Genoa is a city which plays ‘hide and seek’ and lets itself be discovered a little at a time, but I compiled for you a few curiosities I only found out about after living many years in this place.
Here is my curiosity shop:
Genoa in the movies.
Genoa has often been chosen for the shooting of movies, music videos and TV commercials and every time I recognize a corner of Genoa on television, I get excited. In 2013 alone, the city was featured in 14 TV commercial and more than 20 national and international photo shoots and lately Genoa has hosted famous people such as Nicole Kidman, who shot some scenes of the film Grace of Monaco by Olivier Dahan in our royal palace.
Some scenes from the Lupin the third movie were also set in the Porto Antico (old harbor) and some corners of it are very recognizable because they were shot from the freeway overpass.
Genoese invented the Lotto game
The Lotto game is the evolution of a series of games that date back to ancient civilizations but, as far as we know, the modern game we play today was born in Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale and it derives from what was called “The Game of the Seminary,” in which people had to bet on the names of Genoese citizens candidate for public charges. People used to play twice a year, trying to guess the names of the five chosen candidates. Subsequently, names were replaced by numbers and from 1620 onwards the lotto had to follow precise rules in Liguria, while in other Italian States this game was forbidden for moral reasons (since it was considered as gambling).
American Jeans? No, Genoese Gênes!
Who doesn’t have a pair of jeans in the closet? Although jeans are so popular, it isn’t popularly known that they were invented in Genoa. But it’s indeed so. The most famous blue fabric was initially used to make the sails of sailboats and later this fabric for the pants of Genoese sailors who traveled from port to port around the world. The name derives from the distortion of Gênes, the term used for the city of Genoa in French.
What is there in common between Genoa and Buenos Aires, Argentina?
The answer is Boccadasse! Boccadasse is a beautiful neighborhood in Genoa and some Genoese immigrants who settled down in Argentina gave life to the Boca district and founded the Boca Junior team, whose nickname is Xeneizes (Genoese, in our dialect), naming them after their neighborhood of origin.
Black and red house numbers
In Genoa, the street numbers are red for businesses and black for private buildings. Sometimes looking for a house number becomes really complicated and it can discourage people coming from other Italian cities, where the numbering is different. Since Genoese have the reputation to be stingy, a joke goes “The Genoese even save on numbers by using them twice.”
Modern economy and the first bank in Europe
In the 15th century Genoa had many colonies in the Mediterranean and the ships that docked at the port were laden with rare and precious goods that were sold at high prices in the rest of Italy. In order to maintain its trading tradition, Genoa was in debt and in 1408 the first banking activity specialized in loans and credits was set up in Palazzo San Giorgio. The Republic of Genoa was often forced to ask for loans and, over time, the Banco di San Giorgio became more and more powerful and autonomous to the point of directly managing administrative colonies and districts in Liguria, becoming practically the “guarantor of the economic and social order” of the Republic of Genoa. It became the first official bank in Europe.