Old shops

  • by

The glassmaker and the barber

If you asked any passerby of the 19th or 20th centuries or a Pope like Enea Silvio Piccolomini in the Middle Age, they would both describe Genoa as a lively city where “ you can buy any goods”. Commerce was so bound to Genoa’s soul that alleys and squares’ names often refer to commercial vocations! Paper-maker Alley, Dyers Alley, Grocers Alley are just some examples.

It is precisely in the Dyers Alley that a glassmaker named Edoardo Bottaro opened his workshop.

Edoardo was sent to Paris by his father, who was a tailor and wanted him to learn his trade; but once his son arrived in the French city something happened. Edoardo found his own calling! Indeed, while the young man was there, he had been struck by the amazing and colorful stained-glass windows of Notre Dame.

But let’s fast forward to 1922.  At that time the glassmakers in Genoa were about twenty, but Italo Giacalone asked precisely to the Bottaro family to renovate the barber shop opened by his father in Vico Caprettari fifty years earlier.

Years passed by, the Bottaro glassworks moved to Piazza Cicala and in 1992 this workshop was entrusted by FAI (National Trust for Italy) with the restoration of the same barbershop.

We’ve just told you more than a century of history in a tale that demonstrates how the ancient shops are part of Genoa’s soul in the same way as the buildings or the Cathedral.