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CJ Arenzano

An Italian Island Jewel

  1. kipate
    Game Version:
    • Cities XL Platinum

    Arenzano is an Italian city located on an island in the Tyrhennian Sea, about 20 kilometres apart from Livorno, Italy.



    During the late Roman Empire, Arentianis served as an outpost for the Classis (the Roman navy), and as a stopover for trade ships, which could land within the little bay on the northern shore (where the former sickbay is located). A village grew around the outpost and farmers suplied the soldiers with food and other goods. When the Roman Empire perished, the islanders found themselves in the middle of nowhere, and many left the island to search for a better life on the mainland.

    In the 7th century, Benedictine monks found an abbey on the Island, and once again, a village started to grow nearby, as the farmers and craftsmen could now earn their livelihood by selling goods and services to the monks.

    In the 11th century, the Republic of Pisa occupied the island to use it as a strategic outpost against the Saracens. The Castello was built on a hill at the northern coast. The village nearby grew, and a certain wealth was acquired by exporting goods like wheat to the the mainland.

    When Pisa lost its power to the rising Genoese Republic in the early 14th century, the island also fell under Genoese rule. A governor was installed, and plans were made to build walls around the town as well as to build another castle on a hill southern to the town. But the intense rivalry with the Venetian Republic took all the financial support.

    After the Genoese army was decisively defeated in the Battle of Chioggia, the island once again changed its owner. But Venice never sent soldiers to consolidate its power. Hence the city council tried to establish close bonds with the rising regional power of Florence; and they were successful, the town even served as a summer residence for the Florentinian elites.

    With modern ships, fishers could exploit fishing grounds that were located far away from the island. Part of the catch was dried and sold as stoccafisso on the mainlaind (especially ling was used for this method). Together with the exports of corn, the town's exchequer was well-filled, and within the next centuries, the city could afford the construction of major landmarks, for instance the Chiesa di San Pietro (Church of Saint Peter) in 1650 AD, or the University of Arenzano.

    The city managed to stay out of any major conflict that took place on the mainland within the next century, mostly due to clever marriage politics. After the Congress of Vienna, the town supported the Italian urge for unification, and was financially rewarded by King Victor Emmanuel II after his crowning in 1861. The money was used to construct high schools, patriotic statues and structures, as well as to expand the university.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the city had become a holiday spot for the intellectuals and the rich elites from the mainland. After WWI, the tourism sector was expanded with the construction by several hotels throughout the city, topped off with the completion of the Grand Hotel Arenzano on the remnants of the unfinished Genoese castle in 1929.
    Arenzano did not experience any major destruction within WWII, only in early 1945, an air raid by the RAF hit parts of the new town, resulting in 90 dead citizens.

    After the war, the city quickly recovered, due to the trading ships being able to safely ship within the Tyrhennian Sea again. The harbour was expanded, and the town's sea carrier companies became regional players. Unfortunately, the modern fishing trawlers lead to an overfishing, and overthrew the city into a severe crisis. The city's mayors of that time tried to counteract by seeking for investments into tourism and high-tech industry: the landmarks were renovated and a collaboration between university's biological faculty and an Italian pharmaceutical company was set up, resulting in the construction of a plant 5 years later.

    In the 1990s, the European Union developed and financially supported a program to help the suffering Italian fishing industry, and due to better regulations, Arenzano's fishing industry has been growing since.

    Most recently, the city became known for being the first major Italian town where the majority of city council members are from the Green Party.


    Grand Hotel Kempinski in Arenzano

    In 1923, a rich Milanese businessman visited the island for the first time, and albeit he was impressed by the town's landmarks, he missed a spot to have a better sight onto them. Hence he bought the area of the unfinished Genoese castle and had the Grand Hotel built on. Today, next to being the city's most famous landmark, it serves as a conference center for the financial elites and as a refugium for Italian actresses.

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    The Old Town

    The old town remains the number one spot to get to know the city's rich history and the local culture. Top spots to visit are the castle on the hill, the Saint Peter's Church, the Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune's Fountain), the former sickbay, the city hall, as well as the former governor's residence, which nowadays serves as a Museum of Arts.

    The Castle

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    The Chiesa di San Pietro (Saint Peter's Church)


    The Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune's Fountain)

    Teaser013a.jpg Teaser050.jpg

    The former sickbay/ lepra station

    Teaser049a.jpg Teaser104a.jpg

    The City Hall


    The Governor's Residence



    The New Town
    The new town was mostly built between the 17th and 20th century, albeit it underwent its striking changes within the late 19th century. It is famous for the University of Arenzano as well as the long esplanades alongside the island's eastern coastline. Some other spots to visit are the Piazza di Cavour (Cavour's Square), the Cimitero sull'Isola (Graveyard Island), and the Castello Piccolo.

    Teaser077a.jpg Teaser079a.jpg Teaser062a.jpg
    Teaser085a.jpg Teaser059a.jpg

    So, big thanks to all the modders, without their work that city had never been possible to create :)

    If you liked this episode, you will love the update:

Recent Reviews

  1. Игорь
    I really like it!
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Thank you, I appreciate it :)
  2. Drey 2
    Drey 2
    what a charming city, with ancient architecture and a good place for tourists, streets with small businesses, where tourists get their money, everything pleases me on the beach, a good place to live it all makes the city unique
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Thank you a lot, it took a lot of freetime to create all the little things along the coastline :)
  3. riscoo
    hey! Arenzano is such an amazing city, i love all the details, i would like a lot to visit it :) I wanted as well to ask you where I can find the stone terrain as you can see in the first Medici Garden picture, and where I can find the houses that already come with the own game that have red roof, as in photo 14 and 19 I think. Thanks a lot and keep going! :)
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Thank you for your kind words, it was a lot of work :)
      The mod that changes the roof coulour can be found on the first page of the project thread of DrazicDesign, here is the link:
      What do you mean with stone terrain? The mountainside is indeed part of the game terrain, I adjusted the gamma values within Photoshop, so it looks a bit different :'D
  4. niziol27
    Great work!!! :D
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Thank you :)
  5. exit1423
    Wonderful city, nice composition, lots of great details.
    I can feel how much you devote yourself to this city.

    I even felt a shame that poor graphic quality of this game couldnt make this city better enough!
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Oops, I forgot to reply, I am sorry :(
      Thanks for your kind words and indeed, with XXL background, it would have looked a bit better^^
  6. Project_Oz
    Excellent custom made construction and impressive details. I am very happy to see that you are among the very few who have built protected harbor. You're getting really good.
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Thank you a lot :)
      Indeed, the harbour was one of my favourite parts to play on. Well, I think the 3D View in Google Maps has helped me a lot :D
  7. lennon77
    I would love to visit this city with that charming old district
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Hey thanks for your review :)
      I would love to do so, too, as it is really cold here in Germany -.-
      But have you seen the update with the garden as well?
  8. AlPhAE
    INCREDIBLY! I like this style! LIKE!
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
  9. Kris2604
    Absolutely amazing! Very inspirational for my future projects!
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Thank you for your kind words, I feel honoured to hear that my journal may have inspired you :)
      But don't forget that there are other journals as well, and many may be even as inspirational as mine, just take a look at the City Journal section ;)
  10. solo
    stunning detail, do you have any aerial photos I always like to see the urban sprawl and how a city suits the landscape.
    1. kipate
      Author's Response
      Hey, thx for your kind words. It took me a long time to build some suburbs. But so far, I have not made much progress with the city due to an error which has the streets appear white when I zoom out. So far, nothing has helped, and it is really frustrating.