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locandina di Genova jeans con il logo

On the occasion of GenovaJeans, an event that will be held in Genoa from  October 5th to 8th 2023, the MEI-Italian Emigration Museum is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the history of jeans, from its Genoese origins to its establishment as a global icon.

As part of the rich four-day programme of the city event (see the full programme at, the loggia room on the second floor of the Commenda di S. Giovanni di Prè will be entirely dedicated to this theme, which is also one of the museum’s fundamental themes, such as travel, migration and even trade between different countries.

In accordance with the museum’s layout and contents, the “At the roots of jeans” exhibition will be developed through multimedia supports created by ETT: videos and sliding image stations, explanatory panels (in Italian and English). A comprehensive jeans timeline will be complemented by some significant works, such as 18th-century nativity scenes with figures dressed in denim, and paintings by the 19th-century Genoese artist Giovanni Battista Torriglia depicting ordinary people also dressed in jeans. Behind the evocative power of these artefacts lies a single underlying message: the most known and popular fabric in the world today has its roots in Genoa. In fact, since the 16th century, the beginnings of this cotton twill can be found in the city, which was produced, dyed with indigo, and then exported, especially to England, where it was identified with the terms “Jean”, “Jeane”, or “Jeanes”, according to the English custom of referring to the fabric with a slightly distorted name of the city of origin: Genoa.   The participation of specialists in the history of jeans in Genoa, which began with the studies of Marzia Cataldi Gallo, under the auspices of a scientific committee chaired by Monica Bruzzone and consisting of Clelia Firpo, Anna Orlando, Cristiano Palozzi, and Giulio Sommariva, together with a team of technicians, will make the event a meeting based on scientific and educational criteria, contributing for a few days to the already rich cultural offer of the MEI-Italian Emigration Museum.

The exhibition is promoted by the City of Genoa on the occasion of GenovaJeans 2023, under the general curatorship of Anna Orlando, and organised with the support of Compagnia San Paolo. During the event, from October 5th to 8th, the museum will be open to the public free of charge during opening hours (Thursday – Friday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 11.00 am – 7.00 pm).