Columbus Monuments Pages

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Genova (prov.)

Via Rati
(Palazzo del comune di Cogoleto)

Ritratto e le scene della vita di Colombo

Columbus portrait and life scenes

Brunella Ratto

Cogoleto /  Ritratto e le scene della vita di Colombo


On the north façade of the Municipio (town hall), facing Via Rati, is a relief portrait of Columbus made of fire-clay, surrounded by a border of tiles, showing sixteen scenes from the life of Columbus.


On the portrait:

At the bottom of the tiles:


The sixteen tiles - click on the small photo to get it bigger.

1: Il primo avvistamento della terra

2: Presa di possesso del paese

3: Santa Maria, Nina, Pinta (these writings surround a small portrait of Columbus)

4. Il primo ritorno in Spagna

5. Colombo trionfante - Castile Leon Aragon

6. La partenza da Palos
Detail of the portrait
9. L'addio a Cadice

7. La Guardia Reale consegna il mandato

10. Colombo e suo fratello in catene

8: Isabella da in pegno i suoi gioielli

11: Nella vecchiaia

12: Al monastero di Santa Maria della Rabida

13: Casa natale di C. Colombo A.D. 1436

14: coat of arms

15. Valladolid. La locanda dove Colombo mori'

16. Ultimi onori mori'


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


Locatie (N 44°23'22" - E 8°38'46")

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Item Code: itli005; Added: 8 August 2001  / Photograph: 8 August 2001

© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt