Today I want to tell you more about the lighthouse of Genoa, in Italian LA LANTERNA.
Lighthouse is the translation of the word “Lanterna” in English. But for us, our lanterna is not just a lighthouse, it’s the symbol of our city. After a travel when you see it you can say you are back home. It’s so beautiful both in the daylight with the huge Genoa’s coat of arms than during the night, with its charming light…
We are very proud of it. It is the highest lighthouse in the Mediterranean Area and the second in Europe!
Construction and legends around it
We can’t say exactly when it had been built, unofficial sources state it in 1128, but, as you know, at the time not everything was registered as we commonly do it now.
There’s a legend about the builder of the lighthouse, which is unknown by the way: the only thing we know is that when the work was completed, he was thrown into the water from the top pf the lighthouse. There are two different explanations of that: one says that the people from Genoa were so astonished from his masterpiece that they murdered him to be sure he wouldn’t have done anything similar somewhere else, and the other one says that the they did so because they didn’t want to pay him.. Maybe you don’t know but Genoese people are known as very stingy all over Italy!
Many important people came to Genoa to visit it, between them the magnificent Leonardo da Vinci, impressed by the structure and the king of Cyprus who was arrested and spent sometime there as in XV century a part of the lighthouse had been used as prison. The most famous guardian was the grandfather of Cristopher Columbus!!!
Destructions, repairs and new technologies
Luckily from XII century up to now the lighthouse has been there to show the way to the sailors without too many damages. Can you imagine how many wars, battles, bombs and even extreme natural events occurred in almost 1000 years??
While genoese people were bombing french stronghold (raised on top of the same hill by Louis XIV during the french domination of Genoa), Lanterna was partially destroyed and it was re-built only thirty years after (1543).
The “new” construction is what you can see today.
During the years the lightening system has been modified, at the beginning they used to burn some typical herbs from the area, then they used olive oil (that was an important innovation!), and many other changes up to 1936 since when the electrical supply started.
In XVII century a long defensive wall has been built all around the lighthouse, but not in defense of the lighthouse but in defense of one of the door of Genoa. The walls length is the first in Europe and second only to the Great Wall of China. Nowadays some of the walls are part of the museum, I strongly suggest you to visit them as the architectural structure is amazing!
Visiting the Lighthouse of Genoa
From 2001 you can do a walk from the city to the lighthouse, less than a kilometer to reach the lighthouse in an astonishing view of the port, you can’t miss it!
Lanterna with the fortification, the promenade and the park is one of the many things to see and visit in Genoa.
The lighthouse is just 15 min walk from the nearby underground station (Dinegro) and from the parking of the Ferry Terminal where you can have 2 hours of free parking if you purchase anything inside the mall (a coffee is more than enough!)
The promenade, the open air museum, the fortification and the lighthouse, are open:
FROM OCTOBER TO MAY > Tuesday to Friday: 10.00-17.00 (last admission: 16.30); Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays: 10.00-18.00 (last admission: 17.30); Closed on: Mondays, 1st January, 25th December
FROM JUNE TO SEPTEMBER > Tuesday to Friday: 10.00-18.00 (last admission: 17.30); Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays: 10.00-19.00 (last admission: 18.30); Closed on Mondays.
Due to Covid measures at the moment you can purchase the tickets online only and the access to the museum and the lighthouse are restricted to small groups.
The full ticket is just 2 Euros, it’s something you can’t miss!!!
You can find any further information and news on the dedicated website.
I’m sure you will enjoy so much the visit!