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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

Genoa - one of the most underrated cities of Italy

Updated: Mar 17

Genoa is one of the Italian cities that I didn't have much information about and that I didn't think I would visit anytime soon. I only knew that it has nothing in common with Geneva, only the similar name and I was always careful not to confuse them when I say mention any of them.


I was going to be interested in finding out more information when I got a trip to this city as a gift for my birthday. I have to admit that I didn't have much expectation from this location, especially since what is worth visiting can be organized in one day. I was very surprised by the beauty of the architecture of the place, the cleanliness and the absolutely gorgeous views. Genoa is definitely one of the most beautiful cities I've visited and I think it deserves a bit more popularity than Milan, which is overrun with tourists and which, from my point of view, is not even half as beautiful.


We had three days to explore this city and the neibourhood. We chose to allocate only two days to Genoa and to spend one day in Portofino, where we arrived very easily by public transport. If I could turn back time, I would allocate only one day to Genoa, and the rest of the time I would choose one-day trips to nearby towns. From Genoa you can reach the towns of Cinque Terre, Portofino, or even Pisa.



HOW TO GET TO GENOA


Genoa has its own airport on which are operated international flights.


Once you arrive on Genoa airport, to get to the city there is a bus that goes to the train station. The station is right in front of the airport, and the return station is in front of the train station. The ticket costs 6 euros/person.


If you don't want to complicate things with public transport, or maybe you're landing at night, there is the option of booking a private transfer. Reservations here.


WHERE TO STAY IN GENOA


Below, I leave some accommodation options in Genoa, which have great ratings on Booking:


Bigo Guest House - accommodation in a double room, with classic-vintage Italian furniture. It has parking, air conditioning and internet included in the reservation price;


B&B Fossatello affittacamere - accommodation unit located near the center, which has both double and triple room option;


Hotel Astoria, located in the city center, with modern furnished rooms. It has a fitness room and room service. Parking and internet are included in the price of the reservation. Pets are accepted at this location;


Genoa Suite Art, - apartment type accommodation unit with parking and internet included in the booking price, located near the port.


B&B DORMIRE DAI GRIMALDI - accommodation unit located near the center, with double rooms, parking and internet;



WHERE TO EAT IN GENOA


Genoa is one of those cities where restaurants seem to hide, especially those that serve good food. I recommend that you have a proper research before arriving in this city and look for the restaurants that serve the food you want.


Although I usually avoid giving names of restaurants, the main reason being that I'm a bit strange when it comes to food, but I'll make an exception and mention some of the most recommended restaurants by the locals: Mangiabuono, Vico Vegetti and Trattoria Archivolto Mongiardino.


PLACES TO VISIT IN GENOA


Piazza Ferarri is one of the most famous squares of the city. It is considered the center of the city, and in the middle of the impressive row of buildings is a simple but beautiful artesian fountain. The name of the market comes from the Italian politician and banker Rafaelle de Ferrari. It was built starting in 1899 and was completed 84 years later, in 1983.


Piazza Ferarri is one of the most famous squares of Genoa, Italy


Via Giuseppe Garibaldi is one of the most famous streets in the historic center of Genoa. It is known for its magnificent houses, which during the Renaissance represented the palaces of aristocrats. Here you can admire the special architectural details of the buildings: Palazzo Cambiaso Pallavicini, Palazzo Spinola Gambaro, Palazzo Lercari-Parodi, Palazzo Carrega-Cataldi, Palazzo Angelo Giovanni Spinola and many others. All the palaces on this street are truly impressive and if I had to recommend only one place to see in this city, it would be this street, which looks like an impressive exhibition of buildings.


San Lorenzo Cathedral, is dedicated to Saint Lavrentie (Saint Lawrence), who died in the place where the cathedral is located. It was built in the medieval period, but over time certain structures were added and modified and some elements were added. The relics of St. John the Baptist are kept in this cathedral.


Boccadesse beach, located in the eastern part of the city, I would say a little outside Genoa, is one of the beaches that make you think of the Cinque Terre. The colorful houses, located on a small hill by the sea, are definitely the attraction of the place.


occadesse beach, located in the eastern part of the city, I would say a little outside Genoa

Porta Soprana was one of the entrances to Genoa in the medieval period. In the 12th century, protective walls were built to protect the city, then the Republic of Genoa, from the expansionist desires of Frederick Barbarossa. Nowadays, near this gate you can admire the ruins of a church, the so-called Chiostro di Sant' Andrea. In the immediate vicinity is the house where Christopher Columbus was born.


Porta Soprana was one of the entrances to Genoa in the medieval period.

Spianata di Casteletto is one of the places where you can admire Genoa from above. From here you can see part of the city, but also the port. The Casteletto fortress was built in this place, which existed until 1849. To climb more easily to this viewpoint, you can use one of the free elevators in Piazza Portello.


Spianata di Casteletto is one of the places where you can admire Genoa from above

Castello d'Albertis, which in the past was the residence of a ship captain, was donated to the city after the death of the owner. Nowadays it is the headquarters for the Museum of World Cultures. In this museum you can admire collectible furniture and objects collected by the captain and his wife during their lifetime.


Vascello Neptune is a boat that very well imitates the Spanish Galleon boat from the 17th century. It was built to be used as a filming location for the movie "Pirates" from 1985. It is located in the port, near the aquarium and can be admired both from the outside and from the inside. The price of the ticket to visit is 6 euros/person.


The aquarium, which is the largest in Italy, with 71 fish tanks and over 600 species of fish. In general, it is quite crowded, and quite long queues tend to form at the entrance and at the ticket counter. I recommend buying the tickets online. You can book here.


Chiesa del Gesu, a beautiful little church, located near Piazza de Ferarri. I discovered it by chance and was impressed by its interior.

Chiesa del Gesu, a beautiful little church, located near Piazza de Ferarri. Genoa

Palazzo Reale is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Italy. Built in the 17th century, it has had several owners over time, currently being administered by the state. It can be visited inside and I recommend putting it on the list, because it is truly spectacular.


Galata Museo del Mare, is a maritime museum, considered the largest museum of this type, at the Mediterranean Sea. Here you can also visit the Nazario Sauro submarine.


If you want to take a tour of the city and see most places of the main streets, with the most beautiful buildings, you can opt for a convertible bus tour. ticket here.


To visit the tourist attractions and not to pay a separate ticket for each place visited, there is the option of purchasing a collective ticket, with access to several locations and public transport. You can choose the 24, 48 or 72 hour option. Reservations here.



DAY TRIPS FROM GENOA:


- Day trip to Portofino. I am convinced that the name of this city is not foreign to you. It is considered one of the most luxurious places in Italy and if you want to visit it without greatly affecting your budget, you can opt for a trip from Genoa, without having to book accommodation in Portofino. It can be reached both by public transport (train and then bus), or if you book a boat trip. I recommend the latter, both because you don't have to worry about public transport, and above all, because you can admire the entire coast from the sea. Bookings here.


- Day trip by boat to Camogli, San Fruttuoso and Portofino, bookings here;


- Boat trip to admire the dolphins, bookings here;



CONCLUSIONS ABOUT GENOA:


Genoa was a pleasant surprise for me. That's probably how it should be most of the time. To let yourself surprised by the beauty of a place and don't have too high expectations before you get to visit it. Italy is in the top of the favorite countries when it comes to traveling, and Genoa could not make an abstraction, being even neater and cleaner than other places I visited in this country. Obviously, as in every big city, there are less beautiful areas, but we must always take what is most beautiful.


For more travel destinations, photos and vlogs, you can follow me on Instagram and you can subscribe to my Youtube channel.


Read also about other locations to visit in Europe: Pompeii, Fiordo di Furore Beach, hiking in Tenerife, Durdle Door Beach, England, or Frankfurt.


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