In the coastal region of Liguria in Italy lies the northern historical port town of Genoa (Genova in Italian). It is often overshadowed by Rome or Venice, yet it is filled with hidden gems and treasures that make it a great city and a fabulous place to visit.
This article will look at some of the reasons that the ancient city of Genoa is worth a visit.
Piazza de Ferrari
The Piazza de Ferrari is found at the heart of Genoa, and can be considered the core of life in the city. This cultural centre is defined by the massive and elegant fountain found in the middle of the square, which is a wonderful sight to behold.
As a port town, Genoa is very close to the sea, so the aquarium in Genoa seems appropriately situated. The aquarium in Genoa is massive, it’s the second largest in Europe and is filled with lots to see and do, highlights include the dolphins, penguins and manatees.
As well as serving as the main lighthouse for the city’s main port, Genoa’s ‘Lanterna’ serves as a symbol for the city, and is one of the oldest standing structures of its kind in the world. The Lanterna is worth seeing as a beautiful architectural design, but adjacent to the lighthouse itself can be found the Lanterna museum showcasing the history of the city and its port.
Genoa has a rich history and heritage as a significant Mediterranean seaport. It is quite fitting therefore that they have two excellent maritime museums: the sea museum and the naval museum, which bring the sea-faring history of the area to life.
However, alongside these two museums, there is a veritable plethora of other museums to explore, ranging from world culture, to fine art, to natural history and much more besides making Genoa a great place to visit if you’re a history buff.
Not only is Genoa filled with museums and historical landmarks and attractions, but it is known to have Europe’s biggest historical centre. This is buried in the heart of the old city.
Composed of numerous tiny streets known as Caruggi, the historical centre of Genoa is brilliant to explore; meandering through the various side streets almost takes you back in time to when Genoa was one of the most important harbours on the Mediterranean Sea.
Genoa is a great place to experience authentic Italian cuisine, such as pasta dishes, lasagne, pizzas and the like. However, Genoa is particularly known for its pesto dishes, as pesto originates here. It is also known for its focaccia bread, available in Genoa’s many Foccacerias. Also, as a port town, Genoa knows how to do seafood – especially mussels and lobsters – but whatever you choose it will be beautifully cooked and freshly caught.
Genoa is filled with shopping opportunities, with designer boutiques, department stores, food shops and antique dealers. Many of the shops have real character, with picturesque tourist shops, sailor-themed stalls, quaint bookshops and tiny art galleries.
However, if you’re of a more high-brow persuasion, along the Via XX Settembre there is some wonderful high-end shopping to be had, featuring world class fashion outlets. For shoppers with pockets which aren’t quite as deep, the large shopping centre Fiumara is an absolute must.
With access to the coast and local National parks, Genoa has proven to be a haven for camping holidays.
The Beigua Park and Parco naturale regionale di Montemarcello – Magra are both popular forested park areas adjacent to the city which are ideal for day trips and camping holidays. Tents like the Vango Airbeam are ideal for the Italian climate and are lightweight too.
With everything the city has to offer, its pastel-coloured terracotta-roofed houses, beautiful churches, picturesque seaside villas and luxurious boutiques, a visit to Genoa is a great idea if you really want to experience the very essence of Italy.
Article by Rob Holman