When you leave Genoa’s historic centre, you are immediately thrust into another city.
A different, modern city, built in the late 19th and early 20th century. The city began to climb the hills, with new streets and palazzi constructed. Via XX Settembre, flanked by enormous buildings, was unveiled in all its glory.
Rich families with important positions in industry or finance wanted to separate themselves from the masses and leave the historic centre.
Renowned architects designed modern palazzi with all the mod cons, using every ounce of their imagination in the lavish decoration.
It creates the impression of a theatrical game played to stave off boredom, a competition to see who could surprise Genoese society the most. Different worlds mix in the abundant ornamentation; animals and plants come face to face with fictional, make-believe creatures.
Fairy tales take over from reality, and the richness of the decorations and embellishment becomes almost excessive. It is limitless, and draws on a folk tale, mediaeval and fantasy universe.
Lions, griffins and dragons. Junos, Venuses and odalisques. Fauns, monsters and knights. Funny faces. Windows that talk with mouths wide open. Wrought iron, marble, stucco and mosaic.