The house of Christopher Columbus is located near the ancient Porta Soprana in Genoa and the central square Piazza Dante. Columbus was the son of Domenico and Susanna Fontanarossa, who moved in here when the son was four years old.
House of Columbus Genoa
Address: Via di Porta Soprana – 16121 Genova. Opening hours November to March: Tuesday to Thursday from 11.00 to 15.00 and Friday to Saturday from 11.00 to 16.00. Opening hours April, May, September, October: Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 to 17.00. Opening hours June through August: Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed: Monday. Entrance fee Casa di Colombo: 3 Euro (free for people under 18). Entrance fee Casa di Colombo + Porta Soprana towers: 5 Euro (over 65s 3 Euro, under 18s free). Entrance fee House + Towers + Sant’Agostino Museum: 8 Euro. You can book through Coopculture (tel. +39 010 4490128).
History and Description
The house is located just outside the medieval city walls and consists of two floors. The first floor consists of a large room, which used to be used as a wool store, a storage room and a kind of small hallway, which gave access to the second floor. This was where the family itself used to live (although the bathroom was under the stairwell).
Probably the present appearance of the House of Columbus is the result of an 18th century renovation of the medieval house where the captain used to live 1455 to 1470. The house had probably been bombed to the ground earlier, in 1684, when Louis XIV’s French fleet had attacked the city.
When the house was rebuilt, several floors were probably added, and by the end of the 18th century it had five floors. However, these had been built by resting the joists on the walls of the neighboring houses and when these were demolished in the early 20th century the upper floors of the House of Columbus also collapsed. The demolition was necessary in order to construct the Via XX Settembre.
After the house was purchased by the municipality in 1887, it was restored along with the Porta Soprana. The purchase also ensured that the house was not further demolished, a fate which was to befall much of the rest of the neighborhood in later years.
The plaque on the façade claims that “no house deserves more esteem than that where Columbus spent his early childhood.”
Later restorations brought to light pieces of wall that probably date back to Roman times. A second discovery was that of a medieval underground channel through which water was carried away.