Genoa is the capital of Liguria. Genoa is one of the major economic – productive centers of Italy, as well as one of the main university, scientific, cultural, artistic, musical, food and wine, trade fairs, tourism and sportsmen of the country. Genoa is currently the busiest in Italy.
Overlooking the Ligurian Sea, Genoa is a gateway to the Riviera. Genoa is a once glorious port city ull at once of grandeur, sparkling light and deep shade.Genoa was the capital of one of the maritime republics from the 11th century to 1797. In particular, from the 12th to the 15th century, the city played a leading role in trade in Europe, becoming, at the time, one of the largest naval powers and considered among the richest cities in the world.
The city is a typical Italian city with Mediterranean-looking houses topped by slate roofs, filled to the brim with outdoor cafes and bars, with lots of tiny and quirky alleyways, elegant designer shops, and restaurants. Genoa’s historical city centre is also known for its narrow lanes and streets that the locals call “caruggi”. The city’s splendor is often hidden in the narrow streets of the historic center, with typical slate-roofed houses, artistic churches, pretty seaside villas and several luxury boutiques.
Genoa’s old town presents a blend of medieval, Renaissance and baroque buildings that spring up from its narrow alleyways, with over 40 ornate palaces, plus museums, designer shops, history feels alive in the extensive old city of Genoa. As Italy’s oldest continually inhabited city, Genoa was once the richest city on earth and the maritime capital of the world for over 700 years, from the 11th century to 1797. The weighty architectural heritage speaks of its former glory, the twisting maze of caruggi are largely intact.
As a tourist attraction, Genoa has a long history as a rich and powerful commercial center. It is a historic port city in northern Italy, therefore, the busy city port, filled to the brim with yachts, boats, cruises, ferries and cargo ships. The old port has been renovated, and has some funky avant-garde modern architecture, a delightful marina, and several seaside bars and shops. The symbol of the city is its lighthouse, known as the Lantern, while it is traditionally represented by the Cross of St. George, in the coats of arms supported by two griffins. Genoa is also well know for the birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbusit.
Genoa is a glorious port town, whose decay, however, is what makes it so interesting and pretty. The façades of grand palaces are hidden in scruffy, yet enticing alleyways, and there are really curious treats for anyone in virtually every alley. With its multitude of hidden gems behind the cozy alleys, the excellent cuisine (especially fish and seafood), the renovated old port, the beauties (including one of the largest aquariums in Europe) and its location European Capital of Culture in 2004. Part of the historical centre Genoa was also inscribed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO) in 2006 as Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli.
Its portit is the largest, most important and famous in Italy and represents the largest Genoese industry as well as one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and in Europe. The city also boasts a long tradition in numerous industrial sectors such as those of heavy industry, shipbuilding, diving and the food industry. The city retains its independent edge with hip local designers, a vast student community and a cutting-edge food and drink scene. Genoa is also an established cruise, publishing, banking – insurance and communications technology hub.
A visit to the Lantern of Genoa guarantees a breathtaking view of the port, the real beating heart of the city. A fixed stop on the Grand Tour of European aristocracies, Genoa was visited by a large number of travelers and writers during the modern age, including Montaigne and Nietzsche, but also in the Middle Ages (Dante, Petrarca). It has also provided particular locations for numerous films. Numerous museums can be visited including the Museo del Mare. To have beautiful views of the city, suitable points are Spianata Castelletto or the Bigo.
Notable to the city are the Palazzi dei Rolli, Genoa’s 16th-and 17th-century decadence lives on in these incredibly well-preserved palaces, which were once used to host high-profile guests of the Republic of Genoa. There are 40 stunning palaces to check out in Genoa, included in UNESCO World Heritage Site: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli. The enormous Palazzo Reale, the former home of the House of Savoy, has much of its original furnishings on display. Look out for its priceless frescoes and baroque sculptures by Italian master Filippo Parodi.
The world-famous Strade Nuove are via Garibaldi (Strada Nuova), via Cairoli (Strada Nuovissima) and via Balbi (Strada Balbi). Among the most important palaces are the Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Podestà o di Nicolosio Lomellino, Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Angelo Giovanni Spinola, Palazzo Pietro Spinola di San Luca and Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria.
Genoa’s historic centre is articulated in a maze of squares and narrow caruggi (typical Genoese alleys). It joins a medieval dimension with following 16th century and Baroque interventions (the ancient Via Aurea, now Via Garibaldi). Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list are the city’s main shopping street, Via Garibaldi, and neighbouring Via Cairoli and Via Balbi – together forming Strade Nuove (New Streets). So, even a simple walk through Genoa’s Old Town unveils Renaissance and Baroque buildings dating back to the 16th century.
Near Via Garibaldi, through the public elevator Castelletto Levante, one can reach one of the most scenic places in the city, Belvedere Castelletto. The centre of Genoa is connected to its upper part by ancient paths caught between tall palaces, called creuze. Walking along these small paths one can reach magnificent places like the Santuario di Nostra Signora di Loreto. Very beautiful is the upper ring road so-called Circonvallazione a Monte that includes Corso Firenze, Corso Paganini, Corso Magenta, Via Solferino, and Corso Armellini.
San Lorenzo cathedral has a splendid portal and the dome designed by Galeazzo Alessi. the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, whose Gothic facade and Romanesque arch interior are considered a marvel of medieval architecture. San Lorenzo Cathedral with its unique black-and-white-striped Gothic exterior continues to impress once inside. Inside is found the treasure of the Cathedral where among other objects there is also what is said to be the Holy Chalice. The 16th-century baroque church Chiesa del Gesù, which boasts a vaulted dome ceiling and paintings by Rubens.
The symbols of the city are the Lanterna, built in 1543, is the third-oldest lighthouse in the world and at an impressive 77m (253ft) tall, the highest in the Mediterranean, old and standing lighthouse visible in the distance from the sea. Another symbols is the monumental fountain of Piazza De Ferrari, recently restored, out-and-out core of the city’s life. Near Piazza De Ferrari and Teatro Carlo Felice is the Mazzini Gallery, a typical nineteenth-century structure with many elegant shops and coffee bars.
“Biscione”, a development in the shape of a long snake, situated on the hills of the populous district of Marassi, and the one of the group of houses known as “Le Lavatrici” (the washing machines), in the district of Prà. Beyond a complete restyling of the area, the ancient port zone nearby the Mandraccio opening, in Porta Siberia, was enriched by Genoese architect Renzo Piano with a large sphere made of metal and glass, installed in the port’s waters, not far from the Aquarium of Genoa, and unveiled in 2001 in occasion of the G8 Summit held in Genoa. The sphere (called by the citizens “Piano’s bubble” or “The Ball”), after hosting an exposition of fens from Genoa’s Botanical Gardens, currently houses the reconstruction of a tropical environment, with several plants, little animals and butterflies.
Nearby the Old Harbour is the so-called “Matitone”, a skyscraper in shape of a pencil, that lays side by side with the group of the WTC towers, core of the San Benigno development, today base of part of the Municipality’s administration and of several companies. Piano also designed the subway stations and, in the hills area, the construction – in collaboration with UNESCO – of Punta Nave, base of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Genoa has one of Europe’s largest preserved historical centers, made up of an incredible number of tiny streets and alleys called Caruggi. Walking through it will plunk you right back to olden times when Genoa was the most important harbor of the Mediterranean sea. More than 100 “Palazzi dei Rolli” was inside these alleys, noble palaces of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, 42 of which have been registered in the UNESCO world heritage list.
The main features of central Genoa include the Piazza De Ferrari, around which are the Opera and the Palace of the Doges. The Palazzo di San Giorgio was the headquarters of the Bank of Saint George and was the place where Marco Polo and Rustichello da Pisa composed The Travels of Marco Polo. Outside the city walls is Christopher Columbus House, where Christopher Columbus is said to have lived as a child. The current building is an 18th-century reconstruction of the original which was destroyed by the French naval bombing of 1684.
Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi), in the old city, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2006. This district was designed in the mid-16th century to accommodate Mannerist palaces of the city’s most eminent families. In Genoa there are 114 noble palaces: among these 42 are inscribed on the World Heritage List. Among the Palazzi dei Rolli the most famous are Palazzo Rosso (now a museum), Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Tursi, Palazzo Gerolamo Grimaldi, Palazzo Podestà, Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Angelo Giovanni Spinola, Palazzo Pietro Spinola di San Luca, Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria, Palazzo Cicala. Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso are also known as Musei di Strada Nuova. The famous art college is also located on this street.
The Genoese artistic renaissance begins with the construction of Villa del Principe commissioned by Andrea Doria: the architects were Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli and Giovanni Ponzello, the interior was painted by Perino del Vaga and the garden fountain was realised by Taddeo Carlone. In 1548 Galeazzo Alessi, with the project of Villa Giustiniani-Cambiaso, designed a new prototype of Genoese palace that would be an inspiration to other architects working in Genoa as Bartolomeo Bianco, Pietro Antonio Corradi, Rocco Lurago, Giovan Battista Castello, and Bernardino Cantone. Peter Paul Rubens wrote Palazzi di Genova in 1622, a book dedicated to the palaces of Genoa.
Scattered around the city are many villas, built between the fifteenth and the twentieth centuries. Among the best known are: Villa Brignole Sale Duchessa di Galliera, Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini, Villa Doria Centurione, Villa Durazzo Bombrini, Villa Serra, Villa Giustiniani-Cambiaso, Villa Rossi Martini, Villa Imperiale Scassi, Villa Grimaldi, Villa Negrone Moro, Villa Rosazza, Villetta Di Negro, Villa delle Peschiere, Villa Imperiale, Villa Saluzzo Bombrini, and Villa Grimaldi Fassio.
As it regards the 19th century remember the architects Ignazio Gardella (senior), and Carlo Barabino which among other things, realises together with Giovanni Battista Resasco, the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno. The cemetery is renowned for its statues and sepulchral monuments that preserve the mortal remains of notable personalities, including Giuseppe Mazzini, Fabrizio De André, and Constance Lloyd (Oscar Wilde’s wife). In the first half of the 19th century they are completed the Albergo dei Poveri and the Acquedotto storico. In 1901 Giovanni Antonio Porcheddu realised the Silos Granari.
The city is rich in testimony of the Gothic Revival like Albertis Castle, Castello Bruzzo, Villa Canali Gaslini and Mackenzie Castle designed by the architect Gino Coppedè. Genoa is also rich of Art Nouveau works, among which: Palazzo della Borsa, Via XX Settembre, Hotel Bristol Palace, Grand Hotel Miramare and Stazione marittima. Works of Rationalist architecture of the first half of the 20th century are Torre Piacentini and Piazza della Vittoria where Arco della Vittoria, both designed by the architect Marcello Piacentini.
Other architects who have changed the face of Genoa in the 20th century are: Ignazio Gardella, Luigi Carlo Daneri who realised the Piazza Rossetti and the residential complex so-called Il Biscione, Mario Labò, Aldo Rossi, Ludovico Quaroni, Franco Albini who designed the interiors of Palazzo Rosso, and Piero Gambacciani. The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art, designed by Mario Labò, has one of the largest collections of Oriental art in Europe.
Other notable architectural works include: the Old Harbour’s new design with the Aquarium, the Bigo and the Biosfera by Renzo Piano, the Palasport di Genova, the Matitone skyscraper, and the Padiglione B of Genoa Fair, by Jean Nouvel. Genoa was home to the Ponte Morandi by Riccardo Morandi, built in 1967, collapsed in 2018 and demolished February–June 2019.
The historic center of Genoa is one of the most densely populated in Europe, with an urban structure, in the oldest part, articulated as it is in a maze of squares and narrow alleys. It combines a medieval dimension with subsequent sixteenth-century and baroque interventions (piazza San Matteo and the old via Aurea, which later became via Garibaldi).
Remains of the ancient walls are visible near the cathedral of San Lorenzo, a place of worship par excellence of the Genoese.
Symbols of the city are the Lantern (117 m high), an ancient and towering lighthouse visible in the distance from the sea (over 30 km), and the monumental fountain of Piazza De Ferrari, restored, the beating heart and real city agora.
Tourist destination par excellence is also the ancient seaside village of Boccadasse, with its picturesque multicolored boats, placed as a seal of the elegant promenade that runs along the Lido d’Albaro, and renowned for its famous ice creams.
Outside the center, but still part of the thirty-three kilometers of coastline included in the municipal area, are Nervi, the natural gateway to the Riviera di Levante and Vesima, the natural gateway to the Riviera di Ponente.
The new Genoa has based its rebirth above all on the recovery of the green areas of the immediate hinterland (including that of the Beigua Regional Natural Park) and on the construction of infrastructural works such as the Aquarium at the ancient port – the largest in Italy and one of the largest in Europe – and its Marina (the tourist port capable of accommodating hundreds of pleasure boats). All this within the renovated Expo Area prepared for the Colombian Celebrations of 1992.
The newfound pride has returned to the city the awareness of being a city capable of looking to the future without forgetting its past: the resumption of numerous and luxuriant artisan activities, absent for some time from the alleys of the historic center, is a direct testimony.
Contributing to all this were also the restoration works carried out between the eighties and nineties on numerous churches and city buildings, including, on the hill of Carignano, visible almost from every part of the city, the Renaissance Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.
The total recovery of the Doge’s Palace – once the seat of doges and senators and now a place of cultural events – and of the ancient port and the rebuilding of the Carlo Felice Theater, destroyed by the bombings of the Second World War which only spared the neoclassical pronaos of the architect Carlo Barabino, were two other strengths for the construction of a new Genoa.
Another monument of significant importance restored to new splendor is the monumental cemetery of Staglieno, in which rest the remains of many well-known personalities, including Giuseppe Mazzini, Fabrizio De André and the wife of Oscar Wilde.
With its characteristic skyline that for those coming from the sea makes it look like an insurmountable fortress, characterized as it is by its dense network of hillside fortifications on large walls that in ancient wars made it impregnable both to attacks from the sea and from those by land – Genoa could not give up, especially starting from the sixties, to its own renewal and modernization, which necessarily had to pass, like what happened in many other metropolises, through the construction of large housing complexes of a popular type, whose quality, usefulness and functionality has been and is still the subject of discussion (and sometimes contestation) by resident citizens. In this regard, we cite for example the cases represented by the so-called ” biscione “, a building complex in the shape of a long snake, located on the heights of the populous district of Marassi, from the group of houses called “The washing machines”, in the district of Pra ‘, and the so-called’ Dams’ of Begato designed by Piero Gambacciani.
For other architectural solutions that have distinguished it, Genoa has become a sort of capital of modern Italian, if not European, architecture for some decades. This is mainly due to the work of the architect Renzo Piano who has been involved in the renovation of some of the most famous cities in the world since the end of the 1980s.
The name of Piano gained notoriety starting above all in 1992, when Genoa welcomed visitors to the ancient port for the Colombian Celebrations of 1992 (Colombiadi), the waterfront of the corner completely restored for the occasion and symbolized by the stylized Bigo trademark of the Genoese port activity).
In addition to a complete restyling of the area, the ancient port area located near the Mandraccio crossing, in Porta Siberia, was scenographically enriched by the same Plan with a large metal and glass sphere installed in the waters of the port, not far from the ‘ Acquario and inaugurated in 2001 on the occasion of the G8 held in the city, also historically remembered for a series of crime events that occurred at the same time. The sphere (also called by the Genoese Bolla di Piano or “Biosphere”), after being used for an exhibition of fernsby the Botanical Garden of Genoa, it now houses the reconstruction of a tropical environment, with numerous plants, small animals and butterflies.
Piano also designed the underground stations for the Superba and, in the hilly area of the city, designed and started construction – in collaboration with UNESCO – of Punta Nave, home to the “Renzo Piano Building Workshop”. The Genova San Giorgio Viaduct, designed by Piano and inaugurated in 2020, which replaces the first Polcevera viaduct which suddenly collapsed in 2018 causing 43 victims, is accompanied by the Polcevera Park and the Red Circle designed by Stefano Boeri which is currently under construction.
Especially for those who pass through the center of Genoa along the elevated road, perhaps to embark at the nearby ferry terminal, the so-called Matitone is visible near the ancient port, controversial as well as singular lapis -shaped skyscraper, which flanks the group of towers of the WTC, the heart of the San Benigno building complex, also home to part of the municipal administration and numerous companies.
Genoa’s museums tell the fascinating story of the city’s development and its links to the rest of the world. Strada Nuova Museums: a trio of architecturally stunning palaces located on the Strada Nuova. Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi transport you to an opulent time in the city’s history, regal courtyards, walkways and marble floors. Palazzo Spinola, part of the UNESCO-listed area and home to a historic art museum, complete with an awe-inspiring painted ceiling. For another palazzo, Doge’s Palace, the former home of the Doges of Genoa. The anthropological collection at Castello d’Albertis, which aptly calls itself the Museum of World Cultures. The maritime museum, Galata Museo del Mare, to better understand the Genoese Republic at its height.
there are not noly historic palaces, there are a number of modern galleries and collections to explore, there are no fewer than 10 dedicated art museums and gallerias in Genoa. Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce houses contemporary pieces from Italy and all over the world, while Galleria D’Arte Moderna hosts special exhibitions, one recently dedicated to Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto. The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art houses one of Europe’s most significant collections.
In the district of Staglieno there is the monumental cemetery of the same name, built starting from 1835 on a project by the architect Carlo Barabino, which houses the graves of many illustrious Genoese of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and which preserves notable examples of nineteenth-century cemetery art.
Ancient fortified garrisons, old and new, are located in the hilly parks, immediately behind the city. In addition to giving an important testimony of the history of the “Dominante dei Mari”, some of them are occasionally used for concerts, parties and various events. Conversely, many others are not at all valued, in particular numerous bunkers and batteries dating back to the Second World War are left unattended and in decay, instead of being restored and brought back to a decent state in terms of history and tourism.
The city of Genoa during its long history at least since the 9th century had been protected by different line of defensive walls. Large portions of these walls remain today, and Genoa has more and longer walls than any other city in Italy. The main city walls are known as “Ninth century walls”, “Barbarossa Walls” (12th century), “Fourteenth century walls”, “Sixteenth century walls” and “New Walls” (“Mura Nuove” in Italian). The more imposing walls, built in the first half of the 17th century on the ridge of hills around the city, have a length of almost 20 km (12 mi). Some fortresses stand along the perimeter of the “New Walls” or close them.
Genoa is very rich in churches, especially in the historic center, where the main and oldest are located. In several cases they arose as noble chapels of the main city families and were therefore a way to show their prestige. There are also different styles: from the small Romanesque stone churches of Santa Cosma and Damiano (or San Cosimo), San Donato and Santo Stefano, to the richer and more majestic ones such as the baroque San Luca and Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, the Gothic / baroque San Matteo or the Renaissance Santa Maria dell’Assunta in Carignano.
St. Lawrence Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) is the city’s cathedral, built in a Gothic-Romanesque style. Other notable historical churches are the Commandery of the Saint John’s Order called Commenda di San Giovanni di Prèl, San Matteo, San Donato, Santa Maria di Castello, Sant’Agostino (deconsecrated since the 19th century, sometimes is used for theatrical representations), Santo Stefano, Santi Vittore e Carlo, Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, San Pietro in Banchi, Santa Maria delle Vigne, Nostra Signora della Consolazione, San Siro, Santa Maria Maddalena, Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano and Chiesa del Gesù.
San Bartolomeo degli Armeni houses the Image of Edessa and San Pancrazio after the World War II was entrusted to the ligurian delegation of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. These churches and basilicas are built in Romanesque (San Donato, Santa Maria di Castello, Commenda di San Giovanni di Pré), Gothic (San Matteo, Santo Stefano, Sant’Agostino), Baroque (San Siro) or Renaissance (Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano, San Pietro in Banchi) appearance, or a mix of different styles (Nostra Signora della Consolazione, Santissima Annunziata del Vastato; this last has a Baroque interior and a Neoclassicist façade).
Another well known Genoese church is the shrine of Saint Francis of Paola, notable for the outer courtyard overlooking the port and the memorial to all those who died at sea. This church is of artistic mention in that the tile depictions of the Via Crucis Stations along the brick path to the church.
Near Genoa is found the Shrine of Nostra Signora della Guardia, (the sanctuary is said to have inspired the writer Umberto Eco in making his novel The Name of the Rose). Another interesting church in the neighborhoods of Genoa is San Siro di Struppa.
The city was the birthplace of several popes (Innocent IV, Adrian V, Innocent VIII, and Benedict XV) and various saints (Syrus of Genoa, Romulus of Genoa, Catherine of Genoa, and Virginia Centurione Bracelli). The Archbishop of Genoa Jacobus de Voragine wrote the Golden Legend. Also from Genoa were: Giovanni Paolo Oliva, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus; Girolamo Grimaldi-Cavalleroni, the Archbishop of Aix; Ausonio Franchi, priest, philosopher, and theologian; Cardinal Giuseppe Siri; and the priests Francesco Repetto, Giuseppe Dossetti, Gianni Baget Bozzo, and Andrea Gallo. The present archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, comes from a Genoese family but was born in Pontevico, near Brescia (see also Archdiocese of Genoa).
The presence of several sanctuaries in the outskirts of the city should be noted: the main one is that of Nostra Signora della Guardia, in the locality of Ceranesi, but the citizens of San Francesco da Paola (district of San Teodoro) and Madonna del Monte (Val Bisagno) are also important, and those of Nostra Signora dell’Acquasanta (in the Acquasanta hamlet) and Nostra Signora del Gazzo (Sestri Ponente).
Also noteworthy is the church of San Bartolomeo degli Armeni (Castelletto), which houses the “holy mandillo”, a tempera painted linen depicting Christ considered miraculous, which the doge of Genoa Leonardo Montaldo received from the emperor of Constantinople and donated to the monks of San Bartolomeo in 1388.
In Genoa there are several dozen churches, the main and oldest of which are located in the historic center. In several cases they arose as noble chapels of the main city families and were therefore a way to show their prestige. Among the most significant buildings are:
Cathedral of San Lorenzo: built between the 9th and the end of the 14th century in Gothic style, it was consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118 when it was not yet completed. The thirteenth-century facade, with the characteristic black and white striped decoration, shows two bell towers – the left unfinished and completed in 1445 with a loggia – and three richly decorated portals. The interior is divided into three naves, whose division is surmounted by a fake women’s gallery. On the left aisle opens the fifteenth-century Chapel of San Giovanni Battista, a large gallery of Renaissance sculpture. Among the most notable works of art are the 13th century Universal Judgment above the main portal, frescoes by Bernardo Castello, Luca Cambiaso and Lazzaro Tavarone on the vaults and the main altar with the statue of the Madonna Regina di Genova.
Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato: of medieval origin, it was renovated in the sixteenth century by Andrea Ceresola known as the Vannone on behalf of the Lomellini family, who made it their own chapel. The vast baroque interior, frescoed by Giovanni Carlone and Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo, contains works by the main authors of the Genoese baroque (Bernardo Strozzi, Domenico Piola, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Gregorio De Ferrari, Gioacchino Assereto).
Basilica of San Siro: one of the oldest churches in the city, it was the first cathedral in Genoa before the construction of San Lorenzo. Following a fire, it was completely rebuilt between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. It preserves the famous Annunciation by Orazio Gentileschi, and works by Carlone, Domenico Fiasella, Domenico Piola, Pierre Puget and several other artists of the time.
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Carignano: commissioned by the Sauli family in 1552, it was designed in the Renaissance style by the Perugian architect Galeazzo Alessi. It has a central plan structure surmounted by a large dome, in the style of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and famous statues by Pierre Puget and Filippo Parodi.
Basilica of Santa Maria delle Vigne: one of the oldest religious buildings in Genoa, it was built in Romanesque style on a pre-existing temple. In 1640 it underwent a transformation in the Baroque style on a project by the architect Daniele Casella, preserving the bell tower and the cloister of the twelfth century. It preserves several works of art by Ligurian artists of the sixteenth-seventeenth century and frescoes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Church of Santi Cosma e Damiano: located in the alleys at the foot of the Castello hill, it is attested starting from 1049. The current Romanesque structure dates back to the 12th century, while the roof was rebuilt in the 17th century following naval bombardments in 1684.
Church of San Donato: built in Romanesque style starting from the 12th century, it has a characteristic octagonal tower. It was restored in 1888 by Alfredo d’Andrade, who integrated the facade and added a third blind level to the tower. It houses a famous Flemish polyptych by Joos van Cleve.
Church and oratory of San Filippo Neri: the complex was built, probably on a design by Pietro Antonio Corradi, starting from 1674 thanks to a testamentary bequest of Camillo Pallavicino. The interior of the church, in Baroque style, consists of a single nave surmounted by a barrel vault that reaches almost 20 meters in height decorated by the Bolognese Marcantonio Franceschini, while the oratory houses the famous Immacolata del Puget.
Church of San Luca: founded in 1188, in 1589 it became the noble chapel of the Grimaldi and Spinola families and in the following century it was rebuilt and enlarged by the architect Carlo Muttone. Entirely covered by late Baroque frescoes by Domenico and Paolo Gerolamo Piola, it houses the Nativity, a masterpiece by Grechetto.
Church and cloister of San Matteo: located in the homonymous square, it was founded in 1125 as a noble chapel of the Doria family. It was enlarged in 1278 and decorated in the sixteenth century by the Tuscan sculptor Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, while retaining the medieval layout. It preserves frescoes by Luca Cambiaso and Giovan Battista Castello and the tomb of Andrea Doria del Montorsoli.
Church of San Pietro in Banchi: it was commissioned in 1580 by the Republic of Genoa as a vote for the end of an epidemic and the project was entrusted to the mannerist architect Bernardino Cantone. It was built on the remains of a Lomellini palace, which in turn had been built on the remains of the church of San Pietro della Porta, owned by the abbey of San Colombano di Bobbio, built in the 9th century and destroyed by a fire in the 1398. The curious elevated position is due to the fact that the construction was financed through the rent of the shops that were located below it.
Church of Santa Croce and San Camillo de Lellis: located in the Portoria district, it was built starting in 1667 by the will of the Camillian Fathers and dedicated to the Holy Cross and the founder of the religious order Camillo de Lellis. It contains a cycle of frescoes by the Baroque painter Gregorio De Ferrari, his son Lorenzo De Ferrari and his pupil Francesco Maria Costa.
Church and convent of Santa Maria di Castello: one of the oldest religious buildings in the city, it was built starting from 658 AD on the hill of Castello. The current layout, with three naves, dates back to the 12th century and the complex underwent further modifications in the 15th and 17th centuries. The adjacent convent houses a museum with works by several important Ligurian artists in the seventeenth century.
Church of Santo Stefano: with a rectangular plan and a single nave, it was built in Romanesque style on the site of a pre-existing church of the 10th century of which traces remain in the crypt. In 1896 the south side was reduced to allow the construction of Via XX Settembre.
Commenda di San Giovanni di Pré: the complex, consisting of a church and a hospital, was built in 1180 by the Knights of Jerusalem as a shelter for passing pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The Romanesque church is developed on two levels, which could be accessed from the first two floors of the hospital. In 1751 a new entrance was opened, to allow access to the church also from the outside.
Church of San Siro di Struppa: located in the Struppa district and dating back to the early 11th century, it is one of the main historical monuments of the Valbisagno. In the twentieth century it underwent major renovations. It preserves a polyptych depicting San Siro attributed to Pier Francesco Sacchi.
Other relevant religious architectures outside the historic center are the Certosa di Rivarolo, the church of San Martino d’Albaro, the church of Santa Maria della Cella in Sampierdarena, the church of Santi Nicolò and Erasmo in Voltri, the synagogue of Genoa which it was the largest synagogue built in Italy during the fascist period.
The Old harbour (Porto Antico) of Genoa is the heart of the city, a modern area in a thousand-year-old city, the junction point between the sea and the historic center. Porto Antico is the soul of the historic center and the largest square on the Mediterranean, it is the always open space where tourism, culture, congresses, fairs, shows, sports, boating, catering and shopping meet every day. The ancient port is a part of the port of Genoa currently used as a residential area, tourist, cultural and service center.
As a gateway open to cultures, encounters and the future, in 1992 the old port area was redesigned by Renzo Piano,, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. The area hosted the exhibitions of Expo ’92 Genoa, were now extends in length from Piazza Cavour to Ponte Parodi and is bordered, on the upstream side, by the elevated road. Today, the place become a vast area overlooking the sea where, in addition to the aquarium, numerous points of artistic, museum and tourist interest are located., exhibition and entertainment, on an area of over 230,000 square meters.
The Porto Antico is the ancient part of the port of Genoa, a redevelopment of the site where Genoa’s port once stood. Today, it is an entertainment space which been redesigned to be a cultural hub for the city, and a place for residents and visitors to socialise, enjoy Ligurian cuisine and shop. Renzo Piano redeveloped the area for public access, restoring the historical buildings (like the Cotton warehouses) and creating new landmarks like the Aquarium, the Bigo and recently the “Bolla” (the Sphere). The main touristic attractions of this area are the famous Aquarium and the Museum of the Sea (MuMA). In 2007 these attracted almost 1.7 million visitors.
At Porto Antico’s core are three structures designed by Renzo Piano: The Bigo, a dizzyingly tall lift overlooking the square and the Mediterranean; the Biosphere, containing an unexpected tropical forest, and Piazza delle Feste, an unusual steel structure positioned in the water. The Galata Museo del Mare with Italy’s largest submarine, Nazario Sauro, floating right outside the front door. One you’re inside, a series of displays and exhibits will walk you through Genoa’s maritime history.
The 76m-tall Lighthouse of Genoa underwent its most recent construction in the 1500s, but has been standing over the city for over 800 years. It’s well worth a visit, as it is one of Italy’s most important (and tallest) lighthouses, and is claimed to be the world’s third oldest lighthouse still in operation. Inside, a Multimedia Museum will walk you through the history of the lighthouse and Genoa’s maritime history.
Porto Antico of Genoa is today the protagonist in the new city waterfront: from Aquarium to Magazzini del Cotone, from Piazza delle Feste to Porta Siberia fortress, it expands to include the areas of Genoa Fair, with the Blue Pavilion, the Piazza sul Mare and nautical docks. In the area there has been a tourist information service for years, now part of the IAT network of the municipality, which offers hospitality and information to the many visitors arriving in the city, being the Porto Antico area one of the main attractions of the city.
The old port area become a city tourist centre that offers every kind of service: restaurants, cinemas, an outdoor swimming pool in summer and an ice skating rink in winter. This area offers you numerous attractions: the Bigo panoramic lift with an unusual view of the Harbour, the Biosphere with plants from all over the world, the City of children for the joy of the youngest, and the National Museum of the Antarctica to let you dip into the world of geographical discoveries. A great place for eating, browsing, strolling or just chilling out under the palm trees and soaking up the sun and atmosphere. Often host to cultural, culinary and political events there is always something going on making it a favourite place for tourists and locals alike. A great place to let the kids run around in a safe pedestrian environment.
The proudest boast of the Old Harbour is undoubtedly the famous Aquarium, the biggest display of aquatic biodiversity in Europe with 71 basins and over 15,000 animals of 400 different species. Visited every year by over a million people, the Aquarium really surprises everybody: 27,000 square metres of display surface allow you to take a walk among the seas of the planet amid sharks and dolphins, penguins and seals, jellyfish and tropical fish, in addition to the numerous reptiles, amphibians and river forest and freshwater animals.
After the splendid Galleon Neptune, famous for the film “Pirates” by R. Polanski and today visitable, you come to another area of the harbour that is equally fascinating. Moored on the quay is the famous submarine Nazario Sauro and opposite the Galata Museum of the Sea that allows visitors to experience a beautiful journey amid old ships and maritime curiosities with multimedia installations.
At the end of the dock lies the Magazzini del Cotone complex, from this point of view you can admire the Lanterna, which is very close, and Genoa and its Gulf in all their beauty. In the background the hills are full of colours in the light of day and lit at night. Beyond the Acquario, there are also other attractions are: the panoramic lift, Bigo, (whose shape and name recall to the ancient manual loading cranes), the Biosfera, the Città dei Bambini, a recreational and interactive museum for children between 2 and 14 years old.
In recent years, the Porto Antico area has been the site of numerous tourist, musical, cultural and sporting events. In 2007 and 2010 it was the starting point of The Tall Ships’ Race, in 2008 and 2009 it hosted the MTV Day musical event and in 2010 the TRL Awards, a musical event always linked to the music broadcaster MTV Italia. Furthermore, every year, the area hosts two events much appreciated by the Genoese public and beyond: the Sports Festival, in spring, and the Porto Antico Estate music, theater and dance festival. Show, in summer, which takes place in the panoramic square of the Arena del Mare.
The Arena del Mare and Piazza delle Feste, which becomes an artificial ice rink in the winter, host important concerts of Italian and international artists, shows and festivals dedicated to every expression of culture and art and cinema, that fill with lights and sounds the Genoese nights. The Magazzini del Cotone complex represents an exceptional location for international conventions, conferences and seminars.
The Porto Antico area is rich to discover, inside the district there are many buildings of artistic and cultural interest, including museums, cultural centers, shops, commercial galleries, restaurants, bars… There is more to discover inside the complex of the Genoese exhibition center that extends over the sea, right in the heart of Genoa. Large open areas, a multi-storey and multifunctional pavilion, the dock and the adjacent tensile structure. In the summer you will find a swimming pool. In winter, an ice skating rink. In every season, the Aquarium of Genoa, the Bigo, Eataly, the Biosphere, The Space Cinema, the Genoa Museum, the De Amicis Library.
The Aquarium of Genoa is an aquarium located in Ponte Spinola, in the 16th -century ancient port of Genoa. At the time of its inauguration it was the largest in Europe and the second in the world. The Aquarium of Genoa is a living museum that houses about 6000 specimens of 600 different marine species (fish, marine animals, crustaceans, reptiles, plants). It is located on the Spinola Bridge.
The Aquarium was inaugurated in 1992 on the occasion of the Colombiadi, that is the Expo celebrating the five hundredth anniversary of the European discovery of America. The design of the structure and the surrounding area is by the architect Renzo Piano, the interior was designed by the architect Peter Chermayeff. It has sixty-one tubs that occupy nearly 10,000 square meters of space. With the opening of the large dolphin pool, the structure allows you to live an exciting experience in direct contact with the dolphins.
Renzo Piano’s Bubble is a glass and steel structure located in the Porto Antico of Genoa and built in 2001. The spherical structure, with a diameter of 20 m, a total weight of 60 t and an exhibition area of approximately 200 m², is suspended over the sea, at the Spinola bridge, in the immediate vicinity of the aquarium. The glass and steel sphere located in the sea next to the aquarium hosts butterflies, iguanas, ferns and various species of tropical plants that manage to live thanks to a particular automatic arrangement that the curtains placed on the internal walls of the sphere allow the penetration of an adequate solar heat level from outside.
It was designed by the famous Genoese architect Renzo Piano and inaugurated in 2001 as a symbol of the world on the occasion of the G8 Summit held in Genoa. Inside, a small portion of tropical rainforest has been reconstructed that hosts over 150 species of animal and plant organisms, such as birds, turtles, fish, insects, large tree ferns from municipal nurseries, up to seven meters high, and various species of tropical plants traditionally used by man, which find the climatic conditions suitable for their survival thanks to a computerized conditioning system that guarantees the maintenance of an adequate level of temperature and humidity inside the sphere.
The Bigo is an architectural structure present in the ancient port of Genoa. It is a design experiment created as a scenography of the ancient port. Its base is in the water. It is a modern metal monument designed by Renzo Piano on the occasion of the Genoa Expo in 1992, which reproduces on an enlarged scale a large cargo crane like those mounted on ships, the name and design are inspired by the bigo, that is the crane used for loading and unloading in the naval environment.
The Bigo has, in addition to an image function, also a structural function (supporting the marquee of the nearby party square) and a tourist one: in fact it has a panoramic lift that rises up to 40 m in height and rotates 360 degrees; inside, the view of the city of Genoa is guided, with background music, through written panels and voice guides in different languages that indicate the buildings and structures worthy of note. When active, the lift leaves the ground every 10 minutes. Next to the Bigo there are the Columbus’ Wind, designed by the Japanese Susumu Shingu.
It is a gate that was part of the sixteenth-century walls built between 1551 and 1553 by Galeazzo Alessi. It was the gateway to the Molo Vecchio, built as an extension of the Mandraccio, the peninsula used in ancient times as a natural landing place. The documented historical name is in fact Porta del Molo while the name commonly used today is instead borrowed from an adjacent door, built in more recent times, which gave its name to the entire complex. It seems that the term derives from cibaria since foodstuffs that arrived by sea and those departing destined for other Mediterranean ports passed through this passage.
In ancient times it was a place of collection of the customs duty. After the renovation of the ancient port, in 2001, the museum dedicated to the painter and set designer Emanuele Luzzati was opened inside with temporary exhibitions of the Genoese artist and major contemporary illustrators. Today the structure is currently awaiting a new destination.
Magazzini del Cotone is one of the main structures of the ancient port of Genoa, the second fair area of the city after the Genoa International Fair. They cover an area of over thirty-one thousand square meters and were built at the end of the 19th century as General Warehouses for goods in transit at the Molo Vecchio. The construction was part of the series of works for the modernization of the Genoese port, building from the early 1900s used for the storage of goods, it is now a multifunctional structure located in the Porto Antico di Genova Congress Center. Inside the building there are shops, bars, the cinema multiplex, cultural and recreational facilities.
Refurbished in 1992 on the occasion of the Colombian Expo for the five hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America, they have been used as a venue for various cultural and recreational activities. They house the Genoa Porto Antico multiplex cinema with 10 rooms and 3,128 seats managed since 2010 by The Space Cinema chain, the congress center and galleries with shops, bars, restaurants. On the first floor, there is the Children’s City, an educational area where children can experiment and play with the guidance of animators. The premises of the north building are also dedicated to the exhibition area, among the events that take place periodically there are the Cibio food fair (since 2006), the comic and animation fair Smack! (since 2011) and the Sports Festival! (event that affects the entire area of the ancient port).
Millo Building – Built in 1876, it houses the offices of Porto Antico di Genova SpA, restaurants, bars, shops and the Genoese headquarters of Eataly
Seventeenth-century buildings – Next to the Millo there are four restored buildings dating back to the 17th century. They were part of a group of buildings, progressively demolished in the 1900s, which together with the Millo constituted the “Portofranco”.
Piazza delle Feste – It is the largest space located on the pier in front of the Millo building; versatile and multifunctional tensile structure can host various kinds of events (musical, cultural, commercial and sporting) from April to October. During the winter it becomes an ice skating rink. Since 2015 it has been the main venue of the Supernova Festival Genova music festival.
Mandraccio – On the premises of the Mandraccio there is a gym specializing in fitness. In the square in front there is an inclusive play area where able-bodied and disabled children can play together, without separations. The Whalewatchgenova boats depart from the quay of the homonymous abseil, for whale watching excursions in the International Sanctuary of the Ligurian Sea and for destinations on the Riviera di Levante.
Also present in the structure are the Edmondo De Amicis civic library for children where it is possible to consult texts suitable for childhood and psycho – pedagogical books.
The congress sector of Porto Antico di Genova SpA manages the Congress Center located in the last six modules of the Cotton Warehouses. Other rooms of various capacities of which some are modular; 8 500 m² of exhibition space; outdoor spaces for various activities.
In the west part of the old port, besides the dry docks, it houses small fishing boats. The submarine-museum Nazario Sauro (S 518) is located adjacent to the Galata – Sea Museum and to the building that houses the Faculty of Economics.
The Neptune is an imaginative, full-scale, seaworthy reconstruction (its maximum speed is 5 knots) of an ancient pirate vessel built as the main set of Roman Polański ‘s Pirates. The ship is now open to the public and is moored next to the aquarium. The Neptune is built in 1986 in the shipyards of Port El Kantaoui (Tunisia) specifically for the film Pirates by Roman Polański. In 2011, she was used as the setting for the television transposition of Captain Hook ‘s Jolly Roger in the television miniseries Neverland – The True Story of Peter Pan by Nick Willing.
The Neptune was designed as a real ship, therefore perfectly seaworthy, with the hull in steel while the topside and the mast are made of iroko wood, and registered in the naval register of Tunisia, the country where it was built. The ship has 20 km of rope, for a total of 11 tons and 4,500 m² of sail area that allow it to sail at 5 knots, against the 3 knots that can be developed with the auxiliary engine. She is 63 meters long.
In perfect working order despite having been born as a film set, it was used for the promotion of the film when it was moored in the port of Cannes for the 39th Cannes Film Festival, where the film was presented out of competition. It was then transported to the ancient port of Genoa, where it is moored at Ponte Calvi and can be visited as an attraction. On the whole it gives a pretty good idea of what a large three-deck of the second half of the seventeenth century could look like even if it is closer to a French-type vessel than a Spanish one.
Galata – Museum of the sea
The Galata – Museo del mare di Genova is the largest museum dedicated to this genus in the Mediterranean area and also one of the most modern in Italy. Inaugurated in 2004, the museum is located in the Galata Palace, whose renovation was designed by the Spanish architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. The museum houses, in addition to a full-scale reproduction of a Genoese galley, several interactive rooms in which to understand what it meant, in different eras, to go to sea.
One of these is the “La Merica” exhibition which shows the journey of our ancestors to America. There are numerous rooms dedicated to maritime trade and to go to sea at the time of the maritime republic of Genoa. The museum also exhibits a section dedicated to ocean liners with nautical charts and a storm simulation off Cape Horn. The Galata – Sea Museum also offers an exhibition hall, library, café with terrace. It is the seat of activities with schools, also favored by the proximity of the museum complex with the Genoa Piazza Principe station and the proximity of the “Darsena” metro stop.
Sand of the sea
Theater on the sea located at the head of the pier at the end of the Cotton Warehouses. Set up in summer, it hosts the Porto Antico EstateSpettacolo music, theater and dance festival.
Genoa is full of parks and gardens accessible to the public, overlooking the sea or on the hills on which the city rises, the largest natural complex in Genoa, with 876 hectares is the Urbano delle Mura park, which includes the Peralto park where we find Forte Sperone, the vertex of the seventeenth-century city walls to defend the city.
The major parks, in addition to the Parco delle Mura, are the Parks of Nervi, where three historic villas form with their three parks connected to each other (9 hectares of extension), a green complex of rare beauty in a natural environment of excellence, reachable from the beautiful Anita Garibaldi promenade carved out of the rocks overlooking the sea.
In the center and north of the city we find numerous small historic parks and gardens, such as the park of Villa Croce, which hosts numerous contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year, Villetta Di Negro, the Acquasola park, designed by the architect Nicolò Barabino, the gardens of Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria-Tursi, the park of the Castello d’Albertis, which was the residence of Captain Alberto d’Albertis (1846-1932), navigator, explorer and scholar, seat of the museum of the cultures of world.
In the west of the city we find the park of villa Duchessa di Galliera, extended over 25 hectares, connected to the Brignole-Sale palace, in Pegli the park of the villa Durazzo-Pallavicini, which houses the Ligurian archeology museum and the botanical garden created in 1794 by Clelia Durres Grimaldi. The heights of the urban Ponente are partly included in the Beigua Regional Natural Park, the largest regional park in Liguria overlooking the sea, and partly in the Monte Penello and Punta Martin urban park.
To the east, beyond the aforementioned parks of Nervi, we find other villas, such as villa Gambaro, villa Carrara, which offers a particular view of the sea, and villa Quartara. On the heights of Quinto al Mare we find the Urban park of Monte Fasce and Monte Moro, where are the remains of a coastal battery placed to defend the city during the Second World War.
Corso Italia runs for 2.5 km (1.6 mi) in the quartiere of Albaro, linking two neighbourhoods of Foce and Boccadasse. The promenade, which was built in 1908, overlooks the sea, towards the promontory of Portofino. The main landmarks are the small lighthouse of Punta Vagno, the San Giuliano Abbey, and the Lido of Albaro. Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi, promenade overlooking the sea and 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) long, Nervi. Promenade of the upper ring road, so-called “Circonvallazione a Monte” that includes: Corso Firenze, Corso Paganini, Corso Magenta, Via Solferino, Corso Armellini.
Walks can be made from the centre of Genoa following one of the many ancient paths between tall palaces and the “Creuze” to reach the higher areas of the city where there are magnificent places like Belvedere Castelletto, the “Righi’s district”, the “Santuario di Nostra Signora di Loreto”, the “Santuario della Madonnetta”, the “Santuario di San Francesco da Paola”. Monte Fasce gives a complete view of the city.
It was in Genoa that in 1574 the first Guild of Pasta makers was established with its own statute (Chapters of the art of the Fidelari). In addition to the claimed authorship of pesto, Genoese focaccia, jeans and the lottery game, Genoa also links its name to the birth, together with other cities, of the custom of the aperitif.
Popular sauces of Genoese cuisine include Pesto sauce, garlic sauce called Agliata, “Walnut Sauce” called Salsa di noci, Green sauce, Pesto di fave, Pasta d’acciughe and the meat sauce called tócco, not to be confused with the Genovese sauce, that in spite of the name is typical of the Neapolitan cuisine. The Genoese tradition includes many varieties of pasta as Trenette, Corzetti, Trofie, Pansoti, Croxetti, gnocchi and also: Farinata, Panissa and Cuculli.
As Liguria’s capital and a giant port city, it’s only natural that seafood is important to the region. cod, mussels, even cuttlefish on the menu. The possibilities are endless. Tthe best-known dish is probably burrida, a stew slow-cooked with monkfish, squid, king prawns, mussels, garlic, onion and tomato. If you’ve got the palate for it, you’ll find deliciously salty anchovies made every which way.
Key ingredient of Genoese cuisine is the Prescinsêua used among other things to prepare the Torta pasqualina and the Barbagiuai and still Focaccia con le cipolle, Farinata di ceci, Focaccette al formaggio and the Focaccia con il formaggio which means “Focaccia with cheese” that is even being considered for European Union PGI status. Other key ingredients are many varieties of fish as Sardines, Anchovies, Garfish, Swordfish, Tuna, Octopus, Squid, Mussels, the Stoccafisso which means Stockfish, the Musciame and Gianchetti.
Other elements of Genoese cuisine include the Ligurian Olive Oil, the cheeses like Brös, U Cabanin, San Stè cheese, Giuncata, the sausages like Testa in cassetta, Salame cotto and the Salame genovese di Sant’Olcese which is the style of Genoa salami. Fresh pasta (usually trofie’, trenette) and “gnocchi” with pesto sauce are probably the most iconic among Genoese dishes. Pesto sauce is prepared with fresh Genovese basil, pine nuts, grated parmesan and pecorino mixed, garlic and olive oil pounded together.
Liguria wine such as Pigato, Riviera Ligure di Ponente Vermentino, Sciacchetrà, Rossese di Dolceacqua and Ciliegiolo del Tigullio are popular. Dishes of Genoese tradition include the Tripe cooked in various recipes like Sbira, the Polpettone di melanzane, the Tomaxelle, the Minestrone alla genovese, the Bagnun, the fish-consisting Ciuppin (the precursor to San Francisco’s Cioppino), the Buridda, the Seppie in zimino and the Preboggion.
Two sophisticated recipes of Genoese cuisine are: the Cappon magro and the Cima alla genovese. Originating in Genoa is Pandolce that gave rise to Genoa cake. The city lands its name to a special paste used to prepare cakes and pastries called Genoise and to the Pain de Gênes.
Street food is also popular in Genoa. In Genoa there are many food markets in typical nineteenth-century iron structures as Mercato del Ferro, Mercato Dinegro, Mercato di Via Prè, Mercato di piazza Sarzano, Mercato del Carmine, Mercato della Foce, Mercato Romagnosi. The Mercato Orientale instead is in masonry and has a circular structure.
Genoa is great for shopping. There are designer boutiques, department stores, grocery stores and antique dealers. In the center, for those who want to browse the fashionable luxury boutiques along Via XX Settembre, Via Roma and in the elegant Galleria Mazzini starting from Piazza Ferrari. There are many small, quaint and tourist-related shops in the center. These are mainly in the central squares and in the small alleys. You can find souvenir stalls, kiosks selling books and snacks, marine themed stalls, traditional flea markets, modern and antique furniture dealers, small bookshops and small art galleries.
Take a window shopping in the high-end boutiques along Via Roma, where the likes of Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors have set up shop. Then, browse the more budget-friendly stores on Via Caffa, including the famous lifestyle store Via Garibaldi 12. It’s just as unmissable for its 16th-century palazzo setting as for its range of quirky homewares. If you like your fashion nautical but nice, concept store Paccottiglia is the best in town, with accessories and clothes inspired by Genoa’s maritime history. For handicrafts head to Temide DesignArt Store, a wonderful gallery-like display of artisanal pieces.
There is a large shopping center called Fiumara located near the Genoa Sampierdarena train station. To reach Fiumara, take a local train to Genova Sampierdarena station and exit the station. Turn left and pass under a bridge, near which there is a sign on the left. The shopping center is visible from the other side of the bridge and is about a 10-minute walk away. The shopping center can also be reached by car or by bus 1, 2, 4 and 22. The shopping center is open every day from 09:00 to 21:00. Nearby is a theater and activity center which includes a billiard room, bowling alley and restaurants.
The road system offers a wide choice of starting points for all kinds of shopping: the arcades of Sottoripa, in Porto Vecchio, have maintained the atmosphere of an old bazaar from the times when ships loaded with goods of all kinds docked: spices., dried fruit and fried fish. In Via San Luca and Via Orefice there are clothing and shoe shops available at attractive prices. Do not miss the ancient pastry Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano.
For gourmets, a stroll between Via San Vincenzo and Via Colombo is recommended, near the Brignole train station, where you can explore a variety of bakeries, pastry shops and grocery stores. Not far from here is the Eastern Market – enter via Galata or via XX Settembre. This market is covered and there is a noisy explosion of people, colors, smells and a fabulous place to buy olives, herbs, fruit and other Ligurian products.
The city is a good base for exploring the Italian Riviera and world famous places such as Portofino and the Cinque Terre. Just out of the city centre, but still part of the 33 km (21 mi) of coast included in the municipality’s territory, are Nervi, natural doorway to the Ligurian East Riviera, and Pegli, the point of access to the West Riviera. Nervi offers many attractions: the promenade overlooking the sea called Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi; parks covered with lush tropical vegetation; numerous villas and palaces open to the public that now house museums.
Another tourist destination is the ancient seaside district of Boccadasse, the ancient fishing village of Boccadesse, a firm favourite for its vibrant, pastel-coloured buildings that are reminiscent of the Cinque Terre villages further along the coast. Fishermen can be seen voyaging in and out of the small harbour daily, with its multicolour boats, set as a seal to Corso Italia. The promenade which runs along the Lido d’Albaro, and known for its ice-creams. After Boccadasse you can continue along the sea up to Sturla. Local restaurants are of course well-stocked in the freshest local seafood options. Sink your teeth into al dente, sea bass-stuffed ravioli at the reasonably priced Trattoria Osvaldo, or stop by the seafront bar La Strambata for a spritz.
The East Riviera of Genoa called Riviera di Levante is part of the Italian Riviera. East Riviera is full of interesting towns to visit, and then from Genoa to east are: Bogliasco, Pieve Ligure, Sori, Recco, Camogli, Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Zoagli, Chiavari, Lavagna and Sestri Levante. In the west, Pegli is the site of the famous Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini and Arenzano is a seaside town at the foot of the Parco naturale regionale del Beigua.
The new Genoa based its rebirth upon the restoration of the green areas of the immediate inland parts, among them the Parco naturale regionale del Beigua, and upon the construction of facilities such as the Aquarium of Genoa in the Old Harbour – the biggest in Italy and one of the major in Europe – and its Marina (the tourist small port which holds hundreds of pleasure boats). All of these are inside the restored Expo Area, arranged in occasion of the Columbian Celebrations of 1992.
Near the city are Camogli and San Fruttuoso abbey accessible by a daily ferry from the Old Harbour (Porto Antico) of Genoa. In the seabed in front of the San Fruttuoso abbey there is the Christ of the Abyss. From the Old Harbour one can reach by boat other famous seaside places around Genoa such as Portofino or a little more distant, Lerici and the Cinque Terre.
The restoration of many of Genoa’s churches and palaces in the 1980s and the 1990s contributed to the city’s rebirth. A notable example the Renaissance, Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, sitting on the top of the hill of Carignano and visible from almost every part of the city. The total restoration of Doge’s Palace and of the Old Harbour, and the rebuilding of Teatro Carlo Felice, destroyed by bombing in the Second World War.
Forts of Genoa is a set of military fortifications dating back to different eras, which the Republic of Genoa built to defend the urban territory over the course of its history. The building projects were also taken up and used in the Napoleonic era, the Risorgimento and during the first and second world wars. Several hiking trails are open that unite the different bulwarks (some intact and reused for other purposes, of others there are only ruins).
Genova-Casella railway (three valleys railway) is some very suggestive narrow gauge railway line that connects the center of the city of Genoa with its hinterland, reaching the village of Casella in the upper Scrivia valley. The track is just over 24 kilometers long and crosses a totally mountainous route touching the Bisagno, Polcevera and Scrivia valleys.