The guild of butchers was one of the earliest formed in Genoa – its establishment dates back to the 12th century – and, by order of the local authorities, the meat traders were confined from the Middle Ages onwards to the area called Soziglia, at that time a suburb of the city. Evidence that this was the butchers’ district is readily apparent in Piazza Soziglia in the form of the attractive statue of the Madonna and child placed here by the meat sellers in 1724. Macelleria Nico, which opened at the end of the 18th century, is a classic Old-World Shop. Almost everything here is of historical interest: the shop window framed by pilasters and by a splendid marble portal with bucrania (ox skull) reliefs, the floor alla genovese with the colourful geometric marble inlay work, the barrel vault ceiling with capitals. However, the pièce de résistance is the white Carrara marble counter, featuring a smooth upper part supported by sleek columns, with beautifully sculpted high relief as well as depictions of cattle – oxen, bulls, cows – and equipment for slaughtering added as trophies in accordance with the tastes of the period. On the side in front of the entrance in Via Macelli there is a bas-relief portraying Mercury, the god of commerce. This is a fascinating and intriguing shop where you can still see the original meat hook rack with a pulley, used to hang and move the large sides of beef.
Genova, Via Macelli di Soziglia, 8 R
Tel: +39 010 2474597