Piazza De Ferrari is the main square of Genoa, and the commercial, financial and economic hub of the city. The square is dedicated to Raffaele De Ferrari, Duke of Galliera, politician and banker.
With an irregular shape, due to successive urban interventions, which led to the unification of two adjoining areas, the square is part of the ancient sestiere (district) of Portoria, and occupies an area of about 11,000 square meters.
After the annexation of the Ligurian Republic to the Kingdom of Sardinia, in 1814, the local authorities decided to create a large public space in the heart of the Portoria district, destined to become a place of social and cultural meeting.
On June 2, 1818, King Vittorio Emanuele I authorized the demolition of the Church of San Domenico, to build the Carlo Felice Theater, designed by the architect Carlo Barabino and completed in 1827. A two-storey building appeared in 1831, destined for the Linguistic Academy (Palazzo dell’Academia Ligustica).
In 1877, one year after his death, it was decided to name the square after Raffaele De Ferrari. In 1893, the monument of Giuseppe Garibaldi was inaugurated in front of the colonnade of the Carlo Felice Theater.
The current appearance of the square dates back to the first two decades of the 20th century, when the three streets converging from the east (Via XX Settembre, Via Dante and Via Petrarca) were built.
During the same period, four large buildings in eclectic style appeared, headquarters of companies and institutions. One of them, the Palazzo della Nuova Borsa, was inaugurated on the corner between Via Dante and Via XX Settembre in 1912.
On 24 April 1936, the famous fountain was placed in the center of the square. The large bronze basin, designed by the architect Giuseppe Crosa di Vergagni, was donated by the engineer Carlo Piaggio.
During the Second World War, a bombing almost completely destroyed the Carlo Felice Theater. The theater, after a long debate, was rebuilt between 1987 and 1991.
To the north of the square, two buildings in neoclassical style were built in the first half of the 19th century: Carlo Felice Theater and the Palazzo dell’Academia Ligustica. In front of the theater, we can find the equestrian statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, made by the sculptor Augusto Rivalta at the end of the 19th century.
To the west, on the side of the square facing the historical center of the city, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and two other historic buildings stand, all dating back to the 16th century, but renovated in the 19th century.
To the north, next to the Carlo Felice Theater, there are two important streets: the elegant Via Roma, full of shops and boutiques, flanked by the Mazzini gallery, and Via XXV Aprile, once Via Carlo Felice.
At the center of the square, since 1936, is the large bronze fountain that soon after the construction became, together with the Lantern, one of the main symbols of the city.
The square has regained in the nineties its former glory after a massive operation of architectural restyling, which mainly concerned the road paving, the fountain and the Palazzo Ducale.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest Metro station is De Ferrari, located right in the square. You can also reach Piazza De Ferrari by bus, with one of the Lines 18, 20, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 606, 607, 618, 635, 640 and 641, getting off at the station with the same name, De Ferrari.