Genova was founded in the 4th century B.C. It was a port city from the very beginning, initially serving the Romans. In the 16th century, the city grew wealthier from financing Spanish exploration, and during its heyday it attracted a number of great artists like Peter Paul Rubens. Explorer Christopher Columbus is the most famous descendent of the city.
Genova is the capital of Ligure, a small coastal region where food and beaches beckon tourists.
Things to see and do
Built in the mid-1500s, Via Garibaldi is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed street lined with palaces like the Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco, now both art galleries. Palazzi dei Rolli is another grand historic sight – a collection of Renaissance and Baroque palaces built between the 16th and 18th centuries.
The Genoa Cathedral, also called the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, is a Roman Catholic church built in the 17th century and featuring a black and white striped marble and slate facade. Inside is a pipe organ, a colourful altar and a bomb that hit the church but didn’t detonate (a miracle, perhaps?).
Italy’s largest aquarium, the Acquario di Genova has 71 tanks and more than 500 species of fish. If you prefer your fish in their natural habitat, get down to the beach – there are nice private beaches like Nuovo Lido and a number of free ones made from gravel or stone.
Shopping and dining
Check out the designer stores at Via Roma and Via XX Settembre, the many stores at Fiumara Shopping and Fun, and the Piazetta Lavagna flea markets. Dine out at some of the region’s many seafood restaurants, delicious homemade pastas, Michelin-starred options and even fast food stands with tasty local snacks like farinata, a chickpea pancake.
Getting here and around
Book your Genova accommodation with us, snap up a cheap flight to Genova and you’re on your way. There’s a bus from the airport to Genova’s city centre every 30 minutes – don’t bother hiring a car, it’s easier to explore these narrow streets by walking. If you’re eager for a trip to Italy, Genova is an im-PORT-ant destination.Image credit Serge Melki under Creative Commons