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Genoa (Liguria, Italy)


Last modified: 2013-04-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: genoa | genova | republic of genoa | liguria | gryphon | cross | janus | zeneise |
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The first flag of the Republic of Genoa was red with Saint George riding an horse, attested after 1198. The Republic used in land after 1218 an white flag with red Saint George cross, later also used as ensign since 1238. This flag was in use until 1805.
Jaune Ollé, 13 October 1998

Red cross on white field. This flag is listed under number 54 at the chart "Flags of Aspirant Peoples" [eba94] as: "Liguria (Genoa) - North-West Italy."
AFAIK , Genoa is the capital of Liguria. Lega Liguria uses more complicated flags, including the red cross on white field.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 1999

The Statute of the Comune (Community) of Genoa states under Title 1 - General Principles, point 4:
"The Community of Genova has its own coat of arms, its flag - both a red cross on a white field - and its gonfalone, prized with a golden medal for Military Value for the contribute during the Liberation (in World War II) and it depicts Saint George killing the dragon."(See: <>).

The story behind this is very interesting. Here follows a brief summary:
The vexillum beati Georgii (flag of Saint George) is first reported in the Annales Januenses of 1198 (Genoa Yearbook). A red flag with Saint George riding a horse and striking a dragon was the state flag till the first half of the XIII century. A picture of it appears in the Annales Januenses describing the capture of the city of Savona in 1227. The banner with four tails is placed before the Genoa commanders tents and its importance is stressed by the author, who wrote "vexillum" under it. Meanwhile, the Community flag, ie the red cross on a white field, was also used. It is first reported on 28 September 1218: the insignia cruxata comunis Janue (cross ensigns of the Community of Genoa) were flying on the city of Ventimiglia, which surrendered to Genoa. At this point it was a land flag only. It assumed a modern rectangular shape, with no tails, from mid of the XIV century. The vexillum beati Georgii is still described in 1241 for the fleet of Genoa, being the war ensign and the Admiral proper, but in 1242 the signum Communis, ie the cross flag, was also in use, displayed on the galleys. The vexillum beati Georgii was flown from the commander (Podesta') galley only. Until at least 1282 this was the Admiral standard. Today the flag of the Comune of Genova (Genoa) is still the red cross on a white background and the Gonfalone is the banner with the Saint striking the dragon.

Source: Aldo Ziggioto, Genova, in Vexilla Italica 1, XX (1993);
Aldo Ziggioto, Le Bandiere degli Stati Italiani, in Armi Antiche 1994.
Pier Paolo Lugli, 18 July 2000

I looked up Genua on the flagchart that forms the cover for Vlaggen - Sierksma, and this shows for 1756 the "Pavillon de Genes" to be a white flag with a red cross
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 18 July 2000

In 1099 in the first crusade a Genoese fleet conquered some cities along the coast of the Middle East. The Genoese went then straight to Jerusalem where they gave a determined help to the Christian warriors. Guglielmo Embriaco took the red cross up on to the top of a hill near Jerusalem and said "Pe Zena e pe San Zorzo" ("For Genoa and for Saint George"). Since that moment the red cross is synonomous with Genoa, even before it became a symbol of Milan, England etc...
Filippo Noceti, 22 February 2001

I would like to invite everybody to treat carefully statements of this kind. Crusader flags were the patterns for many following banners and, eventually, flags, but at the time there was no concept of flags in the modern way. Aldo Ziggioto works on the Italian flags are the reference for everybody who wishes to study the topic.
Pier Paolo Lugli, 22 February 2001

This is the flag of Genoa. Since 1099. It is dark red almost maroon.
Filippo Noceti, 22 February 2001

Maybe it is true that during the crusades we can't speak of official flags but the Republic of Genoa was born in 1099 and all over the Mediterranean Sea a red cross meant Genoa. In 1248 at the battle of Victoria near Parma the Genoese crossbow-men conquered the new imperial city. Milan asked to take the red cross and the allied Genoese allowed them to take the flag. The Genoese and Pisan fleet cleared the western Mediterraneum of the Musulman fleet but after 1284, when Pisa was defeated at the battle of Meloria, and remained the only maritime police (Venice had been beaten at Corcula in 1297). When the Saracens saw the red cross they fled and didn't attack. In 1992 for the genoese columbus festival in Genoa the Duke of Kent have written some words about the relatinship trough Genoa and England in past history: "...The St. George's flag, a red cross on a white field, was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190 for their ships entering the Mediterranean to benefit from the protection of the Geonoese fleet. The English Monarch paid an annual tribute to the Doge of Genoa for this privilege..." You can find the full text at the site <> . In 1304 Venice took Constantinople but in 1361 the Genoese fleet helped Michele Paleologo (scismatic Emperor) to take power in the Eastern Empire, so the trade route to the Black Sea becamed Genoese and they fortified lots of cities and the cities they colonized in south-eastern Europe in fact have arms with a red cross.
Filippo Noceti, 2 March 2001 and 6 June 2001

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs: Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971[ nor71] (original print 1848):
197 Genoa- As above.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001

The Gonfalone

image contributed by Filippo Noceti, 27 June 2000

Official city gonfalone is this one. The Gonfalone of Genoa reppresent St. George killing the Dragon
Filippo Noceti, 27 June 2000

The gonfalone of Genoa has the gold medal for the resistance during the second world war, because Genoese fought for their freedom by themself.
Filippo Noceti, 19 September 2001

image from <>

The website <> show different gonfalone.
Eli Gutterman, 10 November 2005

Coat of Arms

image contributed by Filippo Noceti, 8 June 2001

image by Andre' Serranho

The symbol of the city of Genoa is with Griphons, St. George cross and at the top Gianus the roman god with two faces, the Roman god of Genoa.
Filippo Noceti, 22 February 2001

The god is usually spelled Janus in English.
Ole Andersen, 22 February 2001

At the base, on the both, there is the spur of a roman allegoric ship whith the snout fo a wild boar.
Filippo Noceti, 8 June 2001

I believe he meant a Roman ship with a boar's head figure on the bow. I cannot see enough detail to confirm it, but suspect Filippo is referring to the small embellishments upon which both griffin supporters are  resting a paw.
Ned Smith, 8 June 2001

There is an error in my previous text. . The spur is a real thing that have been found in 1597 in the Gulf of Genoa and it's really a part of a roman ship, it isn't an allegoric picture. Now it's in Turin in a museum, Savoia taked it during their reign. You can see this image on lot of genoese monuments, like the monument to Columbus, the Triumphal Arch builded after 1st world war or on the paint of the admiral Andrea Doria. At <> you can see them all around the rounded base of Columbus munumet and at <> on the top at the level of arch in the corners. You can see it at the site of the Gallery of Tourin <>.
Filippo Noceti, 22 June 2001

Flag According to Book of all Kingdoms (late 14th Cent.)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 December 2009

The 26th flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms [f0fXX] is attributed to Génova (usual Spanish form of Genoa). This as depicted in the 2005 spanish illustrated transcription [f0f05], a white flag with a red cross throughout, reading "iustiçia" in balck letters accross the the upper half; the flag shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of [f0fXX] describes the flag thusly: "El señor della á por señales un pendón blanco con una cruz bermeja. Encima está escripto «Justicia» d’esta manera" (And its lord has for sign a white pendon with a red cross. Atop it is written «Justicia» like this.).
The lettering reads rather "iustiçia", set in black uncial (lower case) letters, with dotless "i", so-called long "s" ("&#383;"), unorthographic cedilla, and ligated "sti", with "iusti" on the upper fly quadrant and "çia" on the upper hoist.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 November 2007

Flag According to Steenbergen Book (1862)

image by Jaume Ollé, 11 April 2003

No. 430 - Duchy of Genoa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 11 April 2003

image by Jaume Ollé, 8 June 2003

No. 649 - Genoa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 8 June 2003

image by Jaume Ollé, 15 June 2003

No. 692 - Genoa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 15 June 2003

Lengua Zeneise

Anyone knows what is the language that is represented by a red St. George cross on white at <> ?
It is probably connected with Genoa or Liguria since it looks like some coltural organization from Genoa. Their gonfalone at: <>.
Dov Gutterman, 11 July 2001

The word "zeneise" maens citizen of Genova in the local language of Genova. The red cross on a white background is the flag (vexillum) of Saint George, a saint which Genova is devoted to. This flag was adopted in the age of the first Crusade and lately England was allowed to use it by the Republic of Genova.
This is a short story. You can find a longer explanation (in English) at my pages.
Franco Bampi, 12 July 2001

In the Liguria Region is spoken as native tongue a language called "Ligurian" that, I think, was also the official language of Genoa Republic.Zeneise is the local dialect of this language spoken in the city of Genoa and is the main dialect of this language, it's like a standard ligurian.
Edoard Salza, 12 December 2001

Gonfalone of “A compagna”

image contributed by Ivano Piermarini, 21 January 2004

“A compagna” is the Association of the Genovesi loving of Genoa and their ancient land, the ancient glories, the beauties, the traditions, the language and the customs of their People, beside and above every political and religious faith. In the front part it represent Saint George (patron of Genoa and protecting of Liguria), in steel armor. In the posterior part it represent the figure of the “Grifo” and the coats of arms of the eight Compagne Genovesi: San Lorenzo, Piazza Longa, Sozziglia, Portanuova, Borgo, Castello, Porta and Maccagnana. In the Middle Ages, the noblest and rich citizens of Genova organized themselves in consortia of families that lived in the same contrade and that they had common interests. Such consortia were named compagne.
See: <> and <>.
Ivano Piermarini, 21 January 2004

Genoa Cricket and Football Club

The flag of the Genoa Cricket and Football Club1893 is red and blue.
Corrado Mortelli, 21 February 2006

Sampdoria Footbal Club (Unione Calcio Sampdoria)

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 September 2005

I saw this morning in the Lisbon airport the arrival of a large and noisy party of soccer supporters from Italy. I think they are Sampdoria fans . Some of them had flags, apparently mass-manufactored, matching other fan gear: Medium blue with a wide central white stripe and and thinner red and black stripes on it. Approximate specs: (9+3+2+2+3+9):42 = 2:3.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 September 2005

It is the Sampdoria flag. It is Italian football club of Genoa, founded by the merger of two minor club in the Genoa area: Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria.
Paolo, 15 September 2005

 I believe you might be interested in one small (very big to a Genoese) detail about Sampdoria football club: It is not a team from a suburb of Genoa but it is a team founded in 1946 by the fusion of two exsisting teams: one was the Sampierdanerese (which means "from Sampierdarena, a popular industrial neighborhood of Genoa) the other one was the "Andrea Doria" which is as Genoese as you can get (the name was taken from the famous admiral). The name was indeed Samp + Doria = Sampdoria.  It is a football team founded by teams well rooted in Genoese tradition.  On the contrary "Genoa Cricket and Football Club" was founded by British citizens in Italy and won all of the championships with a team completely made by British citizens. It is now part of the blood and DNA of town, of course.
Paolo Tavella, 15 March 2006