Griffins of Genoa

January 14, 2010 / Local Interest
Genoa, Liguria
img_3840The griffin is a legendary creature usually depicted with the body of a lion combined with the head and wings of an eagle. It is a fierce creature that symbolizes divine power, military courage and intelligence. For these reasons, the Genovese adopted the Griffin as their city’s guardian.

During the expansion of the Republic of Genoa between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the image of the Griffin spread like wildfire. The mystical beast was placed on the coat of arms and could be seen across the republic due to Genoa’s seafaring prowess.

Today, the griffin can be found all over the city of Genoa, from flags to lampposts and even churches. In fact, the griffin was rumored to be the protector of the divine and it became a symbol of the sanctity of marriage due to the griffin’s characteristic monogamy.

The legendary creature’s fidelity was so strong that if a griffin’s mate passed away, he/she would remain alone, to forever mourn their lost love.


Ian Zurzolo

by Ian Zurzolo

Writer, editor, American University of Rome graduate, Italian Notebook Editorial Intern.

2 Responses to “Griffins of Genoa”

  1. I think the following paragraph adequately defines “characteristic monogamy”.


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