The historical centre of Genoa which looks out over the sea.

It is presumed that the first Ligurian presence in the territory that would in future become Genoa, was between the end of the VI century b.c. and the III century a.d.

The first to settle there was a very ancient society which was common in all of the region of Liguria and who’s culture disappeared completely under the growing power of the Genoese costal population, around the II century a.d. During this time the Oppidum Genuate was established, and was controlled by the Roman Empire until the III century a.d. through the jurisdiction of the foedus equum and later the municipium.

The natural configuration of the territory and the insistent presence of the libeccio (south-west) wind did not allow the establishment of a typical, well defined pre-roman settlement. Instead Genoa began to form its own urban identity. The organization of the area was fragmented between the area of the oppidum genuate , situated on the hills of Castello (facing the south-east side of the natural port), and Sant’Andrea, just a bit further back, and site of the first necropolis.

It is interesting to note that the territory developed according to roman design: starting from the market place at the centre, the settlement (forum) of S Giorgio was divided using the measure of mille passus (circa 1480 meters, the military distance) and urban territories (civitas e castrum) were separated from rustic ones (suburbium).

This type of division in semicircular concentric areas was the basic plan for future medieval settlements.

In the following centuries Genoa began to take on a more defined appearance. The presence of a cathedral confirms that by the IV century it had become a civitas (civilisation) later acknowledged as a true commerrcial centre.

We know that Genoa was attacked in 641 by the army of the Lombard Rotari who destroyed the walls, and burned and ravaged the city. But Genoa healed quickly; the walls were rebuilt, and commerce was restored, and its autonomy was respected throughout the entire period of the Lombard dominion and the successive Frankish one.

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