A Cry of Revoult!
Genoa is a city where you would often like to wander looking upwards.
Well, if by chance you are really looking up while you’re walking in Via San Lorenzo, you may see a low relief depicting a particular scene. It represents a heroic aristocrat who offers his chest to none less than a cannon. Behind him a crowd of commoners seems to go wild.
This scene has really animated the city of Genoa in 1747! It was the period following the anti-Habsburg uprising. But in Genoa you can never have a moment of peace, indeed the city exploded again at the news that the nobles were plotting to bring the Austrians back into the city! From the alleys around Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) a crowd sprang up, pushing two cannons in front of the palace’s door. It could have been the beginning of a catastrophe but our patrician hero saved the day and his own skin. Indeed Giacomo Lomellini came out and, quite bravely, reassured the crowd until it gave up the insurrection.
After this episode a new Genoese proverbial expression was born!
“Il Lomellino ha aperto il portone” (The Lomellino has opened the door) remained for years as an indication of the success of rhetorical displays, which however were followed by no action.
After more than a century Lorenzo Costa charged an artist with depicting the episode in the loggia of his new palace.
However the clothes of the commoners admonished by Lomellini follow, with deliberate anachronism, those of the Jacobin revolutionaries, but this is another story…