The large port city of Genova is famous for many reasons: it gave the world the virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, the legendary explorer Christopher Columbus and delicious pesto alla Genovese sauce. It is a stunning city to explore on private Italy tours. Here are some suggestions on what to do in Genoa.
Admire the noble palaces
Many stunning Renaissance and Baroque palazzi tower over the narrow Via Lomellini, Via Garibaldi and Via Balbi, so you will have to walk with your head up to appreciate their outstanding beauty opulence that earned this street a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s richest and most powerful families built these stunning abodes to impress and host illustrious guests visiting Genoa. Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi are open to the public and house excellent Italian, Flemish and Spanish that include works of Guercino, Veronese, Caravaggio, Rubens and many other. In Palazzo Tursi, now the City Hall, you can also see one of Paganini’s violins and Christopher Columbus’ bones.
Visit the Old Port
Founded over one thousand years ago, the Porto Antico has been revamped and turned into an exciting city district filled with museums, cultural centres, shopping galleries, restaurants and bars. Here you will find the Aquarium, one of the largest in Europe, the Genoa Museum and, in winter, an ice-skating rink. You can hop on the Bigo, a panoramic lift, which will take you 130 feet above the port to admire the views over the city.
Explore the city’s impressive squares
Stroll along narrow medieval streets that will lead you to some of the city’s most spectacular squares. Piazza de Ferrari, the city’s main square, has a splendid fountain in the centre and is surrounded by imposing palaces. Piazza Matteotti is dominated by the former Doge’s Palace behind which you will find the beautiful 13th century Gothic church of San Matteo.
Take in the views
Genoa’s streets run up a steep hill from the sea, so one way to take in its majestic cityscape is from the roof of Palazzo Rosso or a viewing terrace at Castelletto, raising above the city centre and reached by an old squeaky lift. Another way to see the splendour of the city that is often called “La Superba” is to take a boat tour in the harbour.
Photos via Flickr by: Luca Volpi, Daniel Jacobs, Davide Simonetti.