Educational experiences and study holidays

The ligurian language: Words and sounds of a maritime city with international history

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Luogo:Genova (GE)

€€ (average)

The experience

Ligurian, or also the Ligurian language, is the set of languages spoken on the territory of the ancient Republic of Genoa. Contrary to what you can read around, Ligurian is not a dialect of Italian (which actually has no dialects!) but it is a real Romance language that is a corruption of Latin like Italian, French, and Spanish.

Hearing Ligurian used in colloquial meetings, reading its millenary literature, listening to songs and theatrical performances, gives a unique emotion, especially remembering that these Ligurian languages were those spoken by our grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandfathers, since ancient times.

In this workshop you can find lost sounds, but also recover traditions that no longer exist today.

Below we try to summarize the contents of the workshop divided by themes. From time to time, the presentation of the topics may follow a different juxtaposition between sounds and images.

The sounds of Genoa

The most important sounds are those of the Ligurian language, in particular those of the urban variant spoken in the center of Genoa. A characteristic feature is the inflection, in Genoese called còcina, which is the most evocative peculiarity of the Genoese dialect. Here, in summary, are the topics covered by the workshop.

  1. Books. A real curiosity, which has to do with the emigration of our great-grandparents, is contained in this question: why is Google digitizing so many books in Genoese and about Genoese, in particular dictionaries? Participants, in addition to the answer, will be offered a free USB stick with the most important Genoese books digitized by Google.
  2. Loanwords. Genoese is a corruption of Latin; As it has evolved, it has imported its own words from other languages. Repertoires of Arabic or Turkish, French, Spanish and English words will be shown.
  3. Folk songs. There are many popular songs, by anonymous and author, with Genoese texts; Participants will be offered a music and dance recital
  4. The trallalleri. They are a typical Ligurian song; They are performed by a team of singers composed as follows: the first, the second, the alto, the guitar voice and the basses, minimum four. You will be able to listen to a singing team and realize the role of the various voices.
  5. Literature. Those interested will be able to listen to a summary of Genoese literature, which dates from the end of the thirteenth century to the present day, and the reading of some short texts in Genoese with translation.


Images of Genoa

Like any city with a great history, there is a lot to see in Genoa. In this workshop, we will cover these three topics.

  1. The half-wheel. In Genoese it is called mêzou and it is the large veil that women use in popular songs. Very rich in colors, in the versions that will be presented there is the tree of life to be seen.
  2. The flag of Genoa. Why is the flag of Genoa identical to that of England? History teaches us that things are the other way around: it is the English flag that is the same as the Genoese one. We are at the time of the Third Crusade… but let an Englishman, the Duke of Kent, tell us about it.
  3. The historic shops. In Genoa there are about fifty: it is worth seeing at least one: who knows how many times our ancestors have bought from them speaking in Genoese.

Words and music that touch the heart

The images and sounds have a strong evocative aspect: they lead the mind to wander with the heart to review and relive places with a strong historical and social impact. Being here, perhaps among the alleys traveled by people from all over the world, is an opportunity to feel in us the strength of our fathers who were able to make this city a world excellence.

Visit lenght

2 hours

Offer in


Information/To know

Location/The place


Via dei Giustiniani, Genova, GE, Italia

How to get there

By train: from Genova Brignole station

By bus: various lines, Piazza De Ferrari stop

By metro: Piazza De Ferrari stop

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Sonio Liguria ETS

Schedule and timetable

Variables, by reservation

Check the business's official website for up-to-date information.