Genova is the reputed birth home of Columbus ... and its most famous personage. There are statues and even the airport in Genova is named after Christopher Columbus.
Nobody gets a day off though in Italy that I know of -- because frankly, he left here when he was a child and did most of his growing up and work for his Spanish patrons.
People in American take the day off to celebrate his accomplishments (or what they are told are his accomplishments). Personally, I think they were looking to win over the votes of the Italian-Americans ... they could have picked several better examples - such as the Florentine Philip Mazzei who inspired Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, or the Florentine inventor Meucci who really invented the telephone (a feat that has finally been recognized), or so many others. Why did they pick Columbus?
Some years ago I was in the Bahamas on Columbus Day ... and I asked if they celebrated Columbus Day. The lawyer I was talking to laughed out loud for several minutes ... and said the only thing Columbus ever discovered was syphillis and then brought it to the new world. He said maybe the real reason people in America celebrated Columbus is for getting lost and only giving it to the people in the Carribbean. He might have a point -- as there is no record he ever reached continental US.
The following video clips reveal some disturbing facts about Columbus's legacy (especially his second trip) ... and even more so about the Bush legacy -- which continued some of the work Columbus started.
Even though Columbus didn't "discover America" (that's an interesting topic all by itself) perhaps what we are really celebrating is the idea -- that government backed businessmen could go visit a foreign country where people are living - plant your flag there and claim their resources, land and people for your own country. It is an idea that has been tried over and over again ... and still is in use today.
Anyway -- we love Italy, and the people of Genova ... but I think you might want to check out the enclosed link provided courtesy of Brasshcheck TV before you continue your celebrations.