Apart from the most famous landmarks, I want to reveal five things (and a little more) that the tour guides will not show you. Genoa has a sentimental value to me, so here’s what I will share with you.
An aerial view over Genoa, a walk among roses and lots of greenery, an aperitif and a romantic walk by the sea with inspirational views, a visit to „hidden“ palaces, an Italian cappuccino in the narrow streets and frescoes.
If you already know Genoa, or if you have never been there, my advise is to skip the overcrowded spots in order to feel the authentic vibe of this Italian treasure.
These are just five of the things you can do to fall in love with this splendid city.
No guides will show you these sights, the main reason may be lack of time. Genoa is not very large in size (1840 square kilometers), so 2-3 days are more than enough to dive into this Italian atmosphere.
How to move around?
The city has a subway, buses, trains to move around, but generally, the distances are not very long and you can take some great walks if you have enough time. Now let’s move on to the more interesting part.
Sightseeing in Genoa
I will start with the most famous tourist attractions that we just can’t skip.
De Ferrari Square
This is the main square in Genoa, with an eye-catching fountain, on which local people usually meet to walk around the narrow streets.
On this square, you can also find The Palace of the Doge, from where the dynasty once ruled over Genoa.
To date, it has been turned into a museum where many interesting exhibitions are often displayed. Tickets and opening hours vary depends on the exhibition.
The Lighthouse, the symbol of Genoa, used to be one of the most important ports in Europe back in time.
With its 117 meters of height, it is visible from far away and has illuminated the way of thousands of ships since the Middle Ages (which was its main purpose).
The Lighthouse was also used as a defensive fortress. The fortress has been rebuilt more than once over the years.
It is situated about 600 meters away from the Milan Street, passing between the shopping center and the Columbus Sea hotel.
The Museum and the Lighthouse can be visited:
All Saturdays and Sundays from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 .m. (including holidays).
Price: EUR 6, (reduced – EUR 4)
Along with the Lighthouse, of course, the old harbor, which can be reached by the narrow streets of the Old Town, there are some of the most famous sights in Genoa.
The house of Christopher Columbus, where the world-famous explorer has grown up (there are doubts whether if that’s the truth because the house is located in the center of the city, which opposes to some historical facts).
However, if you are interested to see it, it is located on the Dante square.
The entrance is 5 Euros (keep in mind that most of the visitors are not impressed by the interior, so you can only look outside).
Now it’s time to move on to the 5 things the guide will not show you:
5. The Palazzi dei Rolli – part of the UNESCO World Heritage
In 1576 the prince of the Genoa Republic, Andrea Doria, ordered the beginning of the royal Rolli: in fact, they were a list of the most magnificent manor houses built for ship-owners, bankers, and the rest of the important people representing the Genoa aristocracy.
Fancy to find out what the Golden Age of the city looked like, visit The Palazzi dei Rolli.
As a matter of fact, 42 out of the 80 Palazzi dei Rolli in Genoa are part of the UNESCO World Heritage, starting with the Strada Nuova museums including the Palazzo Rosso, the Palazzo Bianco, and the Palazzo Tursi. Also the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Spinola, where portraits of the Genoese aristocracy are painted by world-known artists such as Rubens and Van Dyke.
Besides, check out the event called Rlli Days, a special weekend in which some of the most beautiful buildings (private, institutions and banks) are open for visitors.
4. Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
This is a hidden gem of Genoa. Less known, less visible and noticeable from the outside of the Duomo, this basilica offers a great view of those who have come to visit it.
This symphony of cement mortar, marble, and enchanting frescoes, amazes visitors.
If you are in Genoa and you are looking for it, ask for the Nuncio Square – piazza della Nunziata, because otherwise many people will not be able to tell you where it is.
3. A view over Genoa – the Spianata Castelletto
Genoa is a vertical city, so there are elevators to move from the city center to the top of the hills.
The most famous among them is the Castelletto’s elevator, „the way to the sky“, according to the poet Giorgio Caproni, thanks to the incredible view that opens up towards the old part of the city, the sea and the coast of Liguria.
From here you can see the whole of Genoa, including the Museum of Oriental Art by Edward Chiasone, which brags with the largest collection of Japanese art in Italy.
2. The Boccadasse
This is perhaps the most photographed place in Genoa, used for postcards, and once you visit it you will find out why. Here, although it is 2018, it seems that time has stopped in the early 90s.
Go down the alley to the church of St. Antonio, coming from the Corso Italy – the seaside in Genoa.
The place is tiny but extremely picturesque. Charming with its colorful houses, the crystal blue sea, and the rocks. I definitely recommend to steal a moment and enjoy the mind-blowing view.
How not to fall in love with this town…
If you are not a big fan of walking, there are buses that stop right in front of the alley and go down to the Boccada (Boccada bus stop – for example, bus number 32 from the Brinhole Station).
1. An amazing walk in Parco di Nervi Park
To the most famous and loved park in Genoa, you can get by train. It is a pretty quick ride – about 10 minutes from the Brinhole Station, and the ticket costs 1.60 euros (valid for 100 minutes, however, you need to validate it before you board). Even if you are in Genoa for a few days, do not skip it! Definitely worth your time.
Children also love this park, where they can play and run freely. Nine hectares of gardens, populated by squirrels and exotic plants, surround three villas: the Gropallo, the Sera and the Grimaldi Fassio (where other important art museums are located).
But that’s not all! From Parco di Nervi Park, you can go to the next most impressive and breathtaking view in my opinion.
A walk on Nervi
Follow the green paths and inhale deeply while the blue sea appears unexpectedly beyond the greenery of the park.
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