Piazza Matteotti in Genoa
Square in Genova
Piazza Matteotti stands as one of the principal squares in Genoa, positioned within the pier district at the periphery of the city’s historic center. The square takes on a T-shaped layout, with its northern boundary encompassed by the flanking wings of the Doge’s Palace, whose primary entrance faces the square. To the northwest, adjoining the archbishop’s palace, Via San Lorenzo guides visitors towards the cathedral of the same name. Conversely, to the southeast, Via di Porta Soprana runs parallel to the church of Gesù, leading to the ancient city wall gateway. On the eastern side, the short Via Pietro Boetto links the square to the adjacent Piazza De Ferrari, a notable city landmark. To the west, the narrow Salita Pollaioli meanders into the historic center’s dwellings.
The western segment of the square functions as a restricted vehicular passage, while the remaining expanse is designated as a pedestrian zone that periodically accommodates fairs and markets.
Historical Context of Piazza Matteotti
The space that now encompasses Piazza Matteotti was inhabited during Roman times, substantiated by archaeological findings from excavation efforts initiated in 1975. These efforts unveiled a Roman domus dating back to the 1st century BC. The villa underwent modifications during the 1st to 3rd centuries AD and possibly remained in use until the 7th century. Additionally, an inscription dedicated to Fortuna Redux was discovered during the excavations, likely associated with a building or religious monument existing in the Roman-era vicinity.
Originally fashioned in 1527 by leveling the terrain between the southern face of the Doge’s Palace, then enclosed by the “curtain” building block, and the Carrubeus Ferrariorum, a locality housing various Ferrari and calderari workshops, the cleared space was named “Piazza Nuova di Ferreria.” This area was adorned with arcades under which stalls and shops thrived. A fountain graced the square, subsequently being relocated to the front of the San Domenico church.
The square’s existing T-shaped design materialized during the 1840s with the demolition of the “curtain” that enclosed the Doge’s Palace’s side wings. Initially named Piazza Umberto I in the early 20th century in homage to the Italian king, it was subsequently rechristened Piazza Ettore Muti by the government of the Republic of Salò in 1944. Within a year, the square underwent another name change, ultimately being dedicated to the socialist statesman Giacomo Matteotti.
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Visiting Piazza Matteotti in Genoa