It is a very special palace located in the historical centre of Genoa. It has a very rich history and a very important prophecy regarding the future of Genoa. Let’s know it better!
Palazzo Casareto – De Mari or Palazzo Ottavio Imperiale or Palazzo del Melograno (that’s are all its names) is located in Piazza Campetto 2 in the heart of the historical centre of Genoa.
Its construction started at the end of the XVI century. Even before the completion, in 1588, it was already included to the palaces of the Rolli and inserted in the second category (of the palaces that could host dukes, ambassadors and bishops). Later it passed permanently to the first category (and it could host kings, emperors and popes). It was the propriety of different, nobles families like Sauli family and De Mari family. In the XIX century, the palace passed to the Casareto family and remained their propriety until nowadays. Today the palace houses a large department store and apartments. Nowadays, the official name of the palace is Casareto – De Mari, but already in the XVII century, it was known with another name. In fact, it is commonly known as Palazzo del Melograno that means the Pomegranate Palace.
Ottavio Imperiale, the owner of the palace, was an avid player of “biribisso”, an ancient gambling game. The legend tells that the nobleman often played that game. The game was similar to roulette but instead of numbers, it was played with cards with images. During an unlucky evening of “biribisso”, Ottavio lost almost all his proprieties (!). However, when everything seemed lost, he pointed his last propriety on the card with an image of the pomegranate tree. That choice changed everything and it caused a series of “miraculous” wins that made him regain every single lost coin. From that moment, Ottavio adopted the pomegranate as its lucky symbol and wanted it everywhere 😉
Another part of the legend says that in those days, the strong wind has brought the seeds of pomegranate to the palace and helped them to plant themselves there. In fact, nowadays, you can notice a small pomegranate tree above the entrance to the palace.
The pomegranate seed has settled between the balcony on the first floor and the entrance door. There, in an almost inexplicable way, it found a favourable habitat and over the years grew and became a tree 😉 Now in 2019 that pomegranate tree still blooms, after the centuries, after the bombings and harsh winters. Why? Because for now the prophecy has not been broken yet! It is an unwritten prophecy that says:
As long as that pomegranate tree will live,
the city of Genoa will prosper,
when its life will cease,
the Superb will be over!
That’s why inhabitants of Genoa always take a look at how is the pomegranate tree. If it’s flourishing they are sure that the city will stay well. Now also you know the story so when you pass by there take a look and make sure that pomegranate tree is not overlooked 😉
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