Loggia dei Mercanti

The Loggia dei Mercanti was built between 1590 and 1595 by Andrea and Giovanni Vannone Ponzello, architects of the Padri del Comune bench.
Part of the funding had been obtained through the construction – and consequently the sale or rental – of small shops on the opposite side of the road.
In the following years, Taddeo Carlone and Daniele Casella completed the external and internal decorations of the building.
At the centre hung the coat of arms of the Republic. The fresco by Pietro Sorri in the lunette of the back wall, depicting the Virgin Enthroned with Saints Gio. Battista and Giorgio patrons of the city, dates back to the late 16th century.
The structure of the Loggia has mostly remained intact, comprising a single large rectangular space (111x72ft) with a pavilion vault supported by arches in full light (five on the longer side and three on the short side) and twin Doric columns.
The arches and colonnades of the sides towards the Piazza Senarega and St. Luca are blind; those facing the Piazza and Via Banchi, originally open because of the building’s function of a “covered square”, were closed with glass windows in the 18th century.
The ancient wooden carpentry of the vault was replaced with an iron structure after the fire of the bombing of November 1942.
Following the degradation of the structure at the beginning of the 19th century, in 1838 the Municipality decided for the reconstruction of the building, entrusted to architect G. B. Resasco; the Loggia was sold to the Chamber of Commerce in the following year.
On this occasion, the arches were closed entirely with window glasses, and the pavement was restored by Michele Canzio.
In 1840, the Loggia became the Stock Exchange of Genoa; it was really just a meeting place for financiers and merchants, as no banking or brokerage activities in foreign exchange and commodities ever took place in the building.
The Stock Exchange of Genoa was established officially in the Loggia only in 1855, following a royal decree signed by Vittorio Emanuele II and Cavour.
In 1863, a marble monument by sculptor Vincenzo Vela dedicated to the statesman was placed at the centre of the hall. Following the 1942 bombing, only a fragment of the head was saved, exhibited up to 1950 in the Loggia on a marble column; now, it is preserved in the deposits of the Gallery of Modern Art in Nervi.
The Loggia di Banchi remained the seat of both the Commodity Exchange and the Stock Exchange until 1912 when the latter was moved to the new building in Piazza De Ferrari.
Nonetheless, the Loggia continued to be the venue for merchant transactions until the dramatic interruption of 1942.
The restoration of the building was approved in 1945, just after the war; in 1950 all commodity exchange activities resumed uninterrupted until 1985.
Later, when the Loggia came back under direct municipal management, it became the venue for cultural events and exhibitions.
In the 1990s, some of the 17th-century statues of the benefactors from the destroyed hospital Pammatone in Portoria were located here for preservation purposes.