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Arms of the Republic of Genoa

The city was actually founded around the natural harbour and continued to grow as a port, from a merchant emporium to a Maritime Republic dominating the whole of Mediterraenan. Though Genoa is also known as the birthplace of Columbus , it was already, and continued to be long after, the birthplace of noble race of Navigators: from Antoniotto Usodimare (who reached the mouth of the Gambia in 1455) to the Vivaldi brothers (explorers of the West Coast of Africa), Lanzerotto Malocello, discoverer of the Canaries, and Nicolosio da Recco, discoverer of the Azores.

The discovery of the new world marked the beginning of the decline of the Mediterranean routes. However, thanks to the policy operated by Admiral Andrea Doria, Genoa Managed to defend its international standing.
For over a Century, between 1500 and 1700, a group of brillant, innovative bankers held the purse strings of all the European Sovereing. The fabulous riches that accumulated in this way were sagely invested in the palace, churches and villas whose regal magnificence we admire today.

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