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Genoa Travel Guide, Italy

Genoa is the main seaport of Northwestern Italy  and is located in the Ligurian region. It is the gateway to the Italian Riviera and a lively city, rich in history and cultural activity.

An ancient city, Genoa was first settled by the Ligures, an early tribe, somewhere around 7000 BC and the Etruscans are recorded as having used the port in these times. The cemetery attests to the presence of Greeks in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. It is thought that the Phoenicians also frequented the ancient port of Genoa. The city witnessed the Roman and Byzantine Empires and several kingdoms. It was always an important port on the Mediterranean. The rich history and maritime heritage of Genoa make it an interesting port for modern day travelers to visit.

The cultural core of Genoa is formed by the complex of the Opera, Christopher Columbus’ birth place and the Palace of the Dodges that occupy the Piazza de Ferrari. Part of the old city was added to the World Heritage List, The Strada Nuova.

In general, the old city was built in the mid-16th century around the Mannerist palaces, the Palazzos Rosso, Bianco, Grimaldi and Reale which housed Genoa’s prominent families. Several of these are now museums and two art colleges are also located here, the Musei di Strada Nuova and the Palazzo del Principe. There are many other ancient sites of interest, including cemetery of Staglieno, which boasts many statues by famous sculptors and the Museo d'Arte Orientale, among the largest collections of Asian art.

There are also many noteworthy churches and cathedrals throughout this city and the architect Enzo Piano has remade the Old Harbor, or Porto Antico into a shopping and recreation mall. There is a modern aquarium located nearby and the port is also the site of the oldest working lighthouse in the world, called La Lanterna.

 As a seaport, Genoa has ferries arriving and departing to and from Sardinia, Nice, Corsica and many other Mediterranean ports. There is a train station with connections throughout Europe. Major highways lead to Genoa but the city streets are a bit of a maze for drivers who are unfamiliar with the city, and both one way and pedestrian streets complicate driving.

Restaurants and cafes abound in Genoa, mostly serving Ligurian or Piedmontese cuisine, Northern Italian in nature, with fresh seafood and risottos being the main offerings, along with pastas and wild game during the season. Hotels range from hostels to 5 star and cafes offer fine espresso virtually any time of the day.

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Genoa City Ratings

  • Rating61%
    City Rank288
  • History & Culture: rated for 70%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 60%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 40%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 40%
  • Food: rated for 80%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 60%
  • Shopping: rated for 70%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 70%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 60%
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