Cartographic and Topographical Collections

The Collections

The cartographic and topographic collections are located in the extraordinary context of the Via Garibaldi, the ancient Strada Nuova recently named World Heritage by the UNESCO along with the Via Cairoli, Via Balbi and the system of the Rolli palaces.
The extraordinary collection contains thousands of pieces different in subject and technique (maps, engravings, drawings, watercolours, paintings), all equally depicting the many aspects of the urban, architectural, and artistic history of Genoa and Liguria.
There are technical documents – e. g. city maps, regulatory plans, project designs for the opening of new roads or the construction and restoration of monuments – alongside 17th and 18th-century vedutas, and 19th-century landscapes and urban views.
Some of the best-known documents, fundamental for the knowledge of urban development, include the “plan of Genoa only within its old walls, drawn in 1656 by order of the Fathers of the City”, the grand plan in ink wash of the city in 1785 by Giacomo Brusco; the Napoleonic era maps; the crisp vedutas of Enlightenment type made in the 18th century by engraver Lucca Gianlorenzo Guidotti after the idea of Antonio Giolfi; and the watercolours by Luigi Garibbo or Pasquale Domenico Cambiaso, rich in romantic sensibility.
The collection was started during the last decades of the 19th century, under the urgency to preserve the (also visual) memory of the rapid transformation of the urban fabric. The collection grew continuously throughout the first half of the 20th century, thanks to Orlando Grosso, through donations and, particularly, a policy of purchases (among others, the acquisition of approximately 700 drawings, plans and projects by Carlo Barabino, first municipal architect) and direct commissions to artists.
Particularly significant was the donation of Edward Berry’s cartographic collection by his wife Margaret to the Municipality of Genoa in 1931, after her husband’s death. The collections feature a computerised inventory which follows the Ministry regulations for 4,760 pieces out of about 7,000, including 1,500 already available online.