leggende genovesi

Genoese legends and myths

Fascinating Genoese legends shroud the city of the Superb like a veil of mystery: they lurk among its beautiful little squares, among the caruggi.

There are many myths and stories, sometimes unknown even to the inhabitants themselves, that elevate the majesty of Genoa, a stupendous city that kisses the mountains on one side and caresses the sea on the other.

In this guide we want you to discover some extraordinary Genoese legends. Let’s get started!

Ghost legends: the spectres of Fort Spur

The legend of the ghosts of Fort Spur takes place within the Genoese walls, in this very fort built on top of Mount Peralto.

This is the 7th century. Here, a young girl, perhaps 15 years old, takes her sheep out to pasture, just like every day.

As bad luck would have it, along the way he encounters a malefactor who has just robbed and killed a nobleman. The naive girl thinks he is a hunter or a shepherd like her; therefore, she is persuaded and follows him to an isolated place.

It is here that the man beats and rapes her, killing her with a terrible bite to the throat, then feeding her to his dog.

Attempting to escape from the guards, the man falls and dies in a cliff: the girl’s body is found a few days later by local farmers.

It is toward the end of the 20th century that the ghost makes his first appearance in the Fort Spur stable: during a séance he confesses that he is forced to wander for eternity with the ghost of the poor maiden and her dog.

From this time on, there are those who tell of seeing the three ghosts, especially in winter and just before dawn.

Legends also tell of love stories, such as the next one we tell you about….

The Story of Perfect Love Square

The story of Perfect Love Square is about an unfortunate platonic love, pure and chaste.

In the sixteenth century, during a ball organized by Genoese nobles, a stroke of lightning causes love to break out between Tommasina Spinola, a Genoese noblewoman, and the King of France Louis XII.

But Louis must return home, while the beautiful noblewoman is married to Doge Battista Spinola.

Therefore, the love between the two continues, but Tommasina is forced to remain within the walls of her palace until she receives the tragic news that Louis XII died during the Battle of Cerignola.

This discovery shocks her for weeks and, with a heart consumed with grief, she eventually dies. But the truth is… Louis did not die: the news was false!

Years later, the king returned to Genoa, here he discovered that his beloved Tommasina was gone forever.

So he goes to the square to pay his respects to her and, with a nostalgic veil, sighs at the palace windows, “It could have been a perfect love.”

And so, out of this melancholy missed love, Perfect Love Square was born.

The legend of the prisoners of Campopisano

The third of the Genoese legends we want to tell you about is that of Campopisano, an ancient 13th-century square near Piazza Sarzano, decorated with blue and white sea pebbles.

Here, in this small corner of the city of Genoa, 9,000 Pisans were buried, taken prisoner and then fallen during the Battle of Meloria in 1824.

It is said that the souls of those prisoners are still here-some say it is possible to see them coming from the Pier to Campopisano during stormy nights.

The Legend of St. Syrus and the Basilisk

On a very ancient place of worship, what we now know as the Genoese historic center, stands the first cathedral of the diocese of Genoa, known as the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, now the Basilica of San Siro.

Legend has it that, in the 6th century, that area of the country was haunted by a basilisk, a mythological creature capable of killing or petrifying by a simple look directly into the eyes.

Here the inhabitants turned to Bishop St. Syrus with the intention of asking him to help them rid themselves of this terrible animal.

Therefore, St. Syrus, after praying and fasting for three days, went to the well where the basilisk lived and persuaded it to enter the bucket, which he threw down.

Once inside the bucket, the bishop prayed, thus succeeding in persuading him to disappear into the sea forever.

The basilisk well, today, no longer exists because it was closed by Doge Giovanni Da Murta in 1347, however, in vico San Pietro della Porta, you can admire a plaque depicting St. Siro and the basilisk. The plaque dates back to the 16th century, and a text engraved on it reads:

“Here is the well from which the most blessed Syrus, Bishop of Genoa, brought forth the terrible serpent named Basilisk – 480″

Where to stay

Just under a kilometer from the city center and a hundred meters from the Brignole train station, Urban Flora is the perfect place to visit Genoa and experience its caruggi rich in history and legends.

With us you will experience a Scandinavian-modern look, where fresh and pleasant plants will make you enjoy as much relaxation as possible and for an unforgettable vacation. All rooms provide a private bathroom, smart TV and free Wi-Fi that will make you feel right at home. Book your room now or contact us to ask for more information.


caterina campodonico

Caterina Campodonico, the peanut lady

With a stern, authoritative face, the story of the statue of Caterina Campodonico, known to most as the “peanut seller,” is among the most moving and tender in Genoa.


Rolli Days 2024: “Genoa Garden of Europe”

After the fall edition, the Rolli Days, days in which it will be possible to admire, free of charge, in all their splendor, the sumptuous Renaissance and Baroque-style palaces that became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2006, return to Genoa, May 17-19.

michele novaro

The mystery Michele Novaro

“Creator of mighty harmonies”: one can read this definition on the grave of Michele Novaro, the author of one of the music most familiar to Italians, our National Anthem.
His name, however, was forever obscured and almost forgotten unlike that of Goffredo Mameli, who, on the other hand, is punctually remembered when it comes to the “Canto degli Italiani” whose words he composed.

nicolo paganini

Nicolo Paganini, the devil’s violinist

Nicolò Paganini is universally recognized as one of the greatest violinists of all time and a key figure in the history of music.
His life and music are shrouded in an aura of mystery and fascination, with tales that mix musical genius and legends.

forti di genova

Genoa, city of walls and forts

Rich in caruggi and historic palaces, Genoa is a city that in its hills is surrounded by the Parco delle Mura, a protected natural area that is home to several rare species of animals, and a large number of forts erected around the seventeenth century to protect the city.
In this article we find out what the forts of Genoa are and their history.

leggende genovesi

Genoese legends and myths

Fascinating Genoese legends shroud the city of the Superb like a veil of mystery: they lurk among its beautiful little squares, among the caruggi.