Genoa city guide: What to do, best hotels, restaurants and shops

The house of pesto and Christopher Columbus, Genoa is usually bypassed in favour of Instagram-magnet Cinque Terre or fashionista’s-choice Milan. Which is a disgrace, as a result of to overlook this good-looking ort is to overlook out on considered one of Italy’s most inexpensive, low-key, local-vibes cities.

Genoa’s major enchantment is that it feels 100 per cent Genovese, slightly than overrun with fellow vacationers. When you get misplaced in its hypnotic maze ofnarrow caruggi alleyways, you’ll spot superb Renaissance palaces alongside the angular fashionable creations of Genoa’s second most celebrated son, Renzo Piano; and from farinata to focaccia, you’ll get to attempt a few of Italy’s finest avenue meals. Ugly but lovely, like all fantastically atmospheric port cities, it’s a metropolis whose gnarled magnificence grows on you.

What to do

Stroll the historic centre

Nothing fairly prepares you for the darkish labyrinth of slim streets that criss-cross the previous city of Genoa – a neighbourhood which Henry James known as “probably the most entangled topographical ravel on this planet.” It’s dense, however ducking down these caruggi is the easiest way to get into the rhythm of this port metropolis, dodging scooters, catching a waft of freshly-ground pesto from a trattoria, or soaking within the odor of spices from the Bangladeshi grocery shops. Begin on the Twelfth-century metropolis gates, Porta Soprana, east of Centro Storico, believed to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Then snake your technique to the principle sq., Piazza de Ferrari, with its grand bronze fountain.

Your subsequent cease is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, with its ornate gray and white marble facade, harking back to Florence’s Duomo. Inside, you’ll discover the alleged stays of John the Baptist and in addition an unexploded World Warfare II bomb from 1941. To complete off, for the value of a single ticket ( €1.50) hop on one of many metropolis’s historic funiculars to get a improbable panoramic view of the town’s harbour and skyline.

Peek at grand palazzos

Get an concept of the dimensions of Genoa’s maritime affect and historic wealth by taking a stroll alongside the Strade Nuove (new streets), the place the town’s richest retailers, bankers and ship homeowners constructed a strip of ornate palaces – 42 to be exact. These are actually designated Unesco World Heritage Websites. Should you solely have time to go to one, make it Palazzo Ducale, the previous residence of the Doges. Right this moment, it’s crucial cultural and occasions venue on the town. Rotating exhibitions inside give guests an opportunity to glimpse the luxurious interiors – subsequent up is a present on graphic artist M.C. Escher, working from September 2021 to February 2022. Should you’ve time for 2, head for the Thirteenth-century Grimaldina Palace, for the sweeping view from its tower.

Seaside sightseeing

A improbable tribute to Genoa’s shut relationship with the ocean, the town aquarium (€27 for adults, €23 diminished, €19 for youths aged 4-12.) is the most important in Europe and an undoubted spotlight of visiting the town. Attracting over half 1,000,000 guests a yr,  the aquarium’s staggering 70 tanks recreate the marine and terrestrial habitat of greater than 6000 animals belonging to 600 various kinds of species. If you wish to know extra about Genoa’s seafaring historical past, pop subsequent door to the Galata Museo Del Mare (adults €17, baby €12) the place you’ll discover a wide range of hands-on excessive tech displays. You’ll study every thing there may be to learn about Genoa’s favorite explorer, Columbus, and get to take a look at the within of the S518 Nazario Sauro submarine.

Pesto genovese is the highest speciality on the town

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

The place to eat

Don’t follow the usual pizzas and pastas – there are numerous native Genovese dishes that guests overlook. Within the house of the nutty, basil-packed purée, Pesto Genovese is a should, served with a brief, twisted pasta known as trofie. A great place to do this is its namesake trattoria: Sa Pesta, a no-frills previous trattoria positioned in Genoa’s previous metropolis district.

One other typical Genovese delicacy it’s important to pattern in Genoa is focaccia, freshly baked bread sometimes rolled out or pressed by hand right into a thick layer of dough after which baked in a stone-bottom oven. Foccacia is every thing to the Genovese: they dip it of their cappuccino, snack it at work or take pleasure in with a glass of wine throughout aperitivo hour. You possibly can pattern it at a bakery, bar or sciamadda. My tip is Pasticceria Priano, to the west of the town – their focaccia is wafer-thin and crispy, sprinkled with maize flour for additional flavour. 

At Antica Sciamadda (14 By way of S. Giorgio. +39 010 246 8516 ) savour one other Genovese speciality, farinata di ceci. Skinny and completely baked of their wooden fired oven, this chickpea pancake simply melts in your mouth. Your final cease is the opening within the wall Antica Friggitoria Carega ( 113 By way of di Sottoripa, +39 010 247 0617 ) by the Porto Antico, for friggitoria – a form of a pick-and-mix of fried seafood snacks together with fried calamari, octopus, shrimps and anchovies.

The place to drink

Kick off your night in type with an area favorite asinello, higher referred to as corochinato – a fortified wine from Genova, flavoured with an intriguing mixture of 16 herbs and spices together with two kinds of absinthe, cinchona bark and rhubarb. The place to sip it’s Bar Degli Asinelli (78 By way of di Canneto Il Lungo, +39 010 246 8703) the place it’s served chilled, with a slice of lemon (€1.50) and a beneficiant basket of focaccia.

One night ought to be devoted to the traditional northern Italian custom of aperitivo – at round 5-7pm, locals take to the wine bars for a wine or beer, and get a beneficiant portion of free finger meals thrown in – assume a mini-buffet of cheeses, salami, and focaccia served together with your drink. Bar Delle Vigne (4 Vico dell’Amor Perfetto, +39 010 255828) within the Centro Storico does among the finest spreads.

One other traditional native wine bar is Paul Vineria Genova (36 By way of di Canneto Il Curto, +39 010 246 8708), the place glasses of wine begin from a mere €1 a pour. Attempt their “Chardonnay Frizz”, a barely fizzy white wine from the Veneto area, served by the stunning, heat homeowners.

Earlier than sundown, pop over to the pastel-painted fishing village of Boccadasse, on the outskirts of Genoa. La Strambata (5 Piazza Nettuno, +39 010 869 7002 ) does an incredible aperitivo on a terrace dealing with the village’s pebble seaside, trimmed by moored fishing boats. Afterwards, Antica Gelateria Amedeo is the place to go for a gelato or frozen yoghurt.

Boccadasse village at golden hour

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

The place to buy

Time stands nonetheless within the medieval coronary heart of Genoa, the biggest in Europe the place you stroll again in time at locations like Italy’s oldest artisan confectioner,  Antica Confetteria Pietro Romanengo. Making sweets since 1780, they use conventional Genoese recipes that originated from the Far East to fulfill the locals’ candy tooth – attempt the candied fruit, bonbons and preserves. For scrumptious pastries and the perfect cappuccino on the town keep within the previous quarter and go to Fratelli Klainguti, a bar and pasticceria courting again to 1826, which counts Giuseppe Verdi and Garibaldi as its patrons.

Do go to By way of XX Settembre, considered one of Genoa’s major procuring arteries, the place you can see all of the worldwide and native manufacturers in addition to the town’s finest market,  MOG Mercato Orientale. Like all good meals markets, it’s a correct whirlwind of color, scents and scrumptious flavours. Sniff out pungent truffles (white and black) in addition to pecorino cheese, recent fish, handmade pasta and freshly made genovese pesto – nice in the event you’re self catering. There’s additionally a meals court docket and bar, and cooking courses on supply.

Should you’re fascinating in design and distinctive reward concepts, attempt Temide, a store which promotes native Ligurian artists. You’ll discover every thing right here from work and classic clothes to handmade jewelry and ceramic sculptures.

The place to remain

A real grand dame of the Belle Epoque period, the Grand Resort Savoia is decked out with Murano-glass chandeliers, marble flooring and luxurious furnishings – a throwback to the golden age of transatlantic journey. Constructed by Federico Fiorino in 1897, the lodge exudes historical past and luxurious from each nook and cranny. There’s a rooftop terrace with 360-degree views and an opulent basement spa. Rooms value from £112 an evening. grandhotelsavoiagenova.it

Subsequent door to the Savoia, and in shut proximity to the railway station and harbour, the four-star Resort Continental is housed in a historic nineteenth century constructing however enjoys the consolation of contemporary interiors. The rooms with gleaming parquet flooring are tastefully embellished to replicate the Genoese type, with nods to the maritime historical past of the city. The breakfast buffet is improbable right here replete with heat, flaky croissants, recent fruit and cheeses. hotelcontinentalgenova.it

Anticipate plenty of foccacia alongside the way in which

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

Genoa’s latest design hostel, Ostello Bello Genova, is simply throughout the highway from the Continental. Consistent with its harbour-adjacent location, it has a unusual maritime theme all through the constructing. The spotlight is a big out of doors terrace with a barbecue nook, and loads of hammocks to sink into, with a ebook. The bottom ground bar is open all day and night time, the place you may eat limitless free focaccia and save money by utilizing its self-service communal kitchen. Select from dorms or non-public ensuite rooms – a choose few privates include their very own out of doors terrace – ask upfront. Costs begin from £18 an evening for a mattress in a dorm or £45 for a double ensuite room. ostellobello.com/hostel/ostello-bello-genova

Nuts and bolts

What forex do they use?

The Euro.

What language do they converse?

Italian is probably the most generally spoken language. English and French are additionally spoken.

How a lot ought to I tip?

Tipping isn’t at all times anticipated aside from distinctive service. A tip of 10-15% is taken into account acceptable.

What’s the time distinction?

Genoa is one hour forward of the UK.

How ought to I get round?

Genoa has a wonderful public transportation system together with rail strains, buses, water buses, cable automobiles, public elevators and a brief underground line run by AMT.

What’s the perfect view?

Within the Castelletto residential quarter, you’ll discover the elevated platform of Spianata Castelletto. The walkway and platform have dazzling views of Genoa’s brick rooftops and the not-too-distant harbour. Spy on the boats and ships, wafting out and in of the harbour, or go at night time to see a glimmering blanket of metropolis lights.

Insider tip?

For a day journey, the village of Camogli is gorgeous, with a good seaside. It’s simply accessible by native regional prepare from Genoa (€3.60 a method) – or there are boat providers from Genoa to Portofino and Cinque Terre – ask your lodge or hostel reception about reserving tickets.

Getting there

Making an attempt to fly much less?

You will get from the UK to Genoa completely by prepare in round 12 hours: take the Eurostar from London to Paris, then swap to Gare de Lyon for a direct TGV service to Turin’s Torino Porta Susa station. From right here, switch throughout to Torino Lingotto, and take the native Re prepare on to Genova Brignole station in Genoa.

Positive with flying?

Ryanair flies to Genoa from London Stansted.


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