Who can suggest you what to see in Genoa better than those born there, do you live it every day but above all love it immensely?
Because Genoa is much more than what is often described: the truth is that Genoa, to really know it, it should be lived in each of its small alleys.
I would talk about my city for hours. I would like to talk to you about its people, so "closed" to the strangers, but with so much desire to open up to the world; I would like to tell you about its history, when the Genoese sailed the seas with their boats; I would like to tell you about his famous people, from Christopher Columbus to De André, but I can't do it in the limited space of a blog.
I'll just tell you: try to see Genoa not as a tourist, but with the eyes of someone who was born there (like me) and, above all, try to live it as much as you can.
This city, as intricate and particular as its alleys are, has an important history, distant in time and engraved in the hearts of its inhabitants.
Are you ready to leave for the Superba? Below I will list you 25 things to see (and do!) In Genoa (but you also find the 26th that I hid at the bottom of this post), absolutely unmissable places and traditions!
I have drawn you a list that, if you want, can become a real itinerary of discovery and tourism.
PRO TIP: if you decide to visit Genoa, a fantastic idea to save money is there GENOA MUSEUM CARD: you yes free access to 25 museums (including the main ones in the city), free and unlimited transport on public transport and other discounts!
⇒ Click here to find out more
Let's start together then but first you need to know that we call her Zena !!!
Read mine too itinerary of what to see in Genoa in one day with map and downloadable PDF!
1 - The Old Port
Il Old Port of Genoa, completely redesigned in the nineties of the twentieth century, is an area of the port of the city revisited as a tourist and residential district.
Over the years it has become a real point of reference for citizens and tourists, venue for events and demonstrations.
Inside the Porto Antico area you can:
- Enjoy a splendid view of the Lantern, the symbol of the city;
get on and off the Bigo lift, a modern monument designed by Renzo Piano, and admire the view;
- Visit the Biosphere and the Aquarium, which I will talk to you about shortly (⇒ remember buy your ticket online first);
- To observe Port Siberia, part of the old sixteenth-century walls of the city;
- Have fun in the accommodation facilities (cinemas, restaurants, play areas) of the Cotton Warehouses;
- Shopping and take a look at the beautiful boats moored along the seaside promenade.
2 - The Aquarium and the Biosphere
THEGenova's aquarium, which you will find right in the Porto Antico area, it is the largest aquarium in Europe and is home to about 6.000 marine specimens of over 600 species. It is a fascinating and unique exhibition area, made even more special by the splendid pool dedicated to dolphins.
Read my post here on what to see at the Genoa aquarium!
Inside the Genoa Aquarium, you can not only visit the many marine species that populate it but also participate in events, educational moments and shows.
Still in the Porto Antico area, you will come across a gigantic exhibition balloon: the Biosphere, a glass and steel sphere, placed right in front of the Aquarium.
Inside this sphere, a large number of tropical animal and plant beings live undisturbed, thanks to the climate created specifically inside the large balloon.
Also designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano, was inaugurated in 2001 on the occasion of the G8 summit held in the city.
On the official website HERE you will find many tickets online: there are various combinations, you can choose only the aquarium, the aquarium and the biosphere, only the biosphere etc etc .. if you come on the weekend or in high season buy the tickets first ... the queues at the ticket office could be kilometers long!
You can buy HERE the AQUARIUM + WHALE WATCHING tour -> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
3 - Galata Museum of the Sea and the Submarine
The Porto Antico still reserves a couple of pleasant surprises for you to visit!
Il Galata Museum of the Sea it is the largest museum dedicated to the sea in the entire Mediterranean area and with the highest standards of modernity.
Five exhibition floors which tell the story of Genoa, the Marine Republic and Christopher Columbus, equipment and arsenals, but which also tell of distant places and overseas.
Overlooking the entire exhibition space, one splendid terrace overlooking the city.
In front of the Galata Museo del Mare, on the stretch of water in front of it, there is another museum that I recommend you visit, but this time it is a floating exhibition space: the submarine Nazario Sauro, a real "extension" of the Galata, suggestive and fascinating.
Here you find the ONLINE TICKET FOR THE GALATA MUSEUM OF THE SEA: if you come on the weekend or in high season, please buy it first!
4 - The alleys and the Church of the Annunziata
After visiting the Porto Antico and its many attractions, you could continue your Genoese excursion by going into the so famous “carruggi“.
Directly from square Loading, you can visit Piazza Banchi, via San Luca and immerse yourself in the famous alleys sung by De André. Continuing towards Piazza Fossatello, you will reach Via del Campo and immerse yourself in the Italian songwriting will be a moment!
Visit the old shops, savor the atmosphere of the past, enter an oven and enjoy a "slerfa" (piece, ed) of focaccia: it will take very little for you to immerse yourself in the authentic Genoese atmosphere!
Wandering through the alleys, I point out the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato: located in piazza della Nunziata, in the heart of the university area and near the alleys, this church it is a jewel of Genoese art of which it is a symbol and tradition.
Built in the XNUMXth century in the Baroque style, it has undergone transformations and restorations over time. A true artistic jewel to visit with an open heart!
LOCAL COUNCIL: Going around the alleys could leave you quite confused, it is not always easy to find your way around, but above all you risk missing out on some gems. My advice is to take a guided TOUR like THIS. (and as a Genoese I can tell you that it is cheap! €14)
5 - The Cathedral of San Lorenzo
Always remaining on the architectural-artistic theme, continuing your walk from the Porto Antico, I suggest you take the characteristic Via San Lorenzo and come across the basilica of the city, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
The consecration of the cathedral dates back to the XNUMXth century and, since then, it has been the city's nerve center of the Catholic religion.
Outwardly, you will admire its gothic portals, 3 to be precise, topped by bas-reliefs and high-reliefs, while sideways you will be greeted by two lions dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.
Inside, various artistic styles mix to create a unique atmosphere, frescoes dominate barrel-vaulted columns while in the right aisle you will see a grenade coming from the English naval sector, dating back to the Second World War, swooped into the cathedral from the roof of the same but never exploded (and here the legends about how the bomb fell right inside the Cathedral and did not explode mine are wasted).
A multitude of architectural works and frescoes is a corollary to the splendid architecture, an artistic jewel, in short, which has survived the ages and people.
6 - The Doge's Palace
After visiting the basilica of San Lorenzo, just continue for a few meters to come across the Ducal Palace.
Its construction dates back to the thirteenth century and over the years its functions have alternated and changed, to become today an exhibition space for exhibitions, a place to organize events and relax in front of a coffee.
It is the seat of various associations and the main objective of the foundation that takes care of its performance is cultural and social promotion.
Absolutely not to be missed visit to prisons.
7 - Porta Soprana and the house of Christopher Columbus
Continue your tour through the streets of the Genoese center by visiting Porta Soprana and, located just a few meters from it, the house of Christopher Columbus.
Porta Soprana is the only one of the entrance doors of the city dating back to the IX - X century, it has a medieval architecture and is made of stone. Its architecture is impressive and, crossing its borders, you enter the historic center.
Just below Porta Soprana, at the point where the access walk begins, is the house of Christopher Columbus.
È a real house-museum dedicated to the discoverer of the Americas, rebuilt in the XNUMXth century on the remains of the original one.
According to tradition, Columbus spent the years of his youth here: who knows if he already dreamed of distant worlds within these walls!
8 - Piazza De Ferrari and the Carlo Felice Theater
Continuing your walk and along via Dante, you will come across the most famous square in Genoa, Piazza De Ferrari.
With her large fountain in the center located in front of one of the entrances of Palazzo Ducale, Piazza De Ferrari is the nerve center of events, demonstrations and city vitality.
Near Piazza De Ferrari you can admire the Teatro Carlo Felice, the city opera house, home to opera seasons and unique concerts.
In recent years it has also hosted events not strictly related to the classical repertoire, such as musicals, pop music concerts and modern ballet companies.
9 - Genoese cuisine
Wandering around the city, you will surely be hungry!
If during your walks you have already tried focaccia, you could go into a typical Genoese trattoria and taste not only pasta with pesto but also pansoti (stuffed pasta) with walnut sauce fried bread (made from chickpea flour), vegetable piesThe classic Genovese soup, ligures rabbit or of excellent seafood dishes.
Again, if you want to find out more about Genoese cuisine, I recommend this food tour which also leads you to discover the typical trattorias!
10 - The Palazzi dei Rolli
Seat of cultural events and of overt historical importance, i Palaces of the Rolli they are a set of palaces that were Genoese nobles of late Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Incredible atriums, spacious stairways, large internal courtyards and beautiful hall floors are just some of the wonders that you will be able to see within this circuit of beauties.
Some of these buildings are included, together with the Strade Nuove, in UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Personally, I recommend that you visit the Rolli palaces with an expert guide. Here you find a really interesting tour!
11 - Shopping in via XX Settembre
After so much culture, who wouldn't want a little bit of healthy shopping? In the main street of the center, via XX Settembre, you can indulge yourself by shopping in large-scale distribution stores but also in small shops that were born and raised in Genoa.
Bookcases, clothing, accessories and perfumeries will be ready to satisfy all your needs!
12 - The Eastern Market
In via XX Settembre, approximately in the middle, you will find the Eastern Market, a place where you can find many culinary specialties and more.
Completely and recently renovated, today it is a meeting and leisure point, a place to savor unique flavors and meet, a center of cultural and social aggregation.
13 - The Prince's Palace
If you want to immerse yourself in the Genoese history of the Dorias, you cannot miss a visit to the Prince's Palace.
This ancient residence is the largest in the whole city: built to order by Andrea Doria in the XNUMXth century, today it is a real museum full of treasures and works of art.
The gardens, overlooking the sea side, are splendid architectural works, whose fountains contribute to enrich their magnificence.
14 - The Royal Palace
Continuing the tour of the most important historical buildings in Genoa, the Royal Palace, originally wanted by the Balbi family in the seventeenth century and purchased by the Savoy in the twenties of the nineteenth century, it will give you an exciting tour of the reception rooms, frescoes, paintings and furnishings owned by the families who inhabited the year over time.
⇒ Buy your ticket HERE Skip the Line for the Royal Palace + AQUARIUM
15 - The Lantern
Symbol of the city, get your camera ready because you can't help but immortalize a shot of this monument to the Genoese!
What I mean is that if the alleys are the heart of Genoa, the Lanterna is essentially his soul.
La Lanterna de Zena is the highest lighthouse in the Mediterranean (77 meters) built on a rock that welcomes visitors from the sea and dates back to the medieval period.
Together with the tower, you can visit the Museum of the Lantern which tells the architectural and urban evolution of the city.
CAUTION: do not call her FARO, she is the LANTERN!
16 - The panorama of Genoa from Spianata Castelletto
After visiting historic buildings and museums, a city lift leaves from Piazza Portello that will take you to the viewpoint of Spianata Castelletto.
In this large space of the homonymous neighborhood, you will have a general view of the city, a breathtaking view that will leave you spellbound.
You will be able to see the harbor, the little houses in the alleys with their gray slate roofs, the opera house and the surrounding hills overlooking the sea.
17 - The Albertis Castle
Staying in the Castelletto district, you can visit the Castello d'Albertis, another historic residence in Genoa, home to events, congresses and two museums: that of the Cultures of the World and that of the Musiche de Popoli.
Its construction dates back to the late nineteenth century and, located on the hill of Monte Galletto, overlooks the city enjoying a splendid sea view.
18 - The little train of Casella
If you are not yet tired of your tour in Castelletto, next to Piazza Manin you will find the departure of the characteristic little train of Casella!
This little train will take you to the countryside and to the heart of the Alta Valle Scrivia, and will land you in the small town of Casella.
Here you can take a lunch break in some typical trattoria in the area and then return to the city aboard the charming little train.
19 - The Luigi Ferraris municipal stadium
If you are a football fan and for you being a fan does not preclude the possibility of seeing other teams, you can buy a ticket for one match of Genoa or of Sampdoria (let's only Genoa vah, said by a genoana in the heart)!
Lo Luigi Ferraris municipal stadium hosts Serie A matches and is located in the heart of the city, it won't be difficult for you to reach it.
20 - The monumental cemetery of Staglieno
Before or after a good football match at the Ferraris Stadium, you can go and visit the monumental cemetery of Staglieno.
È an immense architectural work, which not only honors the dead who rest in it but which consists of statues and works of art worthy of attention.
The monumental cemetery of Staglieno is one of the main cemeteries in Europe, it houses tombs of famous Genoese people and monumental chapels of various architectural styles.
21 - The aperitif in the characteristic village of Boccadasse
Why not relax a little while enjoying a good aperitif overlooking the sea?
Boccadasse is a characteristic Genoese seaside village located on the east side of the long seafront promenade of Corso Italia.
In the village of Boccadasse you can admire the characteristic colored houses that once belonged to fishermen, a small beach with moored boats and goiters, ice cream parlors, small businesses that prepare typical dishes and easily accessible rocks from which to admire the sea.
22- The Walk of Nervi
Another jewel of the Genoese is undoubtedly the Anita Garibaldi walk, better known as the Walk of Nervi.
About two kilometers of walking overlooking the sea, overlooking the characteristic Genoese rocks will make you relax and give you a general impression of the eastern city.
From the Promenade of Nervi, in addition to the possibility of using bars and restaurants, you can see the Portofino mountain in the Levante and in the West, immortalizing the characteristic port of the Nervi district.
23 - The Parks of Nerves
The Genova Nervi district really offers many beauties, one of which was reorganized and improved on the occasion of Euroflora 2018: the parks.
This splendid green city area offers relaxation areas, games for children, nature and squirrels in a spread of alleys surrounded by meadows and roses.
From the parks of Nervi, moreover, it is possible to access the museums of the Park: the Modern Art Gallery, the Wolfsoniana, the Frugone Collections and the Giannettino Luxoro Museum.
24 - Camogli and San Fruttuoso
If you are planning to visit the city, you must definitely get on a train bound for Levante destination Camogli!
This small town offers a unique, unforgettable and recognizable panorama among a thousand. Small colorful houses, characteristic restaurants on the sea, a small church perched and a charming harbor: Camogli is a characteristic fishing village that cannot be missed!
In addition, small boat trips depart from the marina to visit the abbey of San Fruttuoso, a splendid location located in a characteristic and very suggestive inlet.
And if you decide to spend the evening in Camogli I suggest you go and enjoy a rum al Pirate's pub.
25 - The Christ of the Abyss
Il Christ of the Abyss is a bronze statue located 17 meters below sea level in the stretch of water in front of it basilica of San Fruttuoso, between the municipalities of Camogli and Portofino.
Clearly visible also from the boat, it is a particularly suggestive sculpture, positioned in the XNUMXs and the destination of numerous scuba diving in the Ligurian Sea.
26 - Learn the meaning of the word Belin
If you come to Genoa you will hear so many times the word belin pronounced by us Genoese that you will surely wonder what it means.
You will hear belin interspersed probably every 2 or 3 words!
It's not easy to explain but I'll try. Literally the Crikey it is the male reproductive organ, but do not dwell on this, for us it has a totally different meaning (indeed many different meanings).
Just think that we use it like in these cases (but there are infinite ... I think)
- Beat the bell (don't care)
- I have greased down the stairs (fallen)
- But what does it have greased that (combined)
- That guy is right abelinato (stupid)
- You have to desbelinare (wake up in the sense of getting out of trouble)
- Me n’imbelino!!! (perbacco!)
- Pe 'in bellu belin (really not at all)
The word belin is so important to us that we have even made it a verb!
You will certainly have a lot to do while visiting Genoa, don't forget that you can go to the province by visiting Genoa too famous Portofino.