Giovanni Rivara fu Luigi
Niccolò Rivara set up a business in Sestri Levante trading textiles. In 1825 one of his sons, Luigi, relocated to Genoa on the corner of Piazza San Lorenzo and Via di Scurreria, where the shop has remained to this day, strategically positioned opposite the cathedral. By the mid-19th century the Rivaras had a huge customer base, as documented in the cash book of 1847: the middle classes, aristocrats, Queen Maria Cristina of Savoy (the wife of Carlo Alberto), religious orders, hotel and restaurant owners. The shop, selling fabric of various kinds for underwear and linen as well as the famous Chiavari macramé, has been handed down from generation to generation and is still a point of reference for the Genoese. Luigi Rivara recently celebrated the 200th anniversary of the business. He proudly remembers that when Pope John Paul II stayed in Genoa on a visit, he slept on Rivara sheets. The decor retains its 19th century appearance with the lovely sign, windows and iron and glass entrance, cupboards, shelving, a ladder on the wall and the solid walnut counter made from a single piece of wood more than five metres long. Among the precious objects are the old accounting records entered in books that had to be audited annually by the local council, and the stamped tape measures from the 19th century.
As well as the mezzari (block printed motif fabrics) with traditional designs and modern interpretations by Genoese artists, there are many documents bearing witness to an important part of the economic history of the city and beyond: the fabrics used came from the affluent Lombardy region and by sea from England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium.