Crack open Savoring Italy's Genoa Italy Travel Guide and plunge headfirst into a city that refuses to be pigeonholed. Genoa, with its audacious architectural feats, pulsating rhythms, sweeping views, and a culinary scene that's nothing short of revolutionary, is a siren call for the restless traveler. Need convincing? We've got 41 reasons why Genoa should make its way to the top of your must-visit list.
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- A Brief History about Genoa Italy
- Genoa Italy Today
- Your Genoa Tourism Cheat Sheet
- Where Is Genoa Italy?
- Map of Genoa Italy
- Genoa Travel Recommendations
- When Is the Best Time to Visit Genoa?
- How long do you need in Genoa?
- 41 of the Best Things to Do in Genoa Italy
- The Best Places to Stay in Genoa Italy
- The Best Restaurants in Genoa Italy (sandwich and gelato shops too!)
- Is Genoa Italy Worth Visiting?
A Brief History about Genoa Italy
In Genoa Italy, an enigmatic jigsaw of history and tall tales, things aren't as simple as they look. Peel back the layers like an onion, and you’ll find a city that's like Janus - that two-faced Roman god. A city, mind you, that nonchalantly gazes at the sea with one eye and the mountains with the other. Quite fitting for a city so entwined with the deity of cash flow and connectivity, given Genoa's resume as a loaded merchant hub and the gatekeeper between Europe and the Mediterranean.
Christopher Columbus's Hometown
Christopher Columbus might've found America, but the real treasure was his hometown, deeply anchored to its port, a strategic chess piece eyed by many but masterfully defended by Genoa. It’s like the city evolved from the unsuspecting nerd to the quarterback – from prey to apex predator.
Roll the dice to the year 1000, and we see Genoa flexing its newfound muscles, armed with a fleet that’s both a merchant's dream and a rival's nightmare. The city wasn’t just content being a regional powerhouse; it wanted to paint its flag across the Mediterranean, so off it went on a few crusades, nabbing territories from Corsica to Crimea. Think of it as medieval Monopoly, and Genoa was buying all the prime real estate.
The cash was flowing, but so was the greed. Genoa’s elite couldn’t help but bicker like kids in a candy store, which ironically saw them bringing in an outsider, Manegoldo del Tettoccio, to keep the peace. Ironic, considering the name-dropping of Genoa's elite is reminiscent of modern-day celebrity drama – their legacies etched onto the city's downtown structures.
Then came the political equivalent of team sports – the Guelphs and Ghibellines duking it out. In a bid to umpire the chaos, enter the figure of the doge, with Simone Boccanegra playing the lead role. Still, the political quagmire deepened as Genoa became a tug-of-war prize for neighboring Italian states.
Gilded Age of the Middle Ages and Renaissance
What follows is a series of uprisings, cloak-and-dagger politics, and a game of musical chairs for power. Genoa, once the toast of the Mediterranean, seemed to be on the brink of last call. But, in a Hollywood-esque twist, enter Admiral Andrea Doria. In 1528, he pulled the kind of Hail Mary play that would make any quarterback green with envy, crafting a new constitution and preserving Genoa’s autonomy.
Yet, the gilded age of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance faded like an old photograph. By 1684, Genoa, once the powerhouse, bowed to the French, only to be handed off like a hand-me-down to the Kingdom of Sardinia post the Congress of Vienna.
Genoa’s tale is one of legends, lore, and the kind of intrigue that'd give any modern-day drama a run for its money. And as history shows, in Genoa, the plot always thickens.
Genoa Italy Today
Ah, Genoa! Nestled as the crown jewel of the Ligurian region, this bustling Italian city welcomes over 608,000 locals. A walk here feels like stepping back in time, and, in fact, you're in one of Italy's most populous metropolises.
Perched just about twenty meters above the Gulf of Genoa, the city sprawls gracefully across 243.56 square kilometers, framed by protective hills and towering peaks — the highest being the Monte Reixa, standing proudly at 1,183 meters.
This splendid natural amphitheater opens up to the azure waters of the sea, revealing why Genoa has historically been a maritime powerhouse. Today, the city's port still pulses with energy, retaining its title as Italy's grandest.
Il cuore di Genova
Wander through Genoa's heart, and you're treated to a maze of historic charm. The "carrugi" (narrow alleyways) and "creuze" (steep paths) beckon visitors to explore deeper, revealing the soul of the old continent. While the ancient streets weave tales of yesteryears, the modern boulevards and the sprawling views from the Gulf showcase Genoa's contemporary flair.
But Genoa isn't just a city; it's also the bustling capital of a province boasting over 900,700 folks. From its northern borders with Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna to the sun-kissed southern Ligurian Sea, and its eastern neighbor La Spezia to the west's Savona, Genoa is a hub of diverse experiences.
Covering a picturesque 1,839 square kilometers, the province is dotted with travel-worthy spots. From the romantic streets of Rapallo and Chiavari to the coastal charm of Sestri Levante and Lavagna — and let's not forget the beloved Arenzano, Recco, Santa Margherita Ligure, and Cogoleto — Ligurian Riviera magic awaits every traveler.
But remember, the shimmering sea is just one of Genoa's many faces. Dive deeper, and you'll discover a city that gave the world Christopher Columbus and so much more. So whether you're here for the sea, the hills, or the mountains, Genoa's rich tapestry promises endless adventures.
Your Genoa Tourism Cheat Sheet
Genoa, an enigmatic powerhouse of yesteryears, is less a city and more a living time capsule. Where the ghosts of the grand Maritime Republic still seem to stride its streets, holding onto their dignity and regality. It doesn't just flirt with the eyes of tourists; it plays hard to get, always leaving you wanting more.
Old Port: Essence of the Maritime Republic
For the uninitiated city slickers who've never known alleyways tighter than their jeans or roads that challenge your fear of heights, Genoa is a sensory overload. And where to start? Well, at its beating heart, of course - the Port.
Molo Vecchio's Aura and Underwater Wonders
That Old Port, ah! It's not just docks and water. It’s where the soul of the city pulsed during its heyday. Today, it’s a gateway to history, with the Molo Vecchio serving nostalgia on a platter. There's the famed aquarium – not just any aquarium, mind you – and if you’re looking to level up your view, hop onto the Bigo. Designed in '92 by Renzo Piano, it’s a nod to the port’s industrial cranes but with a modern twist.
The Lanterna: Emblem of Genoa's Grandeur
Now, what's that towering beauty piercing the sky? The Lanterna or "Lighthouse" – Genoa’s age-old beacon. Once the San Benigno promontory’s crown jewel, it beckons visitors for a nostalgic stroll even today. This medieval-built, repeatedly reimagined lighthouse stands proud at 117 meters, narrating tales of old and inviting onlookers to explore its museum, a vault of its storied past.
Fontana De Ferrari: Behemoth Fountain and Architectural Marvel
And just when you think you've seen it all, Genoa throws the Fontana De Ferrari at you. A majestic water showpiece from the 1930s, it's not just a fountain, but the epicenter from which Genoa’s lifeblood - its streets - branch out. Circling this grand fountain is an ensemble of landmarks: the Carlo Felice Theater, the Palazzo Ducale – a nod to the Doges who once ruled between the 13th and 17th centuries.
The Duomo: Cathedral of San Lorenzo
Last, but nowhere near the least, the city’s pièce de résistance – the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. A medieval architectural marvel, its black and white bands are like a throwback to the old-world charm of the Dark Ages. Inside, it’s nothing short of a royal affair, from the majestic central nave to the treasures lying in the San Lorenzo basement museum.
Where Is Genoa Italy?
Genoa is nestled snugly in Italy's scenic Ligurian region, this coastal gem dazzles right where the mountains whisper secrets to the sea. Stretching gracefully along the Western Ligurian Riviera, Genoa gazes dreamily over the Ligurian Sea. Thanks to its prime real estate, it’s not just been a buzzing commercial port but also a melting pot of cultures for eons.
Map of Genoa Italy
As you unfurl this map of Genoa, get ready to dive into a city where narrow alleyways whisper tales of ancient mariners and grand palazzos stand tall, echoing the Renaissance's glory. With the azure Ligurian Sea as its backdrop and a patchwork of historic neighborhoods, Genoa is more than just a destination—it's a story waiting to be explored. Use this map above to chart your own Genoese adventure, from bustling piazzas to serene coastal vistas. Buon viaggio!
Genoa Travel Recommendations
The following are the most common ways and routes you can get to Genoa Italy:
Get to Genoa Italy by Train
Rolling into Genoa by train, I was struck by how well-connected this Italian gem is. Whether you're chugging in from Turin, Milan, Pisa, Rome, or even crossing borders from Nice and Marseille in France, Genoa's got you on the right track.
I hopped off at Genova Piazza Principe, a bustling hub for trains coming from Milan and France. If you're on the route from Rome or Turin, Genova Brignole is your stop. And for those wanting a closer look at the coastline or a journey through Val Polcevera, the metropolitan train service is a real treat. All aboard for a Genoese adventure!
Get to Genoa by Plane
Flying into Genoa? Prepare for a treat! Cristoforo Colombo Airport offers a unique landing experience with a runway cradled by the sea - it's almost like touching down on water. Nestled in Genoa's Sestri Ponente, you're just a stone's throw from the heart of the city. Jump on the Volabus (line I24) or grab a taxi, and if you fancy riding the rails, there are trains ready to whisk you downtown. Genoa's charm is just a quick ride away!
You Can Reach Genoa by Car
Are you planning on driving into Genoa? Here's your trusty guide to rolling into this Italian gem. With highways crisscrossing from every direction, Genoa's beckoning like a good old friend:
- Take the scenic A12 from Genoa to Rosignano. Fancy a pitstop? Exit at Genova Nervi or Genova Est for a taste of local flavor.
- The A26, stretching from Voltri to Gravellona, merges with the A10 at Voltri. It's like Italy's version of a road trip crossroads!
- Coast along the A10 dei Fiori from Genoa to Ventimiglia. For quick detours, the exits at Genova Voltri, Pegli, Airport, and West have got you covered.
- Cruising from Milan? The A7 Serravalle will be your trusty route. Dive into Genoa via the Genova Bolzaneto or Genova Ovest exits.
Arrive in Genoa via Sea
The following maritime companies operate routes to Genoa:
- Tirrenia - Direct routes to Sardinia
- Moby Lines – Routes connecting to Bastia in Corsica
- Tris – Services to both Corsica and Sardinia
- Grimaldi – Routes to Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain
- Cotunav Tirrenia – Connections to Tunis.
Get to Genoa by Bus
The asphalt ribbon stretching from Genoa to Bologna is more than just a motorway – it's a veritable rollercoaster through Italy's pulsing heartland. Along the way, you're treated to pit stops like Parma - where the cheese isn't just a dairy product, but a religion.
Reggio nell'Emilia and Modena? They aren't just names; they're chapters in Italy's grand narrative. This isn't your typical bus route; it's a journey through time, culture, and – of course – culinary delights.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Genoa?
For those wondering about the best time to visit Genoa, the good news is that any month can be perfect. This historic and culturally-rich city bustles with events all year round. That said, if sun, sand, and sea are on the agenda, late spring – particularly May and June – offers the best blend. During these months, Genoa enjoys mild temperatures that are just right for both urban explorations and relaxing seaside breaks.
As a savvy traveler's tip, always give the Genoa weather forecast a quick glance before packing. Being prepared ensures one's journey in this Mediterranean gem is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
How long do you need in Genoa?
Genoa is one of the gems of the Ligurian coast. If you're aiming to catch the essence of the city – its historic lanes, bustling port, and local eateries – a solid three days should suffice.
But for those with a passion for truly savoring every church, museum, and piazza, and perhaps enjoying a leisurely cappuccino while watching the world go by, I'd recommend setting aside a full week. It gives you a chance not just to see Genoa, but to feel its heartbeat. And remember, travel is as much about understanding a place as it is seeing its sights. Buon viaggio!
41 of the Best Things to Do in Genoa Italy
Alright, if you're setting foot in Genoa and expecting just another run-of-the-mill Italian experience, think again., because 'Savoring Italy' has got the inside scoop on what you shouldn't miss.
1. Pay a visit to the Abbazia di San Siro di Struppa
Perched high above Genoa, overlooking the Molassana district, stands the Abbazia di San Siro di Struppa. Some choose to brave the ascent on foot from Via San Felice, treating themselves to a scenic workout, while others prefer the convenience of four wheels.
But regardless of the mode of transport, everyone gets greeted by the same thing upon arrival: an almost tangible, otherworldly hush that wraps around them. It's as if the very air holds its breath in reverence.
And just when one thinks they've soaked in all its ethereal charm, the Christmas season ups the ante. There, adjacent to the main church, an oratory cradles a nativity scene so beautifully crafted, it feels like a peek into a bygone era.
2. Swing by the Antica Barberia Giacalone
Tucked away like an old secret in Genoa's bustling historic center, Ancient Barberia Giacalone sits with a gravitas few places manage to hold onto. On the official roster of the city's historic treasures, it's a time capsule, a living testament to the Art Nouveau era, echoing a world long past.
Now under the protective wing of FAI heritage, it's the kind of place that, even if just passing by, demands you to pause, reflect, and yeah, maybe snap a photo or two for posterity. Because places like this? They're becoming rarer by the day
3. Head to the Antica Confetteria Romanengo
Walking into The Antica Confectionery Romanengo in Genoa, I felt like I'd stumbled into a time machine. From decadent chocolates to those ethereal sugared almonds, jellies, and fondants — this wasn't just a confectionery, it was an odyssey of tastes.
Guided by their amiable sales manager, I ventured deeper into what felt less like a store and more like an artful sanctuary. Marble underfoot, art that could stop you dead in your tracks, and woods that seemed to have been there since time immemorial.
And those pastries? I'd wager they'd give any world-class patisserie a run for their money. And as for that frozen fruit I dared to try — it wasn’t just good, it was a revelation, an experience I’d stash in the 'once in a lifetime' drawer.
4. Swing by the Antica Vetreria del Molo at Night
In the heart of Porto Antico, I stumbled upon this gem, the Antica Vetreria del Molo. Nestled away from the clamor, it felt like uncovering a secret speakeasy from the Prohibition era. The food? On point.
The live music? More than just background noise—it had soul. But the highlight? The place's vibe, somewhere between an old-school jazz joint and an upscale secret society hangout.
The management? They're not just running a show; they're part of it—animated, lively, really pulling you into their world. But here’s the kicker: its elusive nature. Hidden away, it’s not your run-of-the-mill tourist hotspot.
Think of it as Genoa's best-kept secret, a place not meant for everyone. Want some superb wine to go with that intrigue? They've got you. Dive in, if you can find it.
5. Go See a Calcio (football or soccer) Match at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa Italy!
I found myself in Genoa, and someone whispered to me, "You've got to check out the Luigi Ferraris Stadium." So, I did. Opened in 1911, this granddaddy of Italian stadiums, the oldest still breathing and sweating football passion, is a living relic. If you've got even an ounce of fervor for the game, seeing Genoa C.F.C. or U.C. Sampdoria clash on that ancient turf is an experience to scribble on your bucket list.
But a heads-up for those trying to dive into this experience - thanks to a 2005 decree, snagging a ticket isn't just walk up and buy. It's nominative. Means you need a valid ID or at least a photocopy when you're buying.
And when you're stepping into that roaring cauldron of football madness? Keep that ID handy. Even the youngsters need one if they aren’t with an adult. Need help scoring those golden tickets? There's a link for that. Navigate through, and let the game begin.
6. Go for a Ride on the Elevator Montegalletto (aka the "Strangest" Elevator in Italy)
In the twisting maze of Genoa, I found an oddball escape route: the Elevator Montegalletto, or as locals dub it, the Ascensore Castello d'Albertis-Montegalletto. It’s this weird blend of a train and an elevator, starting with a horizontal track that makes you question your decisions, then jolting upright to scale the heights. Three minutes and you’re at the Albertis Castle, without breaking a sweat.
And why did I hop on? Pure, undiluted curiosity.It's like someone put an amusement park ride in the middle of a city's transit system. The dual action – moving both vertically and horizontally – is a trip.
And the cherry on top? That panorama of Genoa sprawled beneath you, its harbor sprawling out into the distance. Oh, and the best part for a wanderer on a budget? As of now, the ride won’t cost you a dime. A little taste of free adrenaline. Worth every… well, nothing!
7. Go Whale Watching in Genoa Italy!
Out in Genoa, I stumbled into the deep blue with Whalewatch Genoa. A tip? If you're lucky, you'll get the marine biologist onboard, spewing facts and stories that'd make any landlubber giddy.
Here's the thing: I've read some complaints about the cost. But seriously, 35 euros to bob around the Mediterranean for five hours? It's a steal. It's like buying a ticket to another world.
We were practically dancing with dolphins – saw three pods of them – and, if you can believe it, a majestic sperm whale. And all the while, our onboard expert was feeding us the lowdown on the cetacean sanctuary, the history of these creatures, and their evolution. Talk about a sea odyssey.
8. Make a Pilgrimage to Villetta di Negro
Returning to Villetta Di Negro after all these years felt like digging up a hidden chapter of Genoa, especially during the FAI promotion. While the Chiossone Museum is a revelation in itself, Villetta Di Negro is the unsung secret that even some locals seem to have overlooked.
Meandering through its romantic gardens, I couldn't help but get lost in reveries of yesteryears, back to that turn of the century when Genoa embraced, what one tourist noted as "English" style parks. It's a slice of nostalgia, but with a twinge of regret; such a gem, yet under-visited and underappreciated. The city, and its visitors, are missing out.
9. Enjoy an Afternoon (or Beautiful Evening!) at Bagni Aldebaran
Bagni Aldebaran is perched perfectly with a sweeping view of the gulf. You ever walk into a joint and think, "This is too good to be true?" That's Aldebaran. The staff? Incredibly gracious. Almost suspiciously so. And the food – insanely fresh, diverse, and surprisingly affordable.
And folks, if you haven't experienced an aperitif by the sea, here's your spot. Their pizza? It's like they've smuggled some master pizza maker from Naples. And, a little tip? They seem to be all in on the party scene, from beach blowouts to birthday bashes. If you're thinking of celebrating, give 'em a shout. I know I'll be back.
10. Pay a visit to Villa del Principe in Genoa Italy
Villa del Principe is Renaissance grandeur slapped right in the middle of the modern hustle. The walls scream Perin del Vaga, and if they could talk, I'd wager they'd be more eloquent than most politicians today. A hop from the Principe Metro, it's almost too easy to get to for something so rich in beauty. The frescoes, tapestries, and the sheer detail in every nook and cranny are hypnotic. Outside? An Italian garden that could make a botanist weep.
Navigating the museum, you sense a care in its organization – there's a story behind every artifact. The garden, while grand, leaves you yearning for what might have been. Yet, the staff seems on point: knowledgeable, genuine, not just playing the part. Ticket prices? Surprisingly reasonable, almost as if they're daring you to find an excuse not to visit. My only gripe? How criminally underrated this place is. Genoa, you've got a star, and it's high time it took center stage.
11. Experience (and Eat At!) Bagni Medusa in Genoa Italy
Skirting along Nervi's famed promenade, I found myself at Bagni Medusa, this almost obscenely picturesque spot that's daringly carved into the cliffside. Picture it: terraced levels, with every amenity from a shimmering pool to those oh-so-crucial showers.
They also rent out paddle boards and canoes for the adventurous types. But here's a pro-tip from a seasoned Italian traveller who's seen too many full places in her time: reserve your sunbed or restaurant table early. And for God’s sake, park near the Nervi station unless you fancy a marathon.
Now, let’s cut through the usual raves about the idyllic location. The real MVP? Their culinary game. In a region where "service with a smile" often feels like an ironic joke, Medusa nails it. Their fish? Imagine if Neptune himself delivered it to your plate. And when it comes to those cuttlefish ink trofie, I’d say it’s borderline life-changing. Throw in a wine list that's genuinely interesting and staff who seem to have remembered the 'serve' in 'service', and this place is less of a 'might return' and more of a 'when can I come back?'.
12. Explore the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
Walking the streets of Genoa, I nearly bypassed the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato. It didn’t even score a mention in my ever-trusty guidebook clutched in my hand. But curiosity, or maybe it was fate, pulled me in. And man, was it a jackpot discovery – no cover charge (and the time of this writing) and a visual feast that rivals some big-ticket museums.
From the outside? A quiet, almost bashful charm. But step inside, and the scene morphs entirely. A sea of gold, frescoes that looked like they had the Midas touch, all flanked by those imposing Corinthian columns. The side chapels? Each a stand-alone gallery with paintings and sculptures that'd make art aficionados swoon. The info panels? Detailed, insightful, and making up for that glaring guidebook omission.
And here's a bit of a tragic easter egg: crane your neck, and you can spot the marks of WWII – the domes that had to be put back together after the wartime destruction. After soaking up the Basilica's magnificence, keep the spirit going and swing by Chiesa di San Siro. Trust me on this one.
13. See the Villa Duchessa di Galliera
Walking into Villa Duchessa di Galliera felt like a hard reset to the simpler pleasures of life. Public and free – two words you don't hear side by side often. Toss in picnic spots that look like they've been lifted straight out of a classic painting, and you're in for a treat. But heads up, you've got to come armed – not with cash or credit, but with water, focaccias, and whatever tickles your picnic fancy.
It’s nature in its rustic beauty. No Wi-Fi, no cafes. And yet, the magic unfolds when you stumble upon the meadow. Deer and Tibetan goats, as if straight out of a fairy tale, are just there, waiting to share a tuft of grass with you. If you've got kids in tow, their excitement will be the soundtrack of your day.
The path might incline, but it's no Everest; it’s a leisurely stroll kind of uphill. Spread out before you are expansive lawns begging for play, picnic spots that could host a family reunion, and benches perfect for those introspective moments. And the cherry on top? Two sprawling spaces that are practically Noah's Ark, minus the flood.
14. Definitely Take a Trip to Mercato Orientale when you're in Genoa Italy!
The Mercato Orientale in Genoa hit me like an explosion of sensory overload - it's a Technicolor dream with a pulsating heart in the city's core. Even if you're just passing through Genoa, pockets empty, you'd be remiss to skip the pageantry of this place. Stalls teem with an avalanche of produce: from fish gleaming like they just jumped out of the ocean, to fruit so vivid it seems to radiate its own light.
But if the travel or the sensory assault gets too much? Just find a corner in that revamped central zone where you can plop down, bite into Ligurian specialties or maybe something exotic. It's a gastronomic pitstop where the city comes alive, especially for locals.
As for the newbie? The place is an Aladdin's cave. But let me toss in a piece of advice - take a full lap, maybe two, before you bust out your euros. Pricing here isn't one-size-fits-all because some stalls might just give you a better bang for your buck. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good deal?
15. Check out L'acquario di Genova (The Genoa "aquarium")
Diving into L'acquario di Genova with my crew, I felt like Jacques Cousteau on a budget. Not gonna lie, the price stung a bit; but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Manatees, seals, dolphins – each one making a grander appearance than the last. We wandered, slack-jawed, for a solid 4 hours. That's longer than I've spent at some rock concerts.
"Boring" is the antithesis of what this place is. It's a watery wonderland for anyone with even a smidgen of love for the marine world. The sheer array of colors, the dance of jellyfish, the steely gaze of sharks, and don’t get me started on the reptiles.
By the end, I felt like I'd taken a deep dive without even getting wet. We would have stayed longer, truly, but our legs were staging a rebellion. It's that captivating.
16. See a Live Show at Teatro Carlo Felice
Sure, I've been to theaters before, but this? Being inside the Carlo Felice Theater was like watching a play unfold in the middle of a historic Genoese square, framed by walls, and those quaint balconies adding a touch of realism. I half-expected Romeo to call out for Juliet from one of them.
The place is massive, and the acoustics? If a mosquito sneezed backstage, you'd probably hear it crystal clear in the balcony seats. And yeah, they've got this clever little trick with the design – it gives you just a peek, enough to catch the conductor's baton moves. We capped off our visit with "Dame de Paris", and the setting only amplified the performance.
17. Soak in the Wonders of Via Canneto il Lungo
Strolling through Porto Antico's maze, I stumbled upon via Canneto il Curto, spiraling into via Canneto il Lungo. These aren't your typical tourist-beaten paths. We're talking ancient alleys here, rich with the aura of tower-owning Genoese ancestors. You feel the ghost of history as you trace the course of what once were reeds lining the old city walls.
Dropping by some landmarks, I found myself at Drogheria Casaleggio, a store near Vico delle Erbe that screams 'history'. Right after, I bumped into the vintage charm of Antica Drogheria del Canneto and Caffè degli Specchi, and man, you should see the frescoed vault of Palazzo Spinola Serra. The street's buzzing with greengrocers (besagnin, as the Genoese would say), fishmongers, and an assortment of gems that make the heart of Genoa beat.
To get Genoa, you've got to be IN Genoa. Dive deep into its soul. Look up, and let the architectural wonders sink in. This alley's a bustling marketplace – from fish stalls, cosmopolitan hubs, age-old wonders, to posh eateries like Le Cantine Squarciafico. Oh, and speaking of posh, these alleys are peppered with swanky ateliers, too.
18. Stoll around the Truogoli di Santa Brigida
The Truogoli could easily outshine any other spot in Italy; just don't miss out on this diamond hiding in the university district. Transitioning from the city's hum, you suddenly find yourself in this tranquil alcove that's a shoutout to times gone by – it's almost like stepping into a sepia-toned snapshot.
Among Genoa's pockets frozen in time (ever heard of the Carmine neighborhood?), this spot's the real showstopper. Center stage? Those ancient public wash houses, exuding an ambiance that's like a whisper from bygone eras. It’s a scene straight from an old-world film reel.
19. Visit the FantaCinema - Mostra del Cinema Fantastico
Dive into the rabbit hole called FantaCinema, and what you get is a technicolor ride straight through the archives of cinema's most legendary moments. From the swagger of Top Gun to the heart-tugging strings of Disney classics, it's a trip down memory lane. I'm not one to lay it on thick, but for cinephiles craving the magic up close and personal? This is your Vatican.
20. Explore the Casa di Cristoforo Colombo
You might just walk right past it: a seemingly nondescript relic. It's only when you lean in that you're hit by the weight of history, packed into that deceptively humble space. It's allegedly where Christopher Columbus spent his formative years, but let me level with you: if you're expecting grandeur, you're in for a reality check.
The remnants are skeletal at best – a few stoic pillars, traces of walls, and the layout of what was once a surprisingly modest dwelling. But when I was standing there, there's a quiet thrill in thinking: "This? This is where one of the world's most polarizing adventurers once lived?" It's a tiny fragment of a colossal legacy, and, for the history buffs, it might be worth every minute you spend soaking it in.
21. Check out Casa del Boia (House of the Executioner)
The House of the Executioner, at the time of this review, is only open on select days with the price of admission being absolutely zero. It's guarded by the Balestrieri del Mandraccio, and, evident by their passion for the craft, they greet you right at the door, launching into tales that transport you straight to Genoa's medieval heyday.
Their fervor is infectious because every item, every artifact, has a story, recounted by these die-hard enthusiasts. For anyone with even a fleeting interest in medieval history, this place is essential viewing.
22. Explore Campopisano
Sauntering into Campopisano, just a short trek from Sarzana, I stumbled onto a slice of Genoa's aged soul. Greeted by a classic risseau – those meticulously laid Ligurian stones that speak louder than most – I was immediately ensnared by the ambiance. It's one of those places you scribble down in your little black book of travel 'must-dos.'
Now, for a brief history lesson, courtesy of yours truly. This spot sits just a stone's throw away from Genoa's medieval ramparts, accessible via the metro at the Sarzano/Sant'Agostino stop. The square's curious name? Well, it harks back to the Battle of Meloria.
Post that epic Genoese victory over Pisa – marking the curtain call for the Tuscan maritime powerhouse – they held about nine thousand Pisan prisoners right here. If you hailed from a loaded family, you could buy your way out. The not-so-lucky majority? They saw out their days confined here, ultimately finding their final resting place in the vicinity. It's a stark reminder of Italy's tumultuous days of city-state rivalries.
23. Experience Boccadasse
Ambling into Boccadasse, you're suddenly thrust into this tiny beach, with its timeworn charm, like a stubborn old photograph refusing to fade. It's as if the waves decided to halt time on these shores. And the restaurants are authentic with the azure backdrop of the sea tying it all together.
Make sure to stick around until dusk, and trust me, the ambiance goes from beautiful to absolutely transcendent. Getting there is a breeze, just hop on a bus from Piazza de Ferrari and you're dropped practically on the doorstep.
If you get hunger pang, the Trattoria delle Grazie and Trattoria da UGO served me some of the most memorable pesto I’ve ever had. And if you're up for a bit of a trek, the walk to Boccadasse might leave you a tad winded, but boy, the payoff is worth every step.
24. Stop by the Biblioteca De Amicis (De Amicis Library)
The De Amicis Library felt like striking gold, especially for someone with kids in tow – it's a revolution in how kids interact with learning. Nestled right in Genoa's heart with an enviable view of the Old Port, they’ve curated distinct zones that invite interaction in ways that traditional learning methods can't touch.
25. Make a Pilgrimage to Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello
Stepping into the Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello, I felt like I'd been thrown back in time into this ancient church, an underrated treasure trove, teeming with nuances you’d easily miss without a guide. I lucked out, scoring a volunteer who showed me through its winding cloisters and hallowed halls. With every corner turned, another revelation.
Now, I've been around, seen my fair share of churches, but this – this was something else. On my return visit, I was drawn, like a moth to a flame, to the Cristo Moro in the side chapel. Inside the loggia of the Annunciation, brace yourself, because the frescoes and the vault are a masterclass in artistry.
26. Go and Check Out Castello Mackenzie
The Castello Mackenzie is a swirling vortex of history and architectural ambition - Gino Coppedè’s magnum opus, and an ode to the Middle Ages, Gothic sensibilities, and Mannerism. Erected between 1893 and 1905 under the watchful eye of Coppedè, the castle bore the ambitions of Evan Mackenzie, a Scottish-born, Florentine-at-heart insurance magnate.
Coppedè had audaciously constructed it atop an 18th-century villa, preserving its soul but adding his own whimsical flourishes: towers, plaques, Guelph battlements, leaded windows – the works. The interiors were a wonderland, with artisan craftsmanship oozing from every beam and brick, and all of it birthed from Coppedè’s very own workshop.
The atrium alone could take your breath away: that gargantuan wrought iron gate, a fireplace large enough to step into, a marble Venus overseeing the realm, and a Carrara marble staircase flaunting chisel-decorations like badges of honor. The chapel is an exercise in Gothic reverence with Della Robbia stained glass and echoes of Beato Angelico. But then there's the eerily beautiful Castle caves, adorned with actual Postumia stalactites and reinforced with the grit of concrete.
27. Pop by Castello d'Albertis in Genoa Italy
I got to Castello d'Albertis hitching a ride on that free lift on via Balbi, an adventure of its own. The castle itself is a monument to wanderlust and unquenchable curiosity. Externally, the structure demanded admiration.
Internally, it became evident that Enrico D'Albertis wasn't your typical aristocrat – the guy was an insatiable globetrotter and every room felt like stepping into a different continent, a mosaic of memories from his adventures, from intricate pieces from China to keepsakes from the rugged terrains of Canada, the castle felt like a world tour in itself. The bonus was a sweeping view of Genoa port from the garden.
28. Stop off at Forte Sperone
Visiting Fort Sperone felt like I was ripped out of the urban hustle and plopped straight into a 17th-century postcard. Right there, a hop away from the heart of the city, and I'm wading through history – ensnared between ancient walls and bastions.
The real kicker is the view, with the vast expanse of Genoa lay sprawled beneath, kissing the sea. On a clear day, your eyes can feast from the Portofino promontory to the east, past Savona, all the way to hints of France. The sprawling port, the endless sea, it’s like nature's own IMAX. The hike, for me , was a walk in the park, really. Even if it leaves you huffing a bit, the panorama makes every step worth it.
29. Tour the Galeone Neptune
When I was aiming for Genoa's famous aquarium, something colossal caught my eye - the Galeone Neptune. It was crafted in a Tunisian shipyard back in 1986, and not for some extravagant sea lord, but for Roman Polanski's flick, “Pirates.” Then, as if to add another layer to its mythos, it served as a backdrop for a TV series about the real story behind Peter Pan.
But for years now, it's been anchored in Genoa's port, turning heads and probably inspiring a pirate dream or two. But here's my gripe: the ticket price. I get it, maintaining a ship-slash-movie-star isn't cheap. But with the throngs flocking to see it, maybe they could cut us landlubbers a break?
30. Venture to Scoglio dei Mille
Scoglio dei Mille is where the Italian nation's most pivotal moments kicked off. It's here – at this modest obelisk – that I truly felt the enormity of the "thousand's mission" cutting through all the historical chatter, there's no denying the ripple effect of that adventure on Italy's trajectory, symbolizing the dream of national unity. This place is an emotional sledgehammer if you're a sucker for tales of Italy's history like I am.
31. Check out the Villa Centurione Doria in Genoa Italy
If you’re in the mood for some cultural immersion mixed with a bit of nature, Villa Centurione Doria should be on your list because this grand villa is also home to a chunk of the Mu.Ma Museo del Mare. And the best part, in my opinion is that it's right next door to this lush green park – a respite from the city’s bustle.
As a pro tip for fellow explorers, don’t stop at just the Villa - try to make it a point to dive deep into the Naval museum inside – though, fair warning, some prime exhibits have been moved to the Sea Museum at the Old Port (at the time of this review). Finally, as you mosey on through the park, look north and you'll find the Church of San Martino, and trust me, that's worth the detour.
32. Swing by the Vico della Casana
Every time I touch down in Genoa, I find myself on this inevitable pilgrimage. Post my jaunts on Via San Vincenzo and Via XX Settembre, and having tipped my hat to Piazza De Ferrari, I can almost hear Vico della Casana beckoning me with its siren call. The alley is a whirlwind with shops packed like a can of sardines, those heavenly focaccia joints, a medley of restaurants, bars, and, oh man, that triperia.
Now, if you've got a thing for tripe, welcome to paradise. Whether you dive right into the ready-made delights or decide to DIY with a little guidance, you're in for a treat. I had this epiphany right here – fried tripe as an appetizer. Throw in some pesto, maybe toss it in a salad, and boom, you're on a flavor rollercoaster.
33. Stroll along the Via XX Settembre in Genoa Italy
My last hotel placed me smack dab in the middle of Via XX Settembre, where I felt like a kid in a candy store. I’d stride that street again and again, I mean, how could you not with its grand porticoes casting long, dramatic shadows and those spellbinding buildings? It's hard not to get caught in its gravitational pull.
And for anyone who's got a thing for Art Nouveau, this is your mecca because right on this very street is where you'll find the Ponete monumentale and the Hotel Genova Liberty, like twin guardians of an era long past. Stroll under those sprawling covered galleries, and you’ll find your gaze constantly being dragged down to those intricately designed mosaic floors, and then flitting upwards to the soaring facades – some of Europe’s finest Art Nouveau showcases. It's sensory overload in the best way possible.
34. Make Your Way to Via Giuseppe Garibaldi
My dear, fellow Italian travelers, if anyone ever tells you Genoa's just some port city, they're missing a boatload of what this place truly offers like that track on an album you didn't know you'd love till you hit play. Genoa has a history that's been marinated over centuries, and for me, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, formerly known as Via Nuova, is your front-row ticket to history and architecture, packed with jaw-dropping buildings like the Rosso, Bianco, and Tursi palaces.
35. Pay and a Visit and Explore the Palazzo San Giorgio in Genoa
Many years ago I had the wild opportunity to witness Genoa Italy firsthand during and booked a guided tour at Palazzo San Giorgio whose structure is now the HQ of Genoa's Port Authority. But trace its lineage, and you're looking at a building that once housed the bigwigs of the city because, back in the 13th century, it was the city hall's seat and when you flash forward a bit, it turned into the customs office, then got handed over to Banco di San Giorgio, hence the name.
One side of the palace throws you straight into medieval times with its exposed red bricks, gray stone base, and Ghibelline battlement, and when you flip to the other side, it's full-blown Renaissance vibes.
The frescoes by Raimondo Sirotti make it seem like it’s draped in marble, and the center has this remarkable polychrome painting of Saint George making mincemeat of a dragon. Flanking this are faux niches, housing bronze effigies of Genoa's big league players, from the maritime titan Andrea Doria to the ever-elusive Christopher Columbus.
36. Tour Musei di Strada Nuova - A World Heritage Site in Genoa Italy
Genoa is a city that just keeps on giving and one of its best treats is the Musei di Strada Nuova, a World Heritage Site no less. For my non-Italian-speaking companion, although the tickets (at the time of this review were fairly priced) she got a bit more bang for her buck by chucking in a few extra Euros for the audio guide.
The walls are practically dripping with art, showing off the once eye-watering wealth of Genoese families, the Brignole-Sali, in particular, and mama mia, talk about old money. There's also a section dedicated to the legend himself, Paganini with his guitars, and his violins – it's all there, preserved like the day he strummed and fiddled on them.
One beautiful morning we ventured into the Chiesa di San Siro in Genoa, which is smack in the heart of the Maddalena district. And from the outside, it gives you this restrained neoclassical vibe, but step in, and bam! – it's like walking into a baroque fever dream.
I've probably mentioned often, especially having lived in Italy on and off in both the northern and southern regions of the countyr, that I've been to my fair share of churches, but this church is dripping with golden glitz and art pieces that'd give The Louvre a run for its money.
While I was getting lost in all the stucco and gold, I stumbled upon this wild tale of San Siro, an OG bishop of Genoa, whose legend goes that this city was under siege, not by barbarians or pirates, but by a terrifying basilisk skulking in a well. And our (Saint) San Siro, with a wave of the cross and some divine swag, commanded the beast to hit the sea and never look back. Of course, the beast obeyed, because who wouldn't?
38. Go to and Ride the Furnicular Railway Principe - Granarolo, Genoa
We hopped on the Furnicular Railway Principe - Granarolo during a jaunt in Genoa and if you're thinking of some high-tech, shiny, modern transport, think again, because this is a nostalgia trip on rails.
Starting off in Principe, the journey is so close to the old buildings you can almost touch them, and then, as you ascend towards Granarolo, Genoa unfolds below - a sprawling cityscape stretching all the way to the glistening sea. Overall, it's a quick trip - about ten minutes with five pit stops along the way, but if you're in Genoa, this old-school ride of a moving museum is a must.
In the winding alleys of Genoa's historic heart, I journeyed to Chiesa di San Luca, a testament to the legacy of the Spinola family that was built sometime in the 1100s and given a Baroque facelift in the 17th century. This place has been in the Spinola family's grip since… well, what seems like forever, becasue, even now, it's managed by the Spinola Foundation, a modern echo of that ancient clan.
Its facade is nothing short of art - think time-worn elegance meets architectural brilliance, but, step inside, and you're hit with an even grander spectacle. Nestled behind the port, this wonderful gem of a (Church) Chiese might be easy to miss among Genoa's sprawling history.
40. Drop by for Some Mindfulness at Isola delle Chiatte
Along Genoa's ancient port, there's this little secret called Isola delle Chiatte which is a barge island, just past the Nave Italia. The place is the kind of spot where you'd want to sit back, maybe with someone special, and just… exist.
The city sprawls on one side, presenting a view that's kind of backwards for any local - from sea to mountains, instead of the other way round, and every once in a while, you can witness the towering presence of a cruise ship or the quiet grandeur of the sun dipping behind the horizon, painting the sky with shades you didn't even know existed.
41. Make a Pilgrimage to La Commenda di Pre in Genoa Italy
In Genoa, there's a place called La Commenda di Pre, a relic from a bygone era when weary pilgrims, on their way to the Holy Land, would seek refuge, a square meal, a moment's rest, and, perhaps, the kind of care you wouldn't expect from those times. Genoa is always revealing itself as city of contrasts, with the weight of antiquity pressed against the hum of an industrial maritime machine, and somewhere in between, you can catch the aroma of delectably affordable fish cooking in tucked-away restaurants.
The following are a list of Savoring Italy's most recommended places to stay based on our personal experiences over the years of traveling and dining throughout Genoa Italy:
Grand Hotel Savoia
We lodged at the Grand Hotel Savoia in Genoa one night- sounds fancy, doesn't it? The place is an absolute behemoth from the outside, dripping with that old-world majesty and when you stepping inside, it's like jumping headfirst into an opulent history book, every corner elegantly dressed to impress. My quarters where on the second floor, and let me paint you a picture: spacious, swanky, and so impeccably clean you could probably eat off the floor – not that you'd want to.
Hotel Bristol Palace in Genoa, Italy
The Hotel Bristol Palace in Genoa might as well have been lifted straight out of an old Hollywood film because its location is spot on, and when you step outside, you're walking directly into the pulsating heartbeats of Genoa. The staff have their courteous game down to an art form. Oh, and the beds, after a long day of touring one of my most favorite cities in Italy, is like crashing on a cloud.
Best Western Hotel Metropoli
We bunked down at the Best Western Hotel Metropoli in Genoa to catch the local Genoa "calcio" team play in a derby match against Sampdoria. That's soccer for the non-Italians. Nestled in the city's belly, this Best Western is tuned into the pulse of Genoa. I think we scored big-time here (pun intended) so that whenever I'm back in Genoa – and trust me, I'll be back – this spot's got my name on it.
The Meliá Genova doesn't mess around when it comes to comfort and I give their crew thee gold-standard because they're the type that'll jump through hoops to make sure you're set, day or night. The room was spotless and it's like they knew my back's been giving me grief, 'cause those mattresses and pillows were straight-up therapeutic.
And if you're wondering about breakfast, just picture this: fresh-off-the-tree fruits, a cheese spread that'd make a Frenchman weep, and enough savory and sweet options to derail any diet plan. Its location is prime real estate Genoa, right on one of the city's main arteries.
Hotel Nologo in Genoa Italy
If you plan on visiting Genoa, I recommend that you make the Hotel Nologo your little slice of Italian paradise. It's nestled right in the heartbeat of the city, and has all the essentials and then some including, get this, a terrace with a jacuzzi overlooking the cityscape, and a cozy breakfast nook equipped with a microwave for any late-night munchie urges. Regarding the staff, let me tell you, they treated me with a level of respect and care that even some ritzy 4-star joints often miss.
Hotel Villa Pagoda
Every so often, I find a gem in my travels, and Hotel Villa Pagoda in Genoa is one of those sparkling finds. I snagged a comfort room for a 1-night stint, and let me tell you, the space was both generous and spotless.
But beyond the room, it's the little things that amp up the experience, like the aesthetic charm of the hotel's common areas and the staff who all possess a fine blend of professionalism and warmth. And hey, they even toss you keys to a nifty little shortcut leading straight to the Anita Garibaldi promenade – a scenic route to the sea.
Hotel Astoria Genova
You ever just stumble into a place that, from the get-go, screams style and a certain je ne sais quoi? Enter Hotel Astoria in Genoa where I stayed for incredible three nights, and let's just say, it's strategically planted in a spot that's a hop, skip, and a jump away from Genoa’s storied historic centre.
But, to be honest, what really hit the home run was the bathroom (not always the greatest in Italy). It was like stepping into a shrine of elegance, complete with a big, beautiful window and a floor that probably deserves its own Instagram account.
Mercure Genova San Biagio
My most recent sojourn to Genoa brought me to the Mercure Genova San Biagio and from the get-go, you can tell you're stepping into a pocket of luxury, but what sets this place apart isn't just its splendor – it's the people. The staff here aren't just kind redefine the very meaning of hospitality because day or night, they're on their game, radiating a level of warmth and courtesy that you'd think they invented the concepts.
Let's talk breakfast, because I was feeling a little homesick for America, but holy smokes, they served me pancakes, fresh out of the griddle, with whole eggs, and yes, my fellow Americans, bacon too.
Best Western Hotel Moderno Verdi in Genoa Italy
We also stayed at the Best Western Hotel Moderno Verdi in Genoa, and if you're someone who hates long treks after getting off a train, this Italian hotel has got you covered. It's so close to the Brignole station, you’d think they shared a backyard, making it a perfect location for the urban traveler's dream. The room felt like a cocoon of coziness with everything I needed, from creature comforts to that feeling of 'I could live here for a week.'
Hotel De Ville in Genoa Italy
We crashed only one night at Genoa's Hotel De Ville which is perfectly planted, like you could toss a coin from your window and have it land in the Genoa Aquarium's donation box. Our room was spacious, sun-soaked, and built like a fortress against any stray sounds from the bustling city below, so let's just say that Hotel De Ville has snagged itself a regular.
Hotel Chopin in Genoa is an establishment that boasts two stars but frankly, feels like it's boxing well above its weight. Nestled just a casual stroll from the Piazza Principe station, Chopin sits like a gateway to the city's many allures. The rooms here are quiet, like a monk's retreat. It's also strategically located for the maritime types too and if you're looking to get up close with some fish, the Aquarium's just around the block.
The Best Restaurants in Genoa Italy (sandwich and gelato shops too!)
The following are several of Savoring Italy's favorite places to wine, dine, scoop up some of Genoa Italy's famous gelato and have a good time:
TrattoriaUgo has a charm, authenticity and kindness that's become rare. There's something about Genoese cuisine that when done right, it's otherworldly. The green fettuccine with pesto is a trip to heaven and back. For a place this genuine, the bill didn't leave me gasping for breath. To sum up: honest pricing, top-tier Italian grub, and an atmosphere that feels like home – what more do you need?
Ristorante Ondamarina in Genoa is no ordinary culinary pitstop. I've been to places that boasted of hospitality, but they've mastered the art of making you feel at home. Every time I've stepped into Onda, it's been consistently top-notch: fresh fish, and an ambience that teleports you straight to the seaside. For me it was the Scampi di Viareggio that completely stole the show and then it was rounded it off with grappa and limoncelli.
Il Masetto - Hamburgeria Nazional in Genoa Italy
As an American stumbling into Il Masetto - Hamburgeria Nazionale, I didn't expect much. Genoa, a city of maritime tales and pesto legends, isn't the first place that springs to mind for a killer burger, but damn, was I wrong. The lines can get crazy, giving New York deli queues a run for their money, but if patience isn't your virtue, trust me, here it pays off in mouthfuls of pure bliss.
Inside is quaint and if you're the gambling kind, you might score a stool, but for the less fortunate, the alleyways are your dining room. No frills, just the real deal — impeccable sandwiches without burning a hole in your pocket.
Antica Gelateria Amedeo
Antica Gelateria Amedeo, standing proud since 1927 is a tale worth its weight in gold. Imagine it - an ice cream shop that's seen nearly a century, with a view that could steal the show from any Mediterranean postcard. Boccadasse's backdrop feels almost criminal – it's too good.
For me, one of the gastronomic jackpots was Il Genovese. This isn't your run-of-the-mill, touristy trattoria, it's Genoa in a bite, and damn, it's authentic. The space is cozy but crafty with two floors and an al fresco seating for when the weather decides to play nice. And while tourists might flock here seeking Genoa's soul on a plate, it's equally a haven for the locals, because, let's be honest, the Genoese, like everyone else, loves a good meal without the frills or the fancy price tags.
Le Scuderie Dell'Astronauta
In my endless culinary adventures, I found myself at 'Le Scuderie Dell'Astronauta,' in Genoa Italy, thanks to a hot tip from my hotel. For dinner I had a knockout dish - the Cappon magro - we're talking a parade of five fish varieties, teamed up with steamed veggies.The owners were gold, the kind of folks who make it their mission to ensure you're having a good time, but without hovering like some culinary helicopter.
Roast 'n Roll
So, I've had my share of sandwiches, some good, some forgettable, but when I stumbled upon Roast 'n Roll in Genoa it gave me an artisanal roast beef experience that left me wondering: can a sandwich be transcendent? Even if you're living that vegan life, consider this a challenge just once, for the sake of flavor enlightenment, try this masterpiece out. And to all you tourists sifting through endless reviews, agonizing over where to grab a quick bite in Genoa, let me make it easy for you: Roast and Roll will be a revelation.
U gelato du caruggiu in Genoa Italy
In my relentless journey for flavor, I found myself getting lost in Genoa's maze-like alleys and onto the sort of place where you might expect some ancient wisdom, but what I got? Ice cream at U gelato du caruggiu - a hole-in-the-wall that's immaculately clean, and where every scoop is a testament to quality.
Pizzeria La Spiga D'Oro da Spadino
Navigating the pizza scene in Genoa, I stumbled into Pizzeria La Spiga D'Oro da Spadino with a buddy. I've had pizzas, lots of them, but this arrived at warp speed and didn't skimp on size or toppings. It's a well-oiled machine in there, but what impresses more than the efficiency is the warmth.
Creuza de ma
In the tucked-away haven of Boccadasse, I discovered Creuza de ma with a view that made my heart skip. Let's talk fish - fresh, impeccably cooked. The food was on-point: generous servings and seriously delicious. When they gently suggest you might be over-ordering, trust them. Price-wise, it's spot on for what you're getting.
Panino Marino in Genoa Italy
Hitting Genoa's Port area, right by the famed Aquarium and those historic arcades, I went to this little nook named Panino Marino. It's cozy with a dash of street side romance - you can pick a spot inside, or do the alfresco thing outside. The tuna tartare sandwich is a revelation, and add to the mix, a crew that treats you right, and prices that won't have you reaching for antacids.
Romeo Viganotti Gelateria
Roaming Genoa's streets, I bumped into this gelato gem called Romeo Viganotti Gelateria and from the get-go, it oozed an old-world vibe that pulled me right in. But a heads up for those walking the gluten-free or lactose-free tightrope: tread carefully. As for me, I plunged into a combo of apricot-meets-rosemary and apple dancing with bergamot - it's like my taste buds went on a blind date and found true love.
20 Tre exudes a warm welcome with a side of "we-know-our-stuff." When they suggested a Ligurian rosé, I was skeptical but wow, it's like they read my palate's diary. The food's like an avant-garde painting - familiar but pushing boundaries. Case in point: veal with tuna sauce going on a culinary experiment with onion ice cream. And those taglierini? Tomato water, prawn tartare, stracciatella – sounds bizarre but tasted like heaven. Quail, desserts, the whole shebang – top-notch. Given the symphony they served up, the bill felt like buying a Picasso at a yard sale.
Rooster Streetfood Rotisserie
Rooster Streetfood Rotisserie in Genoa has that buzzing, youthful vibe with gnaw-worthy chicken, served either on a bench (if you're looking to linger) or wrapped up (if you're on-the-go). I mean, who knew tucked away in a side street off Via xx Settembre, you'd strike gold with these chicken sandwiches? Think of it as a gastronomic rabbit hole for those who can't afford another prolonged, overpriced lunch. This place is your culinary speedboat in a sea of rowboats.
Gelateria Capriccio in Genoa Italy
You know me, always on the hunt for the odd and the outlandish, so when I spot this little ice cream place, Gelateria Capriccio, right near Porta Soprana, it's like fate's flashing its neon sign. Two flavors jump out at me: rose and basil sorbet. Who does that? I'm all in. They're also rolling with the Italian classics, too, from the deep embrace of Modica chocolate to the cool thrill of stracciatella, they've got the gamut.
Some of my personal recommendations for when you are traveling to Italy:
If you are planning on renting a car in Italy, it is important to do your research beforehand. There are several rental companies that offer competitive rates and good customer service. I recommend this car rental service.
If you are looking for a reliable travel insurance company, I would reccomend World Nomads Travel Insurance.
If you are looking to find a budget-friendly or even more luxury places to stay, I recommend Booking.com. My second favorite option is Airbnb.
On my Amazon storefront I also have a travel essentials section where I list everything you should pack with you for your next Italian vacation!
Is Genoa Italy Worth Visiting?
Yes! Genoa is a must visit Italian location. Look, if you're scrolling through Italian destinations and thumbing past Genoa, you're missing out on a trip wired with surprises. Genoa's been through the ringer and come out with a chip on its shoulder, blending its gritty historical roots with this unapologetic modern swagger.
Renzo Piano didn’t just throw up some structures around the ancient port; he gave the city a facelift that now stands cheek by jowl with Europe's biggest UNESCO-stamped historic center.
But Genoa doesn’t stop at dazzling you with its buildings. Oh no. Expect your jaw to drop at the vistas, your pulse to race on the trails, and your soul to get a little groove from its musical past. And when it's time to eat? That Genoese cuisine will hit you with flavors you didn’t even know existed.
Italy is famous for many things, but Genoa stands out as its own rebellious masterpiece. Looming above its waterfront, the Old Port throws shade with audacious views, dominated by the silhouettes of the Bigo and the Lanterna—structures that make the Pisa Tower look like a kid's Lego project.
Choosing between Genoa and Portofino is like picking between a rock concert and a private serenade. Craving the relentless energy of a city that's been around the block, with tales as tall as its historic buildings, and a nightlife as vibrant as its graffiti? Genoa's your jam. But if your idea of paradise is more about sipping a posh cocktail while gazing at yachts that make the Titanic seem like a toy boat, all in the lap of coastal luxury and an ambiance so laid-back it's practically horizontal, then Portofino is your ritzy hideaway.
Here's a linguistic twist in the age-old battle of Italy versus the Anglosphere. "Genova," with its sultry 'v,' is how the Italians refer to their famed port city, letting it roll off their tongues like a fine Barolo wine. Flip the channel to the English-speaking world, and suddenly, it's "Genoa" — a sharper, business-like term that feels like a double espresso shot. Same city, same glorious maritime past in the Liguria region, but a linguistic dance of romance versus efficiency. Which name you use? Well, it’s less about geography and more about the soundtrack playing in the background.