Statues - Hither & Thither

Italy
Cogoleto
Genova (prov.)

Liguria

Piazza Antonio Giusti

Monumento a Cristoforo Colombo

Columbus monument

Domenico Vassallo
1864/88

Cogoleto /  Monumento a Cristoforo Colombo   Cogoleto /  Monumento a Cristoforo Colombo

Description

Bust on a marble pedestal with the date 11 OTTOBRE 1492 in a laurel wreath, placed with two marble griffions on a granite base.

Inscription(s)

On the base, front:
center:

A
CRISTOFORO COLOMBO
COGOLETO

to the left:

DEDICATO
NEL
1864

to the right:

ERETTO
NEL
1888

On the right side of the granite base:

CIRCA HAEC TEMPORA
CHRISTOPHORUS COLUMBIS
LIGUR COGORETIO
REPERIT INDIAS OCCIDUAS
CRONACA DI TAGGIA
ANNO 1498

On the left side of the granite base:

R. COLOMBO DI COGOLETO
TANTO GRANDO IN ESPAGNA. . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
IL SENATO DI GENOVA
AD AMB. G. B. DORIA
AMBASCIADORE A MADRID
7 NOVEMBRE 1886

Annotation

In 1864 the sculptor Domenico Vassallo showed and offered to the Municipio of Cogoleto this bust. The following years he added a base, and the monument was unveiled in 1888. The detailed story of the monument and its important meaning was written in a book edited in 1888 by the Municipio of Cogoleto.
It is also said that the monument is a gift of the local citizens emigrated to the Americas (north and south).

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.

This monument on postcards

Click here for the postcard(s) and enlargement(s)

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location N 44°23'22" E 8°38'45"

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Item Code: itli009; Photograph: 8 August 2001
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