Genoa's prime position as an accessible port played a significant role through the centuries for its wealth and decline, its splendor and anguish. But it is the unwavering spirit for independence that has sustained the Genoese people through time, making it, today, a city thriving with life, freedom, art and all the romance that a city by the sea brings.
This is a city that has seen conflict and battles throughout time. After the Romans conquered the city, it was destroyed during the Punic Wars and then rebuilt as a military base for the war against the Carthaginians. Only a century later the city started to thrive again as a commercial harbor, thanks to the economic policy of Milan, becoming one of the most important harbors in the Mediterranean Sea and a destination of many trading routes.
During the late Middle Ages Genoa was dominated by the Byzantines, the Longobards and the Franks, and was the subject of naval raids by the Saracens and Normans, reducing the city's trade economy and forcing its people to return to the land for survival. Gaining power again with conquests made overseas, Genoa became one of the great naval powers in the Mediterranean and one of the main ports of the western Mediterranean.
Genoa began what was called its "Golden Century" in 1528 with the alliance between Andrea Doria and the Spanish Emperor Charles V. During this time, Genoese financial investments flourished throughout Europe and the construction of splendid houses and noble palaces began. But the Genoese were to experience unrest again with the taking of the city by Louis XIV of France, in 1684, bringing the Genoa Republic into the battle of France against the Emperor of Austria. With the Austrian troupes the victors, Genoa again became occupied in 1746, but its people, fiercely independent, rebelled. It was to remain an aristocratic Republic until 1797.
After the Napoleonic interlude, it was to become annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia.