The city has some of the most famous landmarks, but I want to reveal five things (and a little more) that the tour guide will not show you. Genoa has a sentimental value to me, so here’s what I will advise you.
A view over Genoa from the high, a walk among roses and lots of greenery, an aperitif and a walk by the sea with inspirational views, a visit to „hidden“ palaces, an Italian capuchin in the narrow streets and frescoes.
If you already know Genoa, or if you have never been there, find it in this way. 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), 2-3 days are enough to explore and plunge into this Italian and its slightly different atmosphere.
How to move around?
The city has a subway, buses, trains to move around, but generally the distances are not very heavy and you can take them on foot 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, these that we just cannot miss.
De Ferrari Square – this is the main square in Genoa, with its famous fountain.
On this square you can also find The Palace of the Doge, from where the dynasty once ruled over Genoa. Today it has been turned into a museum where many interesting exhibitions are often displayed. Tickets and opening hours vary among the different exhibitions.
The Lighthouse – The Lighthouse is the symbol of Genoa, one of the most important ports in Europe back in time.
With its 117 meters of height, it is visible from quite far away and has illuminated the way of thousands of ships since the Middle Ages. That was one purpose, and the other – to be a defensive fortress. The fortress of the lighthouse has been rebuilt more than once over the years.
It is only a short walk away, about 600 meters away from the Milan Street, passing between the shopping centre and the Columbus Sea hotel.
The Museum and the Lighthouse can be visited:
All Saturdays and Sundays, also holidays from 14:30 to 18:30.
Price: EUR 6, (reduced – EUR 4)
Along with the Lighthouse, of course, the old harbour, which can be reached by the narrow streets of the Old Town of Genoa, are located some of the most famous sights, namely
The Aquarium – the second largest in Europe, a joy for both youngsters and adults, wishing to see a variety of species from the marine world. It attracts millions of tourists. And if you walk around it, you will see an interesting pirate ship being exhibited.
The house of Christopher Columbus, where the world famous explorer has grown up (but in fact there are doubts whether it is for real, because the house is in the centre of the city, and according to the history it was not exactly there).
However, if you want to see it, it is located on the Dante square, the entrance is 5 Euros, but most visitors are not fascinated 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, famous city figures, all the important people representing the Genoa aristocracy. To find out what the Golden Age of the city was, visit them.
42 of the 80 Palazzi dei Rolli in Genoa are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, 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 artists such as Rubens and Van Dyke. Keep an eye on 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 well-known, less visible and noticeable from the outside of the Duomo, this basilica offers a great view of those who have came to visit it.
This symphony of cement mortar, marble, frescoes that enchants, 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, to move from the center to the hills, you can use elevators to quickly take you to the upper part of the city.
The most famous among them is theCastelletto’s elevator, „the way to the sky“, according to the poet Giorgio Caproni, because of the incredible view that opens to the old part of the city, the rooftops, the harbor, 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 houses the largest collection of Japanese art in Italy.
2. The Boccadasse
This is perhaps the most photographed place in Genoa, used for postcards, and if you visit it you will find out why. I will tell you, because 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.
There is no one who does not know it, do not miss it and stroll along it while looking at the sea.
If you do not want to have a lot of walking, there are buses that stop right in front of the alley, which goes down to the Boccada (Boccada bus stop – for example, bus number 32 from the Brinhole Station).
The place is tiny but extremely picturesque. Charming with its colourful houses, the blue sea and the rocks. I definitely recommend to stay a little on them, as the view of the sea and passing ships is no less compelling.
How not to fall in love with this town…
- An amazing walk in Parco di Nervi Park
To the most famous and loved by all the park in Genoa, you can get by train. It is pretty quick – about 10 minutes from the Brinhole Station, and the ticket costs 1.60 euros, it is valid for 100 minutes and you need to validate it before you board. Even if you are in Genoa for a while, do not miss to go! Definitely worth it.
Once you enter the gardens, you will feel the air changing, inhaling pure mountain air. Walk calmly through the vast greenery, see the houses up the slopes, if you have time, this is the perfect time to read a book. Children also love this park, where they can play and run at will. Nine hectares of gardens, populated by squirrels and exotic plants, surround three villas: the Gropallo, the Sera and the Grimaldi Fassio (where important art museums are also housed).
Additionally, between May and June bloom the famous Rosetto roses, beautiful and aromatic.
Wherever you go for sightseeing, you need a variety of places to visit and a need of relaxation among greenery, so I strongly recommend you to do so. But there is more. From the park you can go to the next most impressive and breath-taking view in my opinion.
A walk on Nervi
Follow the green paths and inhale deeply when the blue sea appears unexpectedly between the greenery of the park.
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