That changed in 2004 with its nomination as European Capital of Culture and a revitalisation of the city is now leading visitors to discover one of Europe’s finest medieval old towns.
Cruise ships dock at the marine terminal close to the charming Porto Antico which, in turn, is a 10- to 20-minute walk from the historic centre of Genoa.
Once a maritime super power to rival Venice, Genoa has always retained its status as one of Italy’s most important ports, but has long languished as a tourist destination.
The medieval district holds many architectural treasures, museums, galleries and one of the biggest aquariums in Europe. Stroll through the Porta Soprana (the old stone entrance gate to the city) and the Piazza de Ferrari, with its Opera House and Palace of the Doges. Explore the , where many of the city’s richest inhabitants resided, is a beautiful World Heritage listed avenue, with many palazzi converted to international class art galleries.
If you have a little more time, take a bus or taxi to the famous nearby resort of Portofino.
• Cathedral of San Lorenzo
• Acuario di Genova (Aquarium): Featuring over 70 state-of-the-art tanks.
• Palazzo Bianco: Including paintings by Van Dyck and Rubens.
• Palazzo Rosso housing works by Titian, Caravaggio and Dürer.
• Museo dell’Architectura
• Church of Sant’Agostino: Famous for its frescoes.
• Galata Museum of the Sea: The largest maritime history museum in the Mediterranean.
Palazzina Santa Maria, Genoa, Italy
Tel: +39 01024 8711.
Clothes, leather goods including shoes and bags, local foodstuffs (such as pesto, olive oil, vinegar, and cheese), wine, painted ceramics, lacework, glassware, filigree and antiques are all good buys. Beware that Italy is known for its skilled imitations of antiques, although there are also many genuine items on sale.
Pesto (sauce made of basil, garlic, pine nuts and pecorino cheese, usually served with pasta), cima genovese (cold veal stuffed with calves’ brains, onions and herbs) and pandolce (sweet cake with orange flavour) are all unmissable local delicacies.
When to go:
Genoa has a typical Mediterranean climate – hot in the summer, mild in the winter. It never gets too crowded.
4km (2.5 miles).
10-20 minutes walk from the port of Porto Antico.