempered by the scirocco and north wind, extraordinarily suited to developing a special sort of tourism-one that aims at preserving and enhancing an artistic and cultural heritage without selling out to commerce for mass consumption: on the facades of the palazzi, in the shady alleys, in the quarters where time, so far, hasn't worn away what man created . To savour an experience unique of its kind, just walk through thegate into Genoa «Superba», Genoa the proud, not through arrogance but by sheer majesty of image. The atmosphere is evocative, the tone historical, redolent of things maritime: it is the old but «proud» part of Genoa that wears a big heart on its sleeve. Witness the winding alleys, the squares that suddenly open out the narrow spaces across which austere palaces have scrutinized one another over the centuries. To venture intothe historical centre is a gripping experience You are impressed not only by the narrow streets and mlnute squares, but bv the «illuminating» effect of mediaeval-Renaissance architecture co-existing with the strikingly up-to-date structures of an urban fabric in rapid development. Experiencing Genoa is a daily discovery of the tenacious bonds with the past: the master craftsman, custodian of an art that will perhaps remain heirless, works away in his shop next door to the designer of tomorrow's most sophisticated technology. And the Port, commerce, industry. the «city» the worlds of tomorrow - render even more though - provoking such questions as: why are the columns of the Cathedral all so different? Why have the statues of Palazzo Lercari had their ears and noses cut off? Genoa over the centuries To feel the presence of history in Genoa it is sufficient to take a stroll through the streets - from the «Soprana» and «dei Vacca» gates, vestiges of the city walls built in the 12th centu ry, to the cathedral, which preserves the basin into which, it is said, fell the head of John the Baptist, to the ancient churches of Santi Cosma e Damiano, Santo Stefano (where Christopher Columbus was baptized) and San Matteo; from Palazzo San Giorgio (where Marco Polo dictated «ll Milione») to the Home of Columbus, to the Sant'Andrea cloister, the Loggia di Banchi, the Embriaci Tower. A clear perception of what Genoa was like in the past can be had simply by walking along via Garibaldi, where Genoese families raised their town houses to princely elevation. During the Punic wars the city was an ally of Rome. In the Middle Ages it became a «Comune» (autonomous) and laid the foundations of a power that would reach its peak in the 13th and 14th centuries when Genoa controlled trade throughout the entire Mediterranean.