The residential quarter of Boccadasse in Genoa

Genoa to keep local patriotism alive with a register of traditions

Genoa to keep local patriotism alive with a register of traditions

The nine municipalities comprising the Ligurian capital will all contribute to the project in order to create a full compendium of historical memory

At the end of last week, the City Council of Genoa approved the establishment of a Register of Genoese traditions. The nine sub-municipalities comprising the city will all be involved in the compiling of said Register.

The proposal itself was initiated by Paola Bordilli, who holds the office of Councilor for city traditions in the Ligurian capital.

She explained the idea as follows: “The goal is to give official recognition to all those aspects of local history, culture, and folklore, events and the know-how of traditions that represent the identity of our city and the Genoese community. Genoa has secular traditions for example linked to the Christmas holidays, but also varied baggage of oral traditions, expressions of the community that have a history behind them, customs linked to faith and so much more. We want this immense heritage to be handed down to future generations, with an institutional recognition that identifies our memory made up of intangible and material assets".

The Battle of Meloria is one example of the rich local heritage

Despite its ancient history, Italy only sprang up as a unified nation in 1861. Before that, there was a multitude of states and cities that made up the mosaic of the peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire in 476, and often quarrelled with each other.

The Genoese, for one, are particularly proud of their local history, as the city was a powerful maritime republic in the Middle Ages, on par with Venice. One of the local traditions commemorated until our days is the Battle of Meloria, which took place on 5-6 August 1284 against the Republic of Pisa.

The Genoese came out as the winners in that one, so much so, that the battle led to the decline of the Pisans. It was a bloody mess with more than 5,000 people losing their lives and more than 9,000 Pisans taken captive.

The prisoners of war were taken back to Genoa and many perished of mistreatment and starvation there. The place where they were buried still carries the name Campo Pisano (Pisan Field).

But this is where it gets interesting. Today, the two cities use this tragic moment in their histories as a reason to bond and make amends. This past weekend, once again a Pisan delegation visited the city of Genoa where there were re-enactments by historical societies, presenting the preparation of the two sides for the battle.

The deputy mayor of Genoa, Pietro Piciocchi, commented on the occasion: “The re-enactment of this important historical event is now a tradition that has “linked” Genoa to Pisa for many years. From a bloody episode, the result of an era of wars and bitter confrontations, an almost kinship relationship arises between two cities with a glorious past. A relationship that is renewed every year and that is enriched with new contents.

These kinds of examples can at least give us some hope in these times of war that past conflicts can eventually be overcome to serve as a platform for friendship and mutual healing.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU