How has Genoa changed from 1984 to today? Here is the timelapse from the top of Google Earth

Genoa. A bird’s eye time machine: is the new Timelapse function implemented by Google Earth which allows you to see changes in a specific geographical area in quick succession from 1984 to today thanks to a series of satellite photos. The service is available for the whole globe and therefore also for Genoa and Liguria, even if the resolution of the images, especially the older ones, leaves much to be desired.

We also enjoyed analyzing the “Glance” of the last 37 years condensed in a few seconds. It is true that in Genoa the most disruptive urban changes took place in the first and especially after the Second World War (large heavy industry, uncontrolled construction expansion, the growth of port activities), but even the most recent decades have seen important transformations, many of which are still in progress.

Below you will find the interactive map already centered on the urban area of ​​Genoa. You can move as you like, set the timelapse on three different scrolling speeds and also stop on single years to stop on single details.


Surely the changes that are best appreciated through this photographic journey in the recent history of our city can be found in the western city, with the construction of the port platform of Pra ‘: the first fillings began at the end of the 70s, after a design started a decade earlier, but it is in the 80s that the works came to life.

The series of aerial photographs allows us to see in a few seconds how (and how much) the sea and the coast have given way to the large “peninsula” quay, the last filling of which in the early twenty-first century. Twenty years of construction sites that have forever changed the coast of Voltri, Pra ‘, Palmaro and Pegli, sacrificed for the commercial and port vocation of the city.

In the same years, the hills of the west were also involved in the construction of the last large public housing districts that arose in the suburbs of Genoa: the definition of the photographs only allows us to glimpse these great urban changes, which culminated with the construction of Pegli 3, better known as “Washing machines”, Whose completion dates back to 1989.

Always in the Ponente, but only in recent years, the timelapse of Google Earth allows you to see the birth of the Marina of Sestri, on the side of the airport, preceded by the changes in the area of ​​Campi and Cornigliano, with the slow emptying of the immense area occupied by the plants of the large metallurgical industry.

The port and the Fair

The other major changes that have affected our city are concentrated in the area of Old Port, where at the turn of the 80s and 90s, the thousand-year-old Genoese bay was opened to the city on the occasion of Expo 1992, or the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by our Christopher Columbus: the Google overview allows us to see in a few moments the construction of the tensile structure supported by the Bigo and its marina. In the following frames it is also possible to glimpse the emptying of large areas of the old port, such as Ponte Parodi, involved in a great season of urban changes not yet completed.

A little further on, a SampierdarenaInstead, time travel reminds us of how that part of the port, designed and built in the early 1900s, has remained almost unchanged, except for some certainly important fillings which occurred in recent years, such as in calata Bettolo and at what is today known as the Messina terminal, born from the union of the Canepa and Ronco bridges.

Among the areas that are still experiencing a profound transformation is that of fair. In 1988 the first part of the marina appears in the west of the mouth of the Bisagno, which in the early 2000s is enriched with the new tensile structure and in 2007 becomes the nautical dock we know today, the fulcrum of the Salone and alive for the whole year thanks to the yachtsmen. And then, from 2009 (but in timelapse is evident well before) the blue Jean Nouvel pavilion today used as hub for anti-Covid vaccines.

In the next few years this area will change even more radically with Renzo Piano’s Levante Waterfront project: the sea will touch the blue pavilion and the new Palasport, while a navigable canal will connect the Fiera area to the Porto Antico. Instead of Piazzale Kennedy, a park with a free beach is planned.

Center and Marassi

Another big change that can be appreciated in some way, even if the photographic contribution leaves a lot to the imagination, is the one that affected the Brignole and Marassi area at the end of the 1980s: first and foremost the construction of the large management center of Lambruschini Court, completed in the early 90s and built in place of the historic district of the same name, after the demolition of the functionalist structure of the flower market, built in the 30s following the coverage of the Bisagno.

But not only that: in a few moments, moreover, in Marassi you can see the white roof of the new Luigi Ferraris stadium (and relative plate), made for the 1990 World Cup, upsetting the old (and for many sacred) ‘basin’ of the old plant from the beginning of the century.


Even the Genoese Levant in the last 40 years has undergone enormous changes from the point of view of the urban planning, but less appreciable from the “satellite” point of view of Google Earth: with this journey through time you can glimpse the construction of the district of High Room he was born in Colle degli Ometti between Quinto and Nervi, while the proliferation of private buildings in the areas of Pieve, Bogliasco and Recco is not overlooked.

A separate discussion must be made for Rapallo and all the Tigullio: in the 80s the great season of overbuilding without brakes was almost at its final stages, but despite this, thanks to the overview from above it is clearly visible how even in recent years small and large houses have continued to be built and how the areas green are constantly shrinking, especially in the hilly areas overlooking the sea. It is no coincidence that the neologism “rapallization”Has become, and still is, the word that best indicates wild and indiscriminate urbanization, the daughter of a season, that of concrete, which seems to never end.

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