Liguria (Italian pronunciation: [liˈɡuːrja], Ligurian:
Ligûria [liˈɡyːrja]) is a coastal region of north-western Italy;
its capital is Genoa. The region is popular with tourists for its
beaches, towns, and cuisine.
3.1 Prehistory and Roman times
3.2 Middle Ages
3.3 Early modern
3.4 Late modern and contemporary
6 Government and politics
7 Administrative divisions
11 External links
Latin and is of obscure origin, however the
Latin adjectives Ligusticum (as in Mare Ligusticum) and Liguscus
reveal the original -sc- in the root ligusc-, which shortened to -s-
and turned into -r- in the
Liguria according to rhotacism.
The formant -sc- (-sk-) is present in the names Etruscan, Basque,
Gascony and is believed by some researchers to relate to maritime
people or sailors.
A view of Cinque Terre.
Liguria is bordered by
France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) to the
Piedmont to the north, and
Tuscany to the
east. It lies on the Ligurian Sea. The narrow strip of land is
bordered by the sea, the
Alps and the
Apennines mountains. Some
mountains rise above 2,000 m (6,600 ft); the watershed line
runs at an average altitude of about 1,000 m (3,300 ft). The
highest point of the region is the summit of Monte Saccarello
(2,201 m, 7,221 ft).
The winding arched extension goes from Ventimiglia to La Spezia. Of
this, 3,524.08 km2 (1,360.65 sq mi) are mountainous
(65% of the total) and 891.95 km2 (344.38 sq mi) are
hills (35% of the total). Liguria's natural reserves cover 12% of the
entire region, or 600 km2 (230 sq mi) of land. They are
made up of one national reserve, six large parks, two smaller parks
and three nature reserves.
The continental shelf is very narrow, and so steep it descends almost
immediately to considerable marine depths along its 350-kilometre
(220 mi) coastline. Except for the
Portovenere and Portofino
promontories, it is generally not very jagged, and is often high. At
the mouths of the biggest watercourses there are small beaches, but
there are no deep bays and natural harbours except for those of Genoa
and La Spezia.
The ring of hills lying immediately beyond the coast together with the
sea account for a mild climate year-round. Average winter temperatures
are 7 to 10 °C (45 to 50 °F) and summer temperatures are
23 to 24 °C (73 to 75 °F), which make for a pleasant stay
even in the dead of winter. Rainfall can be abundant at times, as
mountains very close to the coast create an orographic effect. Genoa
La Spezia can see up to 2,000 mm (80 in) of rain in a
year; other areas instead show the normal
Mediterranean rainfall of
500 to 800 mm (20 to 30 in) annually.
Prehistory and Roman times
Map of ancient Liguria, between the river Var and Magra.
Map of Roman Liguria, between the River Var and Magra.
Evidence of Neanderthals living in the area was discovered in the
region of Loano, whereas in Ventimiglia, in the caves of "Balzi
Rossi", numerous remains of the
Cro-Magnon man were found.
According to Classical sources, the Ligurians (Ligures), once lived in
a far broader territory than present-day Liguria. For example, the
Greek colony of Massalia, modern
Marseille was recorded to lie in
The Roman amphitheatre of Luni (1st century AD).
During the first Punic War, the ancient Ligurians were divided, some
of them siding with
Carthage and a minority with Rome, whose allies
included the future Genoese. Under Augustus,
Liguria was designated a
Italy (Regio IX Liguria) stretching from the coast to the
banks of the Po River. The great Roman roads (Aurelia and Julia
Augusta on the coast, Postumia and Aemilia Scauri towards the inland)
helped strengthen territorial unity and increase communication and
trade. Important towns developed on the coast, of which evidence is
left in the ruins of Albenga, Ventimiglia and Luni.
Simonetta Vespucci, a native Ligurian who was a famous beauty during
the Renaissance, may have been the model for Botticelli's The Birth of
Between the 4th and the 10th centuries
Liguria was dominated by the
Lombards of King
Rothari (about 641) and the Franks
(about 774). It was also invaded by
Saracen and Norman raiders. In the
10th century, once the danger of pirates decreased, the Ligurian
territory was divided into three marches: Obertenga (east), Arduinica
(west) and Aleramica (centre). In the 11th and 12th centuries the
marches were split into fees, and then with the strengthening of the
bishops’ power, the feudal structure began to partially weaken. The
main Ligurian towns, especially on the coast, became city-states, over
Genoa soon extended its rule. Inland, however, fiefs belonging
to noble families survived for a very long time.[vague]
Territories of the Republic of
Genoa (shown in purple).
Between the 11th century (when the Genoese ships played a major role
in the first crusade, carrying knights and troops to the Middle-East
for a fee) and the 15th century, the Republic of
Genoa experienced an
extraordinary political and commercial success (mainly spice trades
with the Orient). It was one of the most powerful maritime republics
Mediterranean from the 12th to the 14th century: after the
decisive victory in the battle of Meloria (1284), it acquired control
Tyrrhenian Sea and was present in the nerve centres of power
during the last phase of the
Byzantine empire, having colonies up to
Black Sea and Crimean.
After the introduction of the title of doge for life (1339) and the
election of Simone Boccanegra,
Genoa resumed its struggles against the
Marquis of Finale and the Counts of
Laigueglia and it conquered again
the territories of Finale,
Oneglia and Porto Maurizio. In spite of its
military and commercial successes,
Genoa fell prey to the internal
factions which put pressure on its political structure. Due to the
vulnerable situation, the rule of the republic went to the hands of
Visconti family of Milan. After their expulsion by the popular
forces under Boccanegra’s lead, the republic remained in Genoese
hands until 1396, when the internal instability led the doge
Antoniotto Adorno to surrender the title of Seignior of
Genoa to the
king of France. The French were driven away in 1409 and
back under Milanese control in 1421, thus remaining until 1435.
Posthumous portrait of
Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo.
The alternation of French and Milanese dominions over
Liguria went on
until the first half of the 16th century. The French influence ceased
in 1528, when
Andrea Doria allied with the powerful king of Spain and
imposed an aristocratic government, which gave the republic a relative
stability for about 250 years.
Reparation faite à
Louis XIV par le Doge de Gênes.15 mai 1685 by
Claude Guy Halle.
Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus's speculative proposal to reach
East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the
Spanish crown, which saw in it an opportunity to gain the upper hand
over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with
Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he
had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale
he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus
visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean
Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish
The value of trade routes through
Genoa to the Near East declined
during the Age of Discovery, when Portuguese explorers discovered
Asia around the Cape of Good Hope. The international crises
of the seventeenth century, which ended for
Genoa with the 1684
bombardment by Louis XIV’s fleet, restored French influence over the
republic. Consequently, the Ligurian territory was crossed by the
Piedmontese and Austrian armies when these two states came into
conflict with France. Austria occupied
Genoa in 1746, but the Habsburg
troops were driven away by a popular insurrection. Napoleon’s first
Italian campaign marked the end of the oligarchic Genoese state, which
was transformed into the Ligurian Republic, modelled on the French
Republic. After the union of
annexed to the French Empire (1805) and divided by
Napoleon into three
departments: Montenotte, with capital Savona,
Genoa and the department
of the Apennines, with capital Chiavari.
Giuseppe Mazzini was a patriot, philosopher and politician of the 19th
Late modern and contemporary
After a short period of independence in 1814, the Congress of Vienna
(1815) decided that
Liguria should be annexed to the Kingdom of
Sardinia. The Genoese uprising against the House of Savoy in 1821,
which was put down with great bloodshed, aroused the population’s
national sentiments. Some of the most prestigious figures of
Risorgimento were born in
Liguria (Giuseppe Mazzini, Mameli, Nino
Bixio). Italian patriot and general Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was born
in the neighbouring
Nice (then part of the Sardinian state), started
Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand on the evening of 5 May 1860 from a
rock in Quarto, a quarter of Genoa.
In late 19th and early 20th century, the region’s economic growth
was remarkable: steel mills and ship yards flourished along the coast
Imperia to La Spezia, while the port of
Genoa became the main
commercial hub of industrializing Northern Italy. During the tragic
period of the Second World War,
Liguria experienced heavy bombings,
hunger and two years of occupation by the German troops, against whom
a liberation struggle was led—among the most effective in Italy.
When Allied troops eventually entered Genoa, they were welcomed by
Italian partisans who, in a successful insurrection, had freed the
city and accepted the surrender of the local German command. For this
feat the city has been awarded the gold medal for military valour.
Source: ISTAT 2001
The population density of
Liguria is much higher than the national
average (300 inhabitants per km2, or 770 per sq mi), being only less
than Campania's, Lombardy's and Lazio's. In the province of Genoa, it
reaches almost 500 inhabitants per km2, whereas in the provinces of
Savona it is less than 200 inhabitants per km2. The
Spanish traveller Pedro Tafur, noting it from sea in 1436, remarked
"To one who does not know it, the whole coast from
Savona to Genoa
looks like one continuous city, so well inhabited is it, and so
thickly studded with houses," and today over 80% of the regional
population still lives permanently near to the coast, where all the
four major cities above 50,000 are located:
Genoa (pop. 610,000), La
Spezia (pop. 95,000),
Savona (pop. 62,000) and
Sanremo (pop. 56,000).
The population of
Liguria has been declining from 1971 to 2001, most
markedly in the cities of Genoa,
Savona and La Spezia. The age pyramid
now looks more like a 'mushroom' resting on a fragile base. The
negative trend has been partially interrupted only in the last decade
when, after a successful economic recovery, the region has attracted
consistent fluxes of immigrants. As of 2008[update], the Italian
national institute of statistics, ISTAT, estimated that 90,881
foreign-born immigrants live in Liguria, equal to 5.8% of the total
The port of
Genoa is the busiest in Italy.
Ligurian agriculture has increased its specialisation pattern in
high-quality products (flowers, wine, olive oil) and has thus managed
to maintain the gross value-added per worker at a level much higher
than the national average (the difference was about 42% in 1999).
The value of flower production represents over 75% of the agriculture
sector turnover, followed by animal farming (11.2%) and vegetable
Steel, once a major industry during the booming 1950s and 1960s,
phased out after the late 1980s crisis, as
Italy moved away from the
heavy industry to pursue more technologically advanced and less
polluting production. So the Ligurian industry has turned towards a
widely diversified range of high-quality and high-tech products (food,
shipbuilding, electrical engineering and electronics, petrochemicals,
aerospace etc.). Nonetheless, the regions still maintains a
flourishing shipbuilding sector (yacht construction and maintenance,
cruise liner building, military shipyards). In the services sector,
the gross value-added per worker in
Liguria is 4% above the national
average. This is due to the increasing diffusion of modern
technologies, particularly in commerce and tourism. A good motorways
network (376 km (234 mi) in 2000) makes communications with
the border regions relatively easy. The main motorway is located along
the coastline, connecting the main ports of
Nice (in France), Savona,
Genoa and La Spezia. The number of passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants
(524 in 2001) is below the national average (584). In average, about
17 million tones of cargo are shipped from the main ports of the
region and about 57 million tonnes enter the region. The Port of
Genoa, with a trade volume of 58.6 million tonnes  it is the first
port of Italy, the second in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units
after the port of transshipment of Gioia Tauro, with a trade volume of
1.86 million TEUs. The main destinations for the cargo-passenger
traffic are Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Barcelona and Canary Islands.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Liguria
View of Portovenere
The politics of
Liguria takes place in a framework of a presidential
representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government
is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system.
Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative
power is vested in both the government and the Regional Council.
The Regional Government is presided by the Governor, who is elected
for a five-year term, and is composed by the President and the
Ministers, who are currently 11, including a Vice President.
The Regional Council of is composed of 40 members and it's elected for
a five-year term, but, if the President suffers a vote of no
confidence, resigns or dies, under the simul stabunt vel simul cadent
clause (introduced in 1999), also the Council will be dissolved and
there will be a fresh election.
In the last regional election, which took place on 31 May 2015,
Giovanni Toti (Forza Italia) defeated Raffaella Paita (Democratic
Party), after 10 years of regional left-wing government by Claudio
Burlando (Democratic Party).
At both national and local level
Liguria is considered a swing region,
where no one of the two political blocks is dominant, with the two
eastern provinces leaning left, and the two western provinces right.
Liguria is one of 20 regions (administrative divisions) of Italy.
Liguria is divided into four provinces:
Province of Genoa
Province of Imperia
Province of La Spezia
Province of Savona
Pasta with pesto, a traditional Ligurian recipe
Liguria is the original source of pesto, one of the most popular
sauces in Italian cuisine, made with fresh basil, pine kernels, olive
oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
Seafood is a major staple of
Mediterranean cuisine, the Ligurian
variety being no exception, as the sea has been part of the region's
culture since its beginning.
Ciuppin soup is made from fish leftovers
and stale bread, flavoured with white wine, onion, and garlic.
Vegetables especially beans are important in Ligurian cooking. Mesciua
soup is made from beans, olive oil and farro (old kinds of wheat
Ligurian pasta includes trenette and trofie, and the fresh pasta
pockets called pansòuti.
Santa Margherita Ligure
Monterosso al Mare
See also: Bibliography of Liguria (it)
^ "Eurostat – Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) table".
Epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 16 September
^ EUROPA – Press Releases – Regional GDP per inhabitant in 2008
GDP per inhabitant ranged from 28% of the EU27 average in
Severozapaden in Bulgaria to 343% in Inner London Archived 12 February
2012 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Room, "Placenames of the World," 2006
^ Marie Henri d'Arbois de Jubainville, Premiers Habitants de l'Europe
(2nd edition 1889-1894)
^ Pedro Tafur, Andanças e viajes por diversas partes del mundo
^ "Eurostat". Circa.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 21 July
2011. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved 5 May
^ a b c "Eurostat". Circa.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 16
September 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
^ a b "Autorità Portuale di Genova — Traffico porto".
Porto.genova.it. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008.
Retrieved 26 December 2008.
^ "Inf_07_05_Statistiche dei trasporti marittimi 2002–2004" (PDF).
Retrieved 26 December 2008.
Liguria – - sito ufficiale". Regione.liguria.it.
Retrieved 5 May 2009.
^ Della Gatta, Andrea. "La Ricetta del
Pesto Genovese" (in Italian).
Pesto Genovese. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
^ a b c "The Food and Cuisine of Liguria". Made in Italy. Retrieved 13
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ISNI: 0000 0001 1530 5008
BNF: cb11951453t (data)
Coordinates: 44°27′00″N 8°46′00″E / 44.45000°N
8.76667°E / 44.45