My visit to Genoa coincidentally was the week before the news of the major bridge collapse on the outskirts echoed around the world. The city has had some bad press this last year. None the less, Genoa or Genova has a lot to share with travellers searching for a slice of Italy past. This long ago commercial capital has so many delights to please visitors old and young, and those skipping Genoa are really doing themselves a disservice by missing out on this captivating destination.
Located in North-west Italy, Genoa is the capital city of the Liguria region and the supposed birthplace of famous explorer, Christopher Columbus. The city’s sloping landscape surrounds its historical port, securing Genoa as a great base for Italian Riviera tours with easy transport links to other coastal locations such as Portofino and Cinque Terre by land and sea.
While much larger than its neighbours, Genoa is well laid out for sightseers. Many tourist attractions are centrally located and the others are accessible by foot or bus.
Wandering around Genoa you become absorbed in the sense of history here, with elegantly aged buildings, statues and fountains at every turn. Many of the building proudly display their age allowing visitors to trace their way through time as they explore. A must-see for both grandeur and historical significance is the Piazza di Ferrari.
A past hub for financial institute headquarters, the Piazza has recently had a makeover with a beautiful fountain restored in its core. The logistics of the square herald it as a photographers dream with the new Stock exchange, main street of Via XX Settembre and the Garibaldi sculpture all visible from the square. As well as Christopher Columbus, you will also find the names Doria and Garibaldi frequently mentioned throughout the city centre.
Choose one of many directions from here for your next stop. A hands-stretch away are the Neo-classical Palazzo Ducale di Genova as well as the Teatro Carlo Felice, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo and many other places of interest. The Via XX Settembre is worthy of a visit to admire the art nouveau architecture with stores enough to satisfy happy shoppers. The Piazza della Vittoria holds yet more treasures in the form of a tribute to Christopher Columbus and the memorial arch.
Another sightseeing location is the port in Genoa. As a port city, Genoa once controlled much of the trade in this part of the Mediterranean and today is one of the two biggest ports located here. As well as a huge array of sea vessels, the harbour is home to Italy’s largest aquarium and its own tropical biosphere. The pastel houses and palm trees aligning the quay tell the story of the wealth enjoyed in this part of the city.
Genoa is a place that uncovers more to see with each exploration. On top of those mentioned above, the city holds numerous palaces, galleries and museums. The tall-layered streets also contain secrets of their own with colourful art installations and architectural jewels that you stumble upon in the most lovely way. This one was caught by a glimpse from the Via XX Settembre.
As you can tell, Genoa stole a piece of my heart. And why not? It is the largest city I have seen in Italy but one so full of sounds, sights and tales from the past that you could not help but be enchanted by it. While the modern world melds into Genoa, it does not detract from the historical greatness and it is easy to see why this Italian city is one that the people hold so dear.
Getting around Genoa: Bus tours are a fantastic way to get around the city. Hop-on hop-off tours will take you from the port harbour to the city cemetery and lighthouse at the north. Bus tickets are available from the main stations and from the driver at main stops.