The home of some of the world's finest sailors and tradespeople, including Christopher Columbus, whose explorations on behalf of Spain would forever change the world. Genoa has the distinction of being the first European city-state to contract the Black Plague from one of their ports on the Black Sea. At its peak, Genoa controlled colonies in the Middle East, Turkey, Eastern Europe and North Africa and has access to exotic goods from around the world. This frequently led them into conflict with other major seafaring states, particularly Venice. The Genoese and Venetians fought in four bouts of open warfare in the 13th and 14th Centuries, the last of which nearly resulted in a Genoese conquest of the city of Venice.
During the Renaissance period, Genoa was cloesely tied to Spain. Many Genoese families became incredibly wealthy due to their ability to access luxury goods from the East. Genoese merchants brought in spices and medicines from the East and weavers created beautiful pieces of clothing made from Chinese silk that sold for exorbitant prices throughout Europe. The Adorno family, led at first by the fourth Doge of Genoa, Gabriele Adorno, was one of the most powerful and successful in all of Genoa.
Genoa attracted many fine architects and artists throughout the Renaissance. Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck all worked there, and Galeazzo Alessi designed some of the city's lasting and finest architecture. The University of Genoa was founded in 1481 and served as a major center of learning from the Renaissance through to today.
Genoa's most famous resident, Cristoforo Colombo. He sailed on behalf of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in 1492 and is credited with the discovery of the New World.
One of Galeazzo Alessi's most famous works, the Santa Maria Assunta of Genoa. Construction lasted fifty years, and the dome itself wasn't completed until 30 years after Alessi was dead.
Michelangelo Caravaggio of Milan worked for a time in Genoa. The below painting by the Italian master, Ecce Homo, depicts the presentation of Jesus by Pontias Pilate who declared, Ecce Homo, or Behold the Man.This painting still hangs in the Palazzo Bianco of Genoa.