The Most Serene Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 until Napoleon put an end to so much in 1797. During its heyday it claimed territory as distant as Syria (most of these far-flung territories were conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century). On May 17, 1229, Rapallo swore absolute fidelity to the Genoese Republic and by an act effected in the Palazzo dei Fornari di Genova, became a Podesteria. A Podesteria is a district administered by an official called a Podesta, usually of the noble class, which we would today call a Mayor. Until 1608 the Rapallo Podesteria was under the aegis of the Chiavari Captaincy. In 1608, owing to its increased historical and strategic importance, Rapallo was elevated to its own Captaincy which included the towns of Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino, Zoagli and parts of the Val Fontanabuona.
On Sunday (May 12) about thirty Rapallesi in marvelous costumes re-enacted the celebration of the constitution of the city as a Captaincy. After the parade there was a program at the town Bandstand. which recreated the presentation of the city to the Capitaneato,
Here are some photos of the re-enactment (all I could think as I was watching it was how much more colorful, peaceful and fun it was than an American Civil War re-enactment.
It was by the luckiest of chances that we happened upon this re-enactment. We had gone to town to meet someone, and just stumbled on what should have been the main planned event of the week. What I loved most were the costumes – there’s a part of me that wishes we still dressed like this – maybe not the hats, though a good veil is always an excellent accessory. I love the long dresses that fall from an empire waist, with slit sleeves – it’s all impossibly wonderful.