Statues - Hither & Thither

Italy
Cogoleto
Genova (prov.)

Liguria

Via Rati 28

Affresco sulla casa natale di Colombo

Fresco on Columbus' birth house


1650/1826

Cogoleto /  Affresco sulla casa natale di Colombo   Cogoleto /  Affresco sulla casa natale di Colombo

Description

On the façade facing the Via Rati a text is painted. The plaster of the façade is obviously being restored and the text is hardly readable. The old black-and-white photo, found somewhere on the web, is made when the text was readable - however, the photo is too small. Completed with the official website of Cogoleto.

Inscription(s)

A CRISTOFORO COLOMBO
CON GENEROSO ARDIR DALL'ARCA ALL'ONDE
UBBIDIENTE IL VOL COLOMBA PRENDE
CORRE S'AGGIRA TERREN SCUOPRE E FRONDE
D'OLIVO IN SEGNO AL GRAN NOE' NE RENDE
L'IMITA IN CIÒ COLOMBO NOÈ S'ASCONDE
E DA SUA PATRIA IL MAR SOLCANDO FENDE
TERRENO ALFIN SCUOPRENDO DIEDE FONDO
OFFRENDO ALL'ISPANO UN NUOVO MONDO
Li 2 Decembre 1650
Prete Antonio Colombo
Rinovata] l'anno 1826 [li 9 d'Agos[    
Hospes siste gradum: fuit HIClux prima Columbi
Orbe viro majori; Heu! Nimis arcta Domus

Unus erat Mundus; Duo sunt, ait Iste: fuere

Annotation

In the copy of the will of Domenico Colombo from Cogoleto, father of Christopher, dated 1586 (the original was lost in 1449), we learn that the house in question was located in the district of Caroggio. This district, in later times, was named Jujube, then Via Cristoforo Colombo and Via Rati now. Originally the building that houses the home of Christopher Columbus Cogoleto was composed of a ground floor and two upper floors. In 1650 the Rev. Antonio Colombo, a descendant of that family, made necessary repairs and painted on the front the portrait of Christopher Columbus and the inscriptions.

On this house there are two plaques commemorating the visit of King Umberto and his brother Amedeo in 1857 (façade facing Via Rati) and the salute of the North-American steamer Princetown in 1847 (façade facing Lungomare Santa Maria) .

Cogoleto

In 1893, Néstor Ponce de Léon wrote about this village in his chapter on Columbus portraits (p. 12-14):
"Cogoletto is a small village fifteen miles from Genoa, which claims to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. A tablet has been placed in an old house in one of the principal streets in commemoration of this dubious fact. Nevertheless, the very room and the corner in which the Discoverer was born are shown to all visitors who are willing to spend a small sum for the privilege of admission. In this house there is also a small portrait of Columbus which is asserted to be of great antiquity, but evidently it is only a copy from the Jovius.
But there is another picture in the Council Hall of the village which is really deeply interesting. Its antiquity has been almost proven by Isnardi in is work, Sulle Patria de Colombo, who says that its history can be traced for over three hundred years; and some have gone so far as to pretetnd that it is the original and now lost portrait of the Jovian Gallery. A single glance at it will show its striking likeness to the Altissimo, to the de Orchi and the Yañez portraits, and to all those emanating from the Jovian type. It even has the same inscription, thus showing their common origin. The picture is in bad condition, and does not appear to be the work of a master-hand."

We visited Cogoleto on 8 August 2001. The "birth house" is closed for public, but has a huge fresco on the façade and plaques on front and back side. A friendly town official in the town hall guided me to the mayor's room, where a painted portrait of Columbus and some documents hang. If the portrait is the same as described by Ponce de Léon, it is now thoroughly restored, because it looks new to me. In the hall of the same building is a model of the Santa Maria. One of the main streets is of course named Via Cristoforo Colombo.

We found the following memorials to Columbus:

  1. Marble bust on the Piazza Giuste before the west façade of the Municipio.
  2. A portrait in relief and tiles with scenes of Columbus's life on the north façade of the Municipio.
  3. A large fresco on the façade of Columbus's birth house.
  4. A plaque commemorating the visit of King Umberto and his brother Amedeo in 1857.
  5. A plaque commemorating the salute of the North-American steamer Princetown in 1847.
  6. A plaque confirming Columbus' origin of Cogoleto.
Here is a interactive map with the locations of the memorials.

Sources & Information

Tags

Location (N 44°23'21" - E 8°38'42")

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Item Code: itli004; Photograph: 8 August 2001
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