Circolo Artistico Tunnel is a private members’ club, which includes, among its members, gentlemen belonging to the Genoese business and professional community.
Società del Tunnel, with premises in Via Carlo Felice 9 (now Via XXV Aprile), was founded on 1st July 1875.
The unusual name of the club might refer to the construction of the Frejus Tunnel, an impressive, bold work opened in 1871. Such railway tunnel, at that time the longest in the world, whiped up enthusiasm and confidence in scientific and technical progress. Its “dress rehearsal” was in 1856 in Sampierdarena (a Genoese suburb), when a new technology, pneumatic drilling machines, was tested, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Camillo Benso, count of Cavour.
An alternative hypothesis traces back the club name to Traversata Tunnel, that from 1872 connects Piazza Principe Station and Brignole Station. Such tunnel was considered at the time as a work of great modernity and importance, and even today is essential for Genoa railway node.
At the origin of the present club there is also the Circolo Artistico, established on 15th January 1882. The first premises of this club, in Palazzo Antoniotto Cattaneo (then Negrotto Cambiaso), Piazza della Nunziata, were inaugurated with a great party on 20th March 1882; local press of the time devoted ample coverage to the event, and Nicolò Bacigalupo, then Treasurer of the club, eternalized it in verse with an operetta of 1883.
In 1889, the club moved to Palazzo Giorgio Spinola (also known as Palazzo Tedeschi), in Salita Santa Caterina, 4. The new location was equipped with an extensive library, pianos, luxurious carpets, antique furniture, ornaments and works of art, as well as desks and accessories for the drawing school, to provide members the opportunity of becoming themselves appreciators of the Arts.
Circolo Artistico Tunnel was the result of the merger, happened on 18th Decembre 1891, between Società del Tunnel and Circolo Artistico.
The new born club initially maintained its premises in Palazzo Tedeschi; in 1894 it moved to Palazzo Gerolamo Pallavicini, in Via Carlo Felice 12 and, then, in 1930, to Palazzo Angelo Giovanni Spinola in Via Garibaldi 5, where it remained for the following 80 years.
In July 2009, the Club moved to Via Garibaldi 6 (Palazzo Gio Battista Spinola), after a careful and accurate restoration work of the present premises of the club.
Among the past members of the club, there are “prominent names,” such as Giuseppe Verdi, Giulio Monteverde, Camillo Sivori, Nicolò Barabino, Alfredo D’Andrade, and many others.