The Ligurians and the birth of Genoa

In the room dedicated to the metal age (5500-3000 years ago), on the first floor of the Museum, you can discover the oldest metal objects found in our region: spikes, awls, copper ornaments, axes and bronze daggers. This is a period of great change for mankind and the land: intensive pastoralism is spreading, the practice of setting fire to the woods to obtain pasture land, the formation of clans and other consanguineous groups whose burials are found in caves and monumental tombs. Among these new manifestations there is also the phenomenon of menhir statues: in the room you can see the menhir found in Zignago, perhaps a hero ancestor figure carved in stone that also bears a later inscription in Etruscan characters. Another artistic and cultural manifestation of this period is represented by the rock engravings of Monte Bego and Valle delle Meraviglie, in Val Roia (IM), where thousands of images depicting men, animals, weapons and plowing scenes were made by the people of the mountain who went up to the high altitude pastures. On display are original pieces of rock with engravings and some drawings made by the English scholar Clarence Bicknell who, at the end of the nineteenth century, documented hundreds of reliefs and casts of this extraordinary heritage.

In the next room we talk about Ligurians: the people of the Iron Age (9th - 2nd century BC) settled on a large part of North Western Italy and France and were reported by Greek and Roman historians as composed of tribes of barbarians, illiterate, treacherous, liars but also daring and brave in war. The warrior component emerges in their tombs: in the tomb of Savignone where we find among the objects also a sword with the blade folded back on itself and in the famous tomb of Pietra Ligure, which belonged to a high-ranking warrior chief with a set of weapons including an antenna sword characteristic of Central Europe.

The two rooms dedicated to the birth of Genoa, which develops on the Castello hill from the end of the 7th century BC, tell the extraordinary mix of cultures, languages, ideas, products and habits created by people of Ligurian, Etruscan, Po Valley and Mediterranean origins, which contribute to the genesis of the city. The material displayed in the windows come from the first 121 tombs found in via XX Settembre, in the current city centre: Etruscan bronze objects, Greek ceramics with red figures, jars for perfumes from the Near East, bowls and terracotta pots of local Ligurian production. The combination of these materials shows the multicultural character of the centre. Of great interest are, in the second room, tomb 30 belonged to a rich woman originating in Como and tomb 84 (5th century BC), with the extraordinary dishes for serving wine.

The tour ends with the statue of the Cerberus, found in the area of via Fieschi, in the heart of Genoa: it is a unique marble group, which brings together Etruscan, Celtic and Mediterranean cultural elements.