Liguria (Genoa) - Northern Regions

"Liguria (Genoa) - Northern Regions" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

Liguria is an ancient region, it had already existed as an administrative unit in Imperial epoch of Augustus, being the 9th region of empire. Its name is derived from the name of the ancient people of Ligurians.

Area: 5 420 (2090 sq.miles) (1.8%), population 1 640 000 inhabitants (3.0%), density 303 inhab./

Easily approachable from the sea and from the west, Liguria was inhabited since the prehistory. The signs of presence of the first men were found mostly in the seacoast caves. The ancient people Ligurians apart from this territory, occupied other regions of peninsula: Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta. But the most intensive organization of the life in these territories took place only after the Romans came (II century b.C.): fortified villages, establishment and development of ports (Lunae Portus, close to modern La Spezia); construction of important roads (Aurelia, Clodia, Postumia, Julia Augusta).
liguria in northern region
Starting from the Middle Ages, while Genoa being the marine republic began to expand its territory, two factors characterized an arrangement of the regional space: blooming of specialized horticulture and penetration of the cultivation activity in less hospitable inland.

During the Modern epoch, especially from the middle of 18th century increase of population and lack of agricultural resources made Ligurians oriented to other specialized activities: oil mills, pasta factories, floriculture (imported from the neighbouring French Blue Coast).

Thanks to its geographical position as the sea port of Po's plain, in the end of past century and in the beginning of this century, here and especially in Genoa grew a big industrial infrastructure. In the meanwhile starting from the first decades of the XX century the English discovered some wonderful places for tourism on Ligurian coast.



Man and Territory Economy and Resources

Archeology and Art


The human being is already presented on the territory of Liguria in Palaeolithic period: lives in caves and conducts artisan activity. . Palaeolithic engravings and statues (cave of Balzi Rossi).

Roman Epoch
(from II century b.C.)

Romans defeated Ligurians and founded Genoa (Genua). The territory is under profound transformations: construction of roads, bridges, ports). Roman amphitheatre of Luni.

Middle Ages
(V - XV centuries)

After Barbarian invasions and Lombardian domination (640) the region was under constant threat of Norman and Saracen invasions. Since XIII century Genoa is an important marine republic. In this period too place numerous long wars between Genoa and Pisa and between Genoa and Venice. . Religious architecture, numerous fortresses and castles.

(XV - XVI centuries)

. Genoa developed its overseas traffics and financial activities. Great renewal of the monuments in Genoa from the part of banking and merchant   aristocracy.

Modern Epoch (XVII=XVIII)

The fall of Republic of Genoa in 1796 caused by French invasion; Liguria was united with the kingdom of Sardinia in 1815. Increase of population and of import. The first industries: oil mills and pasta factories. .

XIX - XX centuries

In 1860 from the town of Quarto close to Genoa started the expedition of 1000 leaded by Giuseppe Garibaldi. After the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, the traffic of the port of Genoa grew a lot. In 1886 was founded La Spezia, an important military port. The development of touristic activity. By the end of the WWII the region is characterized by intensification of producing activity, but after the 60's the decline of the ship as the mean of transportation of passengers on the long distances and competition of the other ports in Mediterranean sea determined the crisis of the shipyard industry in Liguria and reduce of port activities in Genoa. But the touristic boom keeps on growing. From 1865 the principal touristic localities of the coast (Alassio, Sanremo, Bordighera, Nervi, Rapallo) got an extraordinary urbanistic development: seaside streets, villas and hotels.

liguria map


The region stands between the mountains and the sea, occupying The Maritime Alps and Ligurian Apennines. Liguria borders on France (west), Piedmont (north), Emilia-Romagna (north-east), Tuscany (east), Ligurian sea (south).


Thanks to its geographical position protected by mountains and close to the sea Liguria is granted with the mild climate of Mediterranean type. It favored the development of absolutely typical vegetation: olive, maritime pine, cypress, juniper.


January: 7.3 C

July: 22.1 C


plain: 0%

hill: 35 %



Two factors influenced the change of original landscape: heavy industry and tourism. After the 60's of this century the development of industry construction, highways and expansion of port stopped growing caused by competition with other ports and crisis of heavy industry. Since then the main activity moved to the seacoast parts reacting to the increasing tourism with its hotels, pensions, restaurants, second houses, car parking, etc., bringing harm to the environment and inhabitants when the population especially during July-August  is 10-15 times bigger than original one.
But such parts of Liguria as Riviera di Ponente (from France border to Genoa) and Riviera di Levante (from Genoa to Tuscany border) still conserved  the elements of its genuine landscape.
Liguria is poor of plain zones, long rivers and lakes, but there are numerous hills where olive and fruit and grape are cultivated.


The physical condition of the region make it not appropriate to the terrestrial   (highways and railways) commercial, industrial and touristic traffic. While the sea communications are very well developed with presented here three ports of Genoa, Savina and La Spezia. Genoa is also the seat of an airport destined for national and international flights.


Total: 26 900 000

Italians: 83%

Foreigners: 17%


agriculture: 4%

industry: 22%

tourism: 74%

Agriculture and breeding.

Poor with fertile land but having a good climate Liguria has developed the cultivation of flowers (roses, pinks), decoration plants, olive, wine grape, as well as vegetable, fruit and olive oil productions. The level of fishing activity is quite low because of the scarce fish resources of the Ligurian Sea and water pollution.


The primary industrial activities of the region are metallurgical, shipyard, petrol-chemical, electric-technical and food. But for a number of years already especially because of the crisis in heavy industry a big part of the sector is reorganized. Took place even the conversion of some industries, for example, construction of ships of great tonnage decreased, so the shipyards started production of seaman ships (motorboats, outboard motor-boats, sailboats, yachts...) which is very successful nowdays.



44 000 000 kWh


200 000 kWh



128 000 000 kWh


15 600 000 kWh

Births (per 1000)

Italy: 9.9

Liguria: 6.5

Deaths (per 1000)

Italy: 9.3

Liguria: 13.3


Italy: 0.6

Liguria: -6.8


The population in Liguria is concentrated on the coasts which are much richer with the economical activities than inland. Genoa contains 2/5 of the whole Ligurian population.


Ligurians live well. Even if the welfare here is less than in other northern regions (excluding Emilia-Romagna), the average length of life in Liguria is one of the longest in Italy. This explains why numerous pensioners from Milan and Turin move in Liguria to spend the rest of their life at the sun and breathing pure air. Even if the gross income is less than in Piedmont and Lombardy Ligurians do not save money as much as in richer regions and spend them more for sport and recreation. The public service is very well organized. This is also the most informed part of Italy according to the number of newspapers and magazines bought by Ligurians yearly, this could be explained by the presence of a big quantity of old people and pensioners in the region and low birth-rate.

Inhabitants per car

Italy: 2.0

Liguria: 2.0

Monthly income

per inhabitant

1 513 000 It.Liras 

(756 US Dollars)

Provinces and communes


The region is divided in four provinces: Genoa, Imperia, La Spezia, and Savona with 235 communes.
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