Weights and measures

The city’s long-standing engagement in trade is testified to, among others, by the weights and measures used in the centuries of the Republic.
The collection includes a large range of measuring prototypes used in Genoa before the introduction of the decimal metric system as a consequence of the annexation of the city to the French Empire in 1805.
These are bronze samples and iron and copper prototypes, which served as a model for manufacturers of weights and measures used in the trades and as a means of comparison in case of legal complaints.
The bronze samples were kept in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo to safeguard their integrity, while the iron, copper and glass prototypes were kept in the Magistrate of Censors, an office in charge of monitoring quality, prices, weights and measures until the collapse of the aristocratic republic in 1797.
The items of the collection officially ceased to be used in daily life and became museum exhibits starting from 1892, when they were displayed at the Palazzo Bianco, then at the Naval Museum of Pegli in 1930, at the Museo della Villetta in 1934 and finally at the Palazzo Rosso since 1961.
The whole collection was eventually moved to the premises of the Archivio Storico del Comune (Historical Archive of the Municipality) in the Palazzo Ducale in 1999. Today, the building houses not only its fonds, but also the iron, copper and glass prototypes used by the Magistrate of Censors for its monitoring activities on trade and craftwork.