The coastal city of Genoa in northwest Italy is the sixth largest in the country, with a population of some 600,000 in 2011, and 1.5 million living in the greater urban area. Spreading 34km along the coast and up into the surrounding hills, it is one of Europe’s biggest cities on the Mediterranean and Italy’s largest seaport. Genoa has always been a crossroads, and its immigrant community today numbers around 50,000 people.
In the 1960s, Genoa became part of an Italian industrial triangle with Milan and Turin, thanks to its shipyards and steelworks, and it remains one of Italy’s major economic centres. But the crisis in the industrial sector at the end of the 20th century and the recession, which hit the port of Genoa in the same period, pushed the city to look for new opportunities in tourism, services, high technology and the green economy.
In the last 25 years a series of international events has highlighted the city’s appeal to a global audience. In 1990 it hosted some of the World Cup football matches; in 1992 it staged the Columbus Celebration marking 500 years since the discovery of America; it hosted a G8 summit in 2001; it was European Capital of Culture in 2004; and part of its old city was classed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. The local administration has been improving the city’s image through urban renovation from the historic centre to the Porto Antico (the Old Port), and from the waterfront to the east and west sides of the city. The current regeneration plan, which continues until 2020, has restored a wealth of artistic and cultural sites that stand as a testimony to Genoa’s ancient splendours.