The Sala dei Protettori

The Sala dei Protettori


Sala dei Protettori dates back to the enlargement of the Palace in 1508 and features the same architectural style as the other boardrooms. Today, the room, where some of the most valuable works of the entire building are located, gives direct access to the office of the President of the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority and hosts the meetings of the top management of the Authority and its Steering Committee.

Discover the Sala dei Protettori

The Virgin with Baby Jesus and Saint George

It is a lunette-shaped canvas showing Saint George wearing a breastplate in the foreground and, in the background, the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus. At present, the painting is kept in the office of the President of the Authority. According to the records, the painting, before the restoration of the Palace at the end of the 19th century, was located on the second floor, in the Archive of the Bank of Saint George. It is not clear who the author is: in the first edition (1866) of the Artistic Guide to the City of Genoa (Guida Artistica per la città di Genova), Federico Alizieri attributed it to Domenico Fiasella, while in the second edition it was attributed to G.B. Carlone. The painting was transferred to the State Archives at the end of the 19th century in order to enable D’Andrade to restore the palace and was subsequently brought back to Palazzo San Giorgio in the early 20th century. During this last transfer, a note with “17th-century writing” bearing the name of Luciano Borzone was discovered on the back of the canvas. Recently, Crespi has been included among the possible authors. In recent years, the recent exhibitions on the Caravaggesques and Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi, as well as the quality of the painting, especially with reference to significant parts (see the hands of Saint George and the figure of the Saint himself with respect to the Virgin) have raised the question of there being at least two different authors. Further food for thought is provided by Orazio Gentileschi’s presence in Genoa during the time period when the painting was made, his documented friendship with Luciano Borzone and the surprising analogies with the figure of Valeriano in Gentileschi’s Vision of Saint Cecilia, still preserved in Brera. These and other reasons have given rise to the need to gather as much information as possible in order to draw the attention of critics to the authorship of the painting, which could be reconsidered.

*The period between about 1528 and 1630 is known as the Genoese century: indeed, in this period, the Republic of Genoa not only confirmed its role as a crossroads of maritime traffic between East and West, but also saw its weight in European politics grow considerably. Moreover, the Superb had become a very important artistic hub in Europe. Indeed, many of the greatest artists of the time, both Italian and foreign, in particular Orazio Gentileschi, Pieter Paul Rubens, Antoon van Dyck, and Mattia Preti, worked and carried out experiments in Genoa.

The Virgin with Baby Jesus, Saint John and Saint George

The painting is attributed to Giovan Battista Paggi** and depicts the Virgin with Baby Jesus, Saint George and Saint John the Baptist in adoration. The bottom left of the painting shows the Palace in the first decades of the 17th century, with the façade frescoed by Lazzaro Tavarone. In the painting, there are two coats of arms, that of Our Lady Queen of Genoa and the older one of Saint George. Today, it is preserved in Sala dei Protettori, above the Della Porta fireplace.

**Giovan Battista Paggi (1554/1627)  trained with Luca Cambiaso, with whom he entertained a long relationship; he was forced to leave Genoa in 1580 and moved to Florence, where he worked for the Medici for about twenty years, reaching a prestigious position. Upon returning to Genoa around 1600 with a solid reputation, he established himself for over a decade as an authoritative exponent and leader of a significant branch of local painting. The works produced after his final return to his homeland include the Martyrdom of St. Ursula and the Virgins in the Cathedral of Savona, which can be dated around 1600, Venus and Amor in Palazzo Bianco, and the Flagellation, dating back to the time of the Ligurian Academy’s Our Lady of the Rosary, also in Palazzo Bianco. Many of his paintings are found in the churches of Genoa, such as the Death of St. Clare in Santissima Annunziata, the Nativity Scene in Albergo dei Poveri, and the Communion of St. Jerome in San Francesco da Paola.


The most precious work in Sala dei Protettori is the fireplace made by Giacomo Della Porta* presumably in 1554. The mystery of fire provides the inspiration for the decoration of the fireplace: fluted half-pilasters ending in lion’s paws rest on a square plinth adorned with lion’s heads; the half-pilasters support a fine lintel, at the centre of which, between two friezes of stylised flames, lies an engraved plaque with the motto “Quid magis potuit”. Two urns are located on the sides of the lintel; in the centre, there is a triangular trophy flanked by two female figures. The fireplace is surmounted by the representation of Thundering Jupiter**. The medallion features a bas-relief showing the sacrifice of Mucius Scaevola***. The last restoration of the fireplace dates back to 2008.

*GIACOMO DELLA PORTA He was a member of a family of sculptors from Como and probably started out as a plasterer. He made his first works in Genoa. His presence in Rome is documented as early as 1559; he initially collaborated with Guidetto Guidetti on the works in the Campidoglio, in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major and in Palazzo della Sapienza. He established himself with the election of Gregory XIII (1572-85); during this latter’s pontificate, he built the Gregorian Chapel in St. Peter’s and the church of Santa Maria ai Monti (1580), and worked on the façade, dome and chapels of the Church of the Gesù (1573-75). Under Pope Boncompagni, he undertook a series of works for the construction of fountains in Piazza dell’Aracoeli, Piazza Colonna, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza della Rotonda and Piazza Mattei (the famous Fountain of Turtles). Under Sixtus V (1585-90), he worked, together with Domenico Fontana, for the completion of Michelangelo’s Dome (1588-90) in the Vatican Basilica, which had remained unfinished after Buonarroti’s death. In those years, he also worked in San Luigi dei Francesi, in the Campidoglio (façade of Palazzo Senatorio, stairs and kerb) and in San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. He stopped working under Clement VIII, with Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati and the Aldobrandini Chapel in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (1600-02).

**The most important god of the Latin pantheon derives from a celestial supreme being of the Indo-European tradition, as demonstrated by his name, taken from a root indicating the sky, and his epithets, such as Light-bringer, Lightning-maker, Thundering, and Rainmaker. He was thought to be the supreme regent of the world, worshipped on the summits of mountains, and invoked as a guarantor of pacts, oaths, borders and laws. Latin cities adopted him as a symbol and guarantor of confederal political unity. In addition to the Capitoline Temple, his oldest temples were the one dedicated to Jupiter Feretrius (also on the Capitoline Hill) and that of Jupiter Stator, near Porta Mugonia, on the way to the Palatine. Jupiter formed an ancient triad together with Mars and Quirinus; the one with Minerva and Juno, worshipped in the Capitoline Temple, was more recent.

***Gaius Mucius Scaevola (real name Mucius Cordus) is the protagonist of a well-known Roman legend from which the saying “To put one’s hand on the fire to show how sure one is of something” is derived. It is said that in 508 B.C., during the siege of Rome by the Etruscans commanded by Porsena, the situation had become hopeless for the city: food supplies were becoming scarce, the population was exhausted and the troops were demoralised. Young aristocrat Mucius Cordus volunteered to kill the Etruscan commander before the Senate.

Palazzo San Giorgio - La facciata

The outside of the Palace

The outside of the Palace


In 1570, the Palace underwent radical extension and renovation works that profoundly altered its original appearance. The new building developed towards the sea and had a compact and homogenous external shape, with façades decorated in the style of Genoese Renaissance architecture, including a spectacular fresco decoration. At the beginning of the 17th century, the patrons of the Bank of Saint George decided to entrust Lazzaro Tavarone with the task of frescoing the seafront of Palazzo San Giorgio, replacing a previous decoration carried out in 1591 by Andrea Semino, which was not appreciated by the notables.

Tavarone began the restoration project in 1606 and completed it in 1608.

Since then, the sea façade of Palazzo San Giorgio has featured St. George and the Dragon, Janus Two-Faced, Neptune, Caffaro, Andrea Doria, Simon Boccanegra, Guglielmo Embriaco, Christopher Columbus and Biagio Assereto, symbols of the power and wealth that Genoa had conquered over the centuries by navigating the sea.

The following restoration of the Palazzo’s façade dates back to 1912 and it was commissioned by the Autonomous Port Consortium to Lodovico Pogliaghi, who repainted the decorations on the façade facing the sea. They were later restored by the painter Raimondo Sirotti in 1992 on the occasion of the Columbus celebrations. Artworks of equal importance, including a 16th-century aedicule and a plaque dedicated to Nazario Sauro, are also present along the remaining three sides of the Palace.

It should be noted that in front of the north façade, at a lower level than Piazza Caricamento, there are the ruins of black and white rock columns that were part of the early 16th century extension and a small doorway above which there are faded traces of 15th century frescoes.


Discovering the outside of The Palace

Christopher Columbus (1451/1506)

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in 1451, the son of Domenico Colombo and Susanna Fontanarossa.

Little is known about his childhood, but it is certain that he started sailing very young, probably at the age of fourteen. He soon turned to trade, serving the Genoese families Centurione, Di Negro, Imperiali and Spinola. His travels took him to Lisbon, where he moved temporarily. He returned to Genoa one last time to get married, but shortly after the wedding he moved to Madeira with his wife Filipa Moniz Perestrello; there he tried his hand at self-employment, with little success. Finally, from Madeira he moved back to Portugal. As is well known, Christopher Columbus had to face struggles and rejections before his project was approved. What is certain is that an agreement was made with the Spanish sovereigns on 17 April 1492. On 3 August of that year, Columbus left the port of Palos de la Frontera on a ship called Santa Maria, and two caravels, the Pinta and the Niña. On 12 October, Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas, which he named San Salvador. After his fourth journey, he decided to withdraw from public life in Valladolid, where he died in 1506.

Andrea Doria (1466-1560)

Andrea Doria was born 15 years after Christopher Columbus (Oneglia, 1466) and became Admiral of the Mediterranean Sea, sailing for over fifty years in service to kings and emperors. He pursued a military career and in 1512 took command of the Genoese troops until the city was conquered by the Spanish in 1522. After a short period in service to the French, Doria restored the Republic of Genoa in 1528.

Biagio Assereto (1383-1456)

He was born in Genoa, towards the end of the 14th century. In 1423 he was appointed Chancellor of the Republic for the first time. In August 1435 and although his appointment was contested by the Genoese nobles, he led the Genoese fleet that was sent to help the garrison of Gaeta, besieged by the Aragonese. On 5 August 1435, he defeated the enemy army in the waters of Ponza, capturing King Alfonso, his brother John of Navarre, the Infante Henry, the Viceroy of Sicily and many other Neapolitan and Aragonese nobles.

The victory of Ponza marked the height of Biagio Assereto’s fame and glory. However, the greatest recognition came from Milan and Genoa as he received the fiefdom of Serravalle in 1435. The city of Genoa also honoured him by donating one of the keys to the treasure taken from Alfonso of Aragon and kept in the Cathedral of Genoa.

Simone Boccanegra (1363)

He was the first popular “lifetime doge” in the history of Genoa. His appointment in 1339 marked the beginning of the age of the perpetual Doges and the popular hegemony that characterised the Genoese Republic’s government.

Guglielmo Embriaco (second half of 11th century – first half of 12th century)

Known as Testa di Maglio, founding father (d. 1102) of the Embriaci; at the head of an expedition organised by Genoa, he landed in Jaffa in 1099. Tradition attributes him a major role in the conquest of Jerusalem, as the creator, during the siege, of a mobile tower. In 1101 he conquered Tyre and Caesarea, obtaining as spoils of war a large vase (the Sacred Basin) in which Jesus was said to have eaten the paschal lamb and which is kept in the treasury of the St Lawrence Cathedral in Genoa.

Caffaro (1080-1164)

Caffaro was the author of the Annals, a very valuable source of information to reconstruct the Genoese Middle Ages. He enlisted with Guglielmo Embriaco to go to the aid of Goffredo di Buglione and his crusaders.

In the portico, which in medieval times was used as the main entrance to the Palace and which looked out over the Ripa Maris, a plaque in Latin is built into the top of the ogive of the central portal: it describes the foundation of the building. The Italian translation of the text is located to the right of the jamb.

Beneath it, there is a 13th-century lion’s head which, according to tradition, was brought from Constantinople.

Two more plaques recall events related to the history of the palace. The first attests Marco Polo’s presence in Palazzo San Giorgio, where he is said to have dictated The Travels of Marco Polo to Rustichello da Pisa.

The second dates from 1632 and states that no minister (or rather, official) was allowed to ask for bonuses beyond the due taxes. In front of the north façade, at a lower level than Piazza Caricamento, there are the ruins of black and white rock columns that were part of the early 16th century extension and a small doorway above which there are faded traces of 15th century frescoes.

Aedicule of Our Lady of the Assumption

At the back of Palazzo di San Giorgio, on the side towards Piazza della Raibetta, there is an aedicule of Our Lady of the Assumption from the 18th century. Two winged angels offer trays full of flowers to the Virgin, whose statue is sheltered in a niche and protected by an iron grill. A shell and two cherubim’s heads stand out under the wavy finial. Two more winged Cherubim’s heads appear above the curl of the profile. Higher up, two flying angels hold the large crown of Our Lady Queen of Genoa. At the top, the monogram of the Virgin sculpted in a floral cup with rays dominates the gilded baldachin decorated with floral friezes. On the cartouche, the inscription: “Viciniae Opifices / Sibi Svisqve“. Alizeri’s description also included another phrase: “Pulchra ut Luna”, which has now disappeared.

The loggia

The loggia


The loggia is composed of an internal rectangular body, from which the second floor can be accessed, and two side loggias. The wall decorations of the loggias are composed of small white, green and black square tiles. Yellow and white fresco paintings begin where the tiles end, edged by a frieze with the coats of arms of the noble families of Genoa and the notables of the Bank. Slate benches are placed along the side loggias. The ceiling is made of wooden beams. The loggia houses some of the most valuable works of the Palace, which are listed and described below.

Discovering the loggia

Our Lady Queen of Genoa

Palazzo San Giorgio - La Madonna Regina di Genova

The statue of the Our Lady Queen of Genoa was sculpted in the first half of the 17th century by Bernardo Carlone.

The sculpture, initially placed on the “Porta del Mare” (“Sea Gate”) or “Porta della Lanterna” (“Lantern Gate”), had become a reference point for seafarers.

Following the damage caused by the Second World War bombings, it was restored in 1952 and placed at the base of the Pilots Tower during a solemn coronation ceremony, which was very important for Genoa.

In 1998, following the relocation of the pilots to the new structure in Molo Giano (which tragically fell in the 2013 accident), it was decided to place the statue inside Palazzo San Giorgio in order to preserve it from damage caused by salt and atmospheric agents.

Two plaques are found on the wall, next to the painting of Saint George on foot. The first was taken from the Castle of Lerici* (1251) and therefore Pisa, while the second (1632) admonishes the Bank’s officials not to take any bonuses on top of taxes, as does the plaque placed at the back entrance to the Palace.

On the lintel of the black stone portal on the back of the Loggia, you can read the words “Officium MDXXXI instauravit”.

In the second loggia on the left, there are the same decorative motifs as the walls and ceiling, and portals with the coat of arms of Genoa, which date back to the 16th-century restoration. The door frames with the coat of arms of Genoa and Saint George in the style of Michele D’Aria date back to the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century.

In the Loggia, there is also a bronze plaque commemorating the harbour workers who died during the First World War.**

*The Castle of Lerici is a polygonal fortification that dominates the rocky promontory of the bay of Lerici, in the province of La Spezia. The castle began to be built in 1152 and was subjected to numerous transformations by the maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa, which, due to its strategic position, fought over it.


On the right, under the first loggia, there are the niches for the “Avisi per Magistrato del Sale” (“Notices for the Salt Magistrate”), “Avisi per Magistrati del 1444” (“Notices for the Magistrates of 1444”), “Avisi per Magistrato de Procuratori” (“Notices for the Magistrate of Procurators”),  “Avisi per Protettori” (“Notices for Protectors”), “Avisi per Magistrato de Revisori” (“Notices for the Magistrate of Auditors”) and the plaque concerning the payment of various taxes (18th century). The boxes were used to post lettere orbe, that is to say anonymous reports concerning the disservices of the Bank of Saint George.

Saint George on foot Derived from an example of Aosta Valley painting from the Castle of Fenis and complemented by two verses by Carducci, made during the restoration carried out by Alfredo D’Andrade.

Giosuè Carducci  (1835-1907) was a classicist poet and politician par excellence. He authored six poetry collections: Rime, Poesie, Odi barbare, Giambi ed epodi, Rime Nuove, Rime e ritmi. In 1906, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The poet strenuously advocated the preservation of Palazzo San Giorgio, which some wanted to be demolished due to the fact that it was an obstacle to the development of the Genoese road system from west to east.

Saint George – 16th-century marble relief depicting Saint George defeating the dragon.

The Hall

The Hall


L’atrio di Palazzo San Giorgio, così come lo vediamo oggi, è frutto del restauro novecentesco di Alfredo D’Andrade che decise di aprire in facciata il portone principale di ingresso dell’edificio.

The heraldic emblem of the conservatoris maris, assigned to the Autonomous Port Consortium by royal letters dated 2 December 1926, is kept in a case in the hall.

Discovering The Hall

At the request of the Autonomous Port Consortium, founded in 1903, the entrance portal on the sea side was opened. Architect Marco Aurelio Crotta*, on commission of Alfredo D’Andrade, designed the staircase leading to Sala delle Compere. The ancient ‘sacristies’ of the Bank were sacrificed to open the staircase, but most importantly, the building’s orientation was reversed for it to face the port rather than the city for the first time in its history.

*MARCO AURELIO CROTTA Born in Genoa (1861-1909)
Marco Aurelio Crotta, who was born into a family of humble origins, left school early and started working as a workshop assistant. Given his predisposition for drawing, some friends encouraged him to resume his studies and helped him financially, in particular architect Giovanni Campora, thanks to whom he was able to attend the Ligurian Academy of Fine Arts and obtain a diploma as an architect. He began his activity collaborating with Campora himself, especially in the restoration of buildings. Because of his skills as a draughtsman, he was commissioned by Alfredo D’Andrade, who had been the delegate for the Conservation of the Monuments of Piedmont and Liguria since 1884, to carry out the surveys and restoration projects for numerous buildings in Liguria and Piedmont. In the 1890s, he collaborated with D’Andrade, who greatly appreciated his profound knowledge of medieval art, on the restoration of Palazzo San Giorgio and the Cathedral of Saint Lawrence in Genoa.

The Sala delle Compere

The Sala delle Compere


From the top of the grand staircase, designed by architect Marco Aurelio Crotta, you enter Sala delle Compere, also known as Sala delle Congreghe, a grandiose space whose construction was commissioned by the Bank of Saint George in the 15th century to house the Grand Council, composed of about four hundred members.

At the time of the Bank, the desks of the office of the general treasurer and the notaries in charge of drawing up the documents and keeping them were lined up along the perimeter of the Room. Today, the walls are still divided into two levels of overlapping niches, separated by a white frame that is interrupted only at the central aedicule, which contains the statue of Battista Grimaldi. The marble statues represent the protectors of the Bank of Saint George.

The Room hosts – among other things – Domenico Piola’s painting depicting Saint George in adoration of Our Lady Queen of Genoa, two paintings dating back to the 15th century and two famous plaques, the first reproducing the letter written by Christopher Columbus to the Lords of the Bank of Saint George, the second dedicated to the first day of the Genoa Conference, held in the Palace in 1922.


Discovering the Sala delle Compere

The Bank of Saint Georgehonoured its benefactors by entrusting the most famous sculptors of the time with half-length or full-length tombstones or effigies (standing or sitting) depending on the size of the donation made to the Bank. Many of the statues, which are placed on two rows of niches and on three sides of the room, currently appear mutilated and damaged. During the Second World War, Palazzo San Giorgio and especially Sala delle Compere were almost completely destroyed by the bombing of Genoa and its port in 1942.

Below is a list of the Bank’s benefactors represented by the statues and their authors.

Sala delle Compere

Di seguito l’elenco dei benefattori del Banco rappresentati nelle statue e gli autori delle stesse.

Statue of G.B. Grimaldi sculpted by G.B. Perolli da Crema in 1565
Statue of Ansaldo Grimaldo sculpted by G.B. della Porta in 1536
Statue of Pietro Gentile sculpted by Giovanni Carlone in 1539
Statue of Giulio Da Passano sculpted by Giacomo Parraca da Valsoldo in 1583
Statue of Manfredo Centurione sculpted by Taddeo Carlone in 1602
Statue of Andrea De Fornari sculpted by Tommaso Orsolino in 1663
Statue of Angelo Chioccia sculpted by Tommaso Orsolino in 1671
Statue of Francesco Oncia sculpted by Giuseppe Orsolino in 1582

Statues by anonymous or lesser artists

Leonardo Spinola (1524)
Filippo da Passano (1553)
Paolo D’Oria Ceva (1568)
Brancaleone D’Oria (1574)
Raffaele Salvago (1581)
Giuliano di Negro (1624)
Antonio Giustiniani (1644)
Giovanni Battista Lomellino (1663)
Paolo Invrea (1664)
Lazzaro D’Oria (1603)
Baldassarre Lomellini (1663)
Giovanni Durazzo (1634)
Antonio Da Passano (1583)

A wide corridor called Manica Corta

In the past, it was the vestibule of Sala delle Compere or Congreghe, although it was already part of Palazzo del Boccanegra before the 16th-century enlargement. The hall is decorated with four marble statues sculpted by Gian Giacomo della Porta and Bernardino di Novo.

  • Statue of Gerolamo Gentile sculpted by Gian Giacomo della Porta in 1538
  • Statue of Gioacchino Da Passano sculpted by Gian Giacomo della Porta in 1545
  • Statue of Giano Grillo sculpted by Gian Giacomo della Porta in 1553
  • Statue of Giovanni Battista Lercari sculpted by Bernardino di Novo in 1558

In the middle, on the right side, the grandiose black stone portal with a marble bas-relief of Saint George, the 16th-century coat of arms of the Bank, stands out.

The most famous sculptors

Taddeo Carlone (Carloni) – The son of Giovanni was born in Rovio (Mendrisio) near Lake Lugano in 1543. He followed his father, a sculptor, and his brother Giuseppe to Genoa halfway through the century. In 1574, he built together with Bernardino da Nove and Gian Giacomo Valsoldo the funerary monument of Ceba Doria in S. Maria della Cella in Sampierdarena, and in 1576 he did that of Gian Battista Doria (in the same church). In 1575, he worked on the decoration of the façade – the masks and the portal – of Nicolò Grimaldi’s palace, then on Doria Tursi (Genoa, via Garibaldi) and the villa in Fassolo on behalf of Giovanni Andrea Doria, for whom he continued to work in the following years. In 1578, the artist received a commission from the Fathers of the Commune for the fountain in Piazza Soziglia; during the plague of 1578-79, he withdrew to the convent of S. Francesco in Castelletto (destroyed in 1798), where he designed and built six chapels in the left aisle of the church.

Giovanni Giacomo Della Pòrta – Sculptor and architect (Porlezza 1485 approx. – Genoa 1555). He started working in Genoa in 1513; he then worked in Cremona (sarcophagus of Saints Peter and Marcellino in San Tommaso) and became the architect of the Cathedral of Milan from 1524 to 1528. Back in Genoa (1531), he carried out a series of works together with various helpers (ciborium and altar of the chapel of St. John the Baptist in the Cathedral, two statues for Palazzo San Giorgio, etc.).

Bernardino di Novo, son of Matteo, was active in Genoa in the middle of the 16th century, often in collaboration with Taddeo Carlone and Giovanni Giacomo Paracca da Valsoldo. Together with Giovanni Carlone, he sculpted the statue of Cattaneo Pinelli, located in the hall of Palazzo Tursi.

Christopher Columbus’ plaque

It is a letter by Christopher Columbus addressed to the Bank of Saint Georgewith the offering of tithes* to that Institute (1502).

*A tenth of the harvest, of the net production of the land, of the income from other activities, paid, as the times and customs dictate, as a tribute to the private owner, to the feudal lord, to the state, to the (ecclesiastical) church, or even (as was customary among the ancient Greeks and Romans) to the local divinity

1922 Genoa Conference Plaque

The plaque commemorates the holding of the 1922 Genoa Conference in Palazzo San Giorgio. Said conference was attended by the main representatives of European governments, including those of the countries that had been defeated in the First World War. The most important figures attending the Conference included British Prime Minister Lloyd George and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Weimar Republic and the Soviet Union, Rathenau and Čičerin.

Our Lady Queen of Genoa with Baby Jesus and Saint George – Domenico Piola 1671**

In 1637, the Republic of Genoa celebrated the coronation of the Virgin Queen of Genoa. This was an expedient that enabled the Republic of Genoa to take precedence over the Monarchies during the processions and parades held during State ceremonies.

As of that date, the Queen was represented with a Crown, a Sceptre and the Keys to the city and became the effigy of the coins of the Republic. The Doge continued to be head of the Republic and was also represented with the same symbols of Our Lady Queen of Genoa and the ermine cloak.

** Domenico Piola (Genoa, 1627 – Genoa, 8 April 1703) was an Italian painter, one of the main exponents of Genoese Baroque. He was the son of fabric merchant Paolo Battista and the brother of painters Pellegro (1617 – 1640) and Giovanni Andrea. His paternal uncles were Giovanni Gregorio and Pier Francesco, also painters. Initially, he was an apprentice in his brother Pellegro’s workshop, and on this latter’s death he moved to the workshop of Giovanni Domenico Cappellino.

The coat of arms of Genoa and the symbols of Justice and Fortitude (oil on canvas 3.20 x 3.50 m.) – Anonymous painter from the late 15th century.***

15th-century pictorial composition depicting the Angel of Peace holding up the coat of arms of Genoa, flanked by the representations of Fortitude and Justice

*** The coat of arms of GenoaIt is the flag of Saint George, a red cross on a white field, the symbol of the Republic of Genoa, the use of which has been confirmed – at least – since 1113. In the Middle Ages, the flag symbolised the Saint who defeated the dragon and accompanied and protected the soldiers involved in the Crusades. The Genoese, who operated under the Saint’s banner, were able to distinguish themselves in the war to such an extent that the Muslims only needed to see the flag with the cross off the sea to keep away from their vessels. This feat prompted a medieval power such as England to ask for permission to “borrow” the flag of Saint George in Genoa in order to hoist it on its ships. As a result, as of 1190, the flag of Saint George went on to protect also the English fleets on the move in the Mediterranean area.

Saint George of the Genoese and the coat of arms of the Bank (oil on canvas 3.20 x 2.20 m.) – Francesco de Ferrari (also known as Francesco De Pavia) – 1491

15th-century pictorial composition depicting the coat of arms of the Bank with Saint George the Fighter.

**** DE FERRARI, Francesco (also known as Francesco da Pavia) – Son of Bartolomeo, he was presumably born in Pavia around 1454 (Alizeri, 1873, II, p. 86) and practised the art of painting in Genoa, where he arrived very young and obtained citizenship in 1479. Information about him is often reported by Genoese sources (almost all published by Alizeri) for a period of time ranging from 1476 to 1495.

Palazzo San Giorgio - Sala del Capitano

The Sala del Capitano

The Sala del Capitano


Sala del Capitano del Popolo is dedicated to Guglielmo Boccanegra, Captain of the People, who entrusted Friar Oliverio with the construction of Palazzo San Giorgio in 1260. Before the 20th-century restoration, Sala del Capitano was divided into three separate spaces. It is the result of a reinterpretation of the entire volume of the palace by Alfredo D’Andrade, who was in charge of the restoration of the building.

The polychromy of the ceramic chosen by D’Andrade reproduces ancient Genoese motifs. The statues of the benefactors of the Bank of Saint George are in the centre, inside painted niches (only one of which is made of marble). The ceiling of the room is made of wood, with recurring joists, carved and painted red. The room is completed by a large wooden table and two bronze chandeliers that are a copy of an original 14th-century chandelier kept in the Church of Saint George in Castiglione Olona.


Discovering the Sala del Capitano

In Sala del Capitano, the statues of the deserving members of the Bank of Saint Georgeare placed along the walls in the following order, from the right:

Luciano Grimaldi by Antonio Della Porta, a.k.a. Tamagnino (1479), Eliano Carocci of the San Luca Spinolas (sitting statue) by Alessandro Scala da Carona (1533).

Eight plaques dated from 1432 to 1475, dedicated to various benefactors, are found near the corners of the walls: Brancaleone Doria, G. Spinola, Agostino and Giovanni De Mari, Andrea Doria, Ottaviano Grimaldi, Antonio Luciano and Raffaele Spinola. All of them feature the coats of arms of the respective families. The statues by famous sculptor Michele D’Aria are arranged between the windows of the east wall and depict Luciano Spinola (1473), Francesco Vivaldi (1473), famous for inventing the concept of compound interest, and Domenico Pastine. Other six plaques are found on the walls, two of which are golden. One of them is dedicated to Ottaviano Fregoso.

The north wall features Francesco Lomellino (1509) by Pace Gaggini and Antonio Doria (1509) by Tamagnino.

The west wall features Melchiorre Negrone (1572) by Battista Perollo and Ambrogio Di Negro (1490), commissioner of the Bank of Saint Georgein Corsica, by Michele D’Aria.