As one of the great Maritime Republics Genoa rose from small city to a major European power, but instead of using armies to conquer the Mediterranean, it relied on trade as its primary weapon, establishing ports and building an economic empire. Several books cover the topic including M. Gregg Robinson’s “Rival Cities: Venice and Genoa,” which looks at how the rivalry of these two Italian trading cities rose to such heights and declined just as quickly.

Steven A. Epstein looks back at the time before the great rise in maritime power with his book “Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528,” which focuses on the people during these late Middle Age centuries. Gerald W. Day focuses on the expansion of the city with his book “Genoa’s Response to Byzantium: 1154-1204: Commercial Expansion and Factionalism in a Medieval City.” And Thomas Allison Kirk’s tome could be an excellent companion piece, looking at the rise of Genoa’s power. “Genoa and the Sea: Policy and Power in an Early Modern Maritime Republic 1559-1684,” describes the growth of this Maritime Republic and how its prosperity that was linked with Spain would pass the torch to the next naval empire.

It isn’t all the sea in Genoa, a city known for its rich art. Edmund Howard’s “Genoa History and Art in an Old Seaport,” discusses the role of the Genoa as a cultural city in Italy, while Gabriele Finaldi and Sally Korman looks at the Baroque talent of Genoa. “Baroque Painting in Genoa,” covers the works of Genoese painters Bernardo Strozzi and Valerio Castello as influential painters like Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck, who called the city their home at points during their careers.