Park of Villetta di Negro
piazzale Mazzini, 1 - 16121 Genova (GE)
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Genoa is a city with many faces. Its marine face, deep-rooted, includes the port, and its Medieval greatness and contemporary majesty make it the biggest Italian sea port and one of the most important in Europe. The city’s intimate face is hidden in the alleys and caruggi (narrow lanes) of the historical centre, a labyrinth of shadows that connect with each other, and in the green hills that surround it, made more precious by walls and forts.

There is also, however, a noble face that expresses all its power in the villas and palaces of which Genoa is rich: from the Rolli villas, symbol of the power of the Genoese families during the long period of Republican history, to the more modern buildings, for example Villetta di Negro. With the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013), the aim is to completely renew the romantic garden around the villa, which is located in a central position in the Genoese environment and not properly used.

A little bit of history

Villetta Di Negro is uphill from piazza Corvetto, in an area where the bastion of Santa Caterina, one of those made in 1537, rises.
Work on building the villa started in 1802, while the garden layout came from the interventions carried out during the second half of the 19th century.

The aim of the project was to connect Acquasola to Villetta Di Negro, and to align the three levels of land using stairs, trails, artificial grottoes, waterfalls and water features according to the romantic taste of the period.

Villetta Di Negro was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, but already in 1948 the Municipality of Genoa decided to reconstruct the building and use it to house the Chiossone Museum.
The new building, of rational design inspired by Japanese tradition, was started in 1953 but work was slowed considerably, indeed the building was opened to the public only in 1971.

The intervention

The project aims at renewing the Villetta di Negro Park. Interventions on the greenery will be carried out: all the vegetation will be pruned, the plants will be renewed and fertilized, the groundcover will be renewed, the climbing plants will be pruned and the invasive species removed.
Some coverings will have to be reduced and the viewpoints towards the outside will be reopened. The visibility of the waterfall from outside will also be improved.

Regarding the play and sport areas, the network of trails can be indicated as an interesting way to do orienteering. br /> The main trails will be developed, making the park suitable for all types of user, with the installation of posters and signs showing the trails. The already-present lighting system will be completed. Some areas will be equipped for climbing.

Among the interventions programmed is re-activation of the passage under the waterfall that connects the two sides of the park and permits use of the parterre to the south: eliminating the protruding flowerbeds and creating a gravel road will allow it to be used for free play and meetings.
The path that enters the parterre will also be widened.

The four main entrances will have gates and CCTVs, just like the museum entrance.
The streams will be restored by waterproofing their beds and the area under the Chiossone museum will be restored. The creation of a display greenhouse would return the park to its botanical role with a suitable structure being built in the area beside the parterre.
A modern system would make it possible to develop an educational route. In the same area, the existing building could be used as the headquarters for the activities connected with the greenhouse and also for cultural activities. A rest stop could be created at the panoramic viewpoint of the house on the waterfall.


Right behind the Villetta Di Negro Park is the Chiossone Museum, with a magnificent heritage of Japanese and Chinese art.
The objects it holds were collected in Japan between 1875 and 1898 by Edoardo Chiossone, a Genoese etcher who worked in Tokyo, in the Officina Carte e Valori del Poligrafico del Ministero delle finanze (Government Printing Works of the Polygraphic Institute of the Ministry of Finance), between 1875 and 1891.

The collection includes paintings, polychrome prints, sculptures and liturgical Buddhist elements, archaeological finds, bronze pieces, coins, porcelain and enamelled pieces, theatre masks, armours and weapons, musical instruments, fabric and costumes.

The collection of pictures, polychrome prints and illustrated books from the 17th-19th centuries are well known and appreciated, together with the lacquered, bronze and porcelain pieces.


If you go to Genoa, let yourself be tempted by the local food: the undisputable king of Ligurian food is pesto, and focaccia, the simple version but also its many variants, is a worthy companion.
Pesto is especially delicious with trofie, a typical fresh pasta that is narrow, long and curled, maybe cooked avvantaggiate, in other words with the addition of potatoes, runner beans and courgettes.

Ligurian appetizers are unforgettable: from savoury tarts, with a special prize going to the Pasqualina version made from pastry that is richly filled with beet and hard-boiled eggs, to panissa, pancakes made with chickpea flour.
And speaking of chickpeas, what Ligurian table could be without the extremely fine and crunchy farinata, cooked in large pans in a wooden oven?

Fish is also important to this area: stewed dried cod, cooked with potatoes and olives, the famous anchovies from the Ligurian Sea, and boiled octopus.
The dish called Cima also merits a mention; it is prepared by filling the breast of veal with vegetables, meat, cheese, pine nuts and herbs, then sewing it closed, boiling it for a long time and leaving it to cool under a weight. A delicious dish with antique origins, it is also the main character of a song by Fabrizio De Andrè.

The best place for tasting some typical dishes is the Sottoripa portico facing the Porto Antico with its shops that sell fried food, and the many typical trattorias that are found in the caruggi.

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