Though Genoa has been the birthplace of many historical greats, there is no doubt that Christopher Columbus is the city’s most famous native son. Columbus was born in the Ligurian city in or around the year 1436 and spent much of his childhood there. As he went on to travel the world, he always maintained a special connection with his hometown. Upon his discovery of America, Columbus donated one-tenth of his income to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa for the relief of taxation on food. Columbus never forgot his city, and in turn, his city has not forgotten him.
At the center of Piazza Acquaverde stands a massive statue of Columbus with long hair dressed in a cloak. His left hand rests on an anchor while his right is on the shoulder of a figure holding a cross, an ode to the Italian navigator’s discovery of America and spreading of Christianity. At each of the four corners of the base stands a smaller square pedestal, on each of which is a seated statue representing Piety, Science, Constancy and Prudence. Between the statues are four reliefs which chronical Columbus’ journey to America. The prominent statue greets visitors as they enter Genoa, reminding them that they are in the city of Columbus.
Not far from the imposing statue is another significant Columbus site, the home in which he was born. The small medieval house is located in downtown Genoa and features a collection of objects and reproductions relating to the life and travels of the world’s most famous navigator.