Genoa – Italy Information

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GENOA, ITALY

The birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa is a medieval city that’s made a splash in the modern world. Stumble upon architectural gems like the San Lorenzo Cathedral, with its black-and-white striped facade, and monumental squares like Piazza de Ferrari. The harborside aquarium is the second-largest in Europe — head there to see a bastion of biodiversity, complete with sharks, dolphins and penguins. The Lanterna is the city’s main lighthouse, and the adjacent Museum will get you familiar with the history of the port and city. Walk among the colorful houses and cobbled streets, and poke your head into one of the excellent restaurants there for a Genoese specialty dish like pansotti, a ravioli-like pasta served with walnut sauce.

THINGS TO DO IN GENOA

SEE WHAT’S UNDER THE SEA
Housed in a ship-like structure, the Genoa Aquarium is home to diverse species of jellyfish, stingrays and colorful fish in aquatic ecosystem displays. After you’re done, head to the Galata Museum, which has a moored submarine, original artifacts and ships. Hop on the Bigo lift to be elevated to a full-circle view of Genoa.

HISTORY AL FRESCO
In Genoa’s historic center, pause and admire the fresco of St. George at Palazzo San Giorgio, one of the first banks in Europe. Take a whiff of the wave of aromas coming from the typical botteghe and street stands as you wander to the majestic Gothic Cathedral San Lorenzo. Visit the Columbus Museum, make your way to the Palazzo Ducale, then go up to the Grimaldi Tower to savor a spectacular view of the city.

ON A CLIFF’S EDGE
Close by, you can jump on the train to Monterosso and explore Cinque Terre (or the five cities). Adventure through these cliffside villages to find one of the very fine trattorie offering the freshest seafood accompanied by their local white wines.

LOCAL CUISINE
Genoa is home to the world-famous basil-based condiment pesto. But walnut sauce is the region’s other great invention — enjoy it atop gnocchi or pansotti, a ravioli stuffed with greens and herbs. Stop by a street vendor for freshly fried calamari and anchovies or farinata, a flatbread made from chickpea flour. Seek out stoccafisso, cod prepared with pine nuts, olives, tomatoes and potatoes.

SHOPPING
The historic district’s carrugi, or cobblestone alleyways, are the place to go for shopping in Genoa. Peek into the old-school workshops where you can see artisans craft leather shoes and bags, gold jewelry and hand-tailored clothing. Look for a mezzaro genovese, a decorative tapestry based on the ornate shawls that came into Genoa from India during 18th-century trade. Playful cat statues are also a distinctive Ligurian trinket — you can find them here and in nearby Cinque Terre.

Genoa is marvellously eclectic, vibrant and full of rough-edged style, it’s a great cruise excursion.

Indeed “La Superba” (The Superb), as it was known at the height of its authority as a Mediterranean superpower, boasts more zest and intrigue than all the surrounding coastal resorts put together.
During a holiday to Genoa you can explore its old town: a dense and fascinating warren of medieval alleyways home to large palazzi built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Genoa’s wealthy mercantile families and now transformed into museums and art galleries. You should seek out the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Renaissance palaces of Via Garibaldi which contain the cream of Genoa’s art collections, as well as furniture and decor from the grandest days of the city’s past, when its ships sailed to all corners of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Acquario di Genova is the city’s pride and joy, parked like a giant ocean liner on the waterfront, with seventy tanks housing sea creatures from all the world’s major habitats, including the world’s biggest reconstruction of a Caribbean coral reef. It’s a great aquarium by any standards, the second largest in Europe by capacity, and boasts a fashionably ecology-conscious slant and excellent background information in Italian and English.

Just 35 km south of Genoa, there’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a protected inlet surrounded by lush cypress- and olive-clad slopes. It’s an A-list resort that has been attracting high-flying bankers, celebs and their hangers-on for years, as evidenced by the flotillas of giant yachts usually anchored just outside. It’s a tiny place that is attractive yet somehow off-putting at the same time, with a quota of fancy shops, bars and restaurants for a place twice its size.