Villa Sauli Podestà in Pra'
via Prà, 70 - 16157 Genova (GE)
La villa La villa La villa La villa

At the western far end of Great Genoa, rises the old village of fishermen of Pra’, today absorbed in the state capital because of the urban development. Place lived from the old Ligurians’ times, famous over the centuries for boatyards, it is the state capital of the Ligurian agricultural product par excellence: the basil.

Only if cultivated on the hills at Pra’, in fact, this aromatic plant finds the perfect climate conditions to develop that unique perfum and taste, which do of it the base for the Genoese product most known and appreciated all over the world, the pesto sauce.

And just to pesto sauce and basil winks the intervention linked to the project of valuing the Ligurian natural and cultural resources (Asse 4 del Por Fesr 2007-2013): it is in fact considered the intervention of a deep recycling on the villa Sauli Podestà and its park.

The recycled villa will house the West employment centre and the service centre of the basil park, which will be transferred here from the present near seat of villa Doria Podestà.

The new complex, strongly wanted to help the producers and promote the cultivation of basil and the production of pesto sauce as flag of Genoa all over the world, will house working location, a didactic workshop, meeting and cultural spaces, opened to the needs of the district.

A little bit of history

The villa, located on the last patch of Prà called Ca’ Nova – once called “Palmaro Carbone” – belonged to the Sauli family until 1848, the year in which it was bought by Knight Luca Podestà, the new owner of the nearby Villa Lomellini Doria (Villa Doria Podestà).

The construction of the Genoa-Voltri railway, inaugurated in 1856, the widening of the Aurelia motorway, the construction of the Genoa Ventimiglia motorway, the opening and modification of the Voltri junction and the increase of buildings on the hills notably reduced the green areas that surrounded these large 17th century constructions and marked the end of farming which, for many centuries, was the resource of the local population.

The intervention

The project considers the villa, park and garden recycling, creating some spaces to devote to the West employment centre and, above all, to the service centre of the basil park.

The villa is devoted to house offices, meeting rooms, a didactic workshop to promote the basil and pesto sauce and meeting spaces and for activities.
The intervention aims at arranging the basil park in its final seat, transferring it from villa Doria Podestà. Besides this they want to solve the park decline situation, recycling, valuing and opening it to the district activities too. In detail, they want to recycle the historical central body of the villa and the two dependence, inserting in the spaces a multipurpose room and an auditorium, building also a new structure devoted to workshop and to service of the basil park. It is besides considered the realization of a kiosk for culinary initiatives linked to pesto sauce. Keeping the respect for the preexisting volumes, two new stairs and two new elevators will be realized to make usable all the spaces.

For what concerns the park, it is considered the recycling with the maintenance of the present asset and additions to improve the ornamental looks.


Directly at the back of Genoa is the municipality of Mele, whose most interesting hamlet is Acquasanta. Important village for trekking lovers, brushed by the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, it is famous for its baths, built in the 19th century, and for the near shrine of the same name, plunged in the green and destination of pilgrimages for centuries.

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