Nicknamed ‘La Superba’ Genoa is the capital of Liguria, lying on the Mediterranean coast of north-west Italy. Genoa’s proximity to Milan and Turin, forming part of the ‘Industrial Triangle’ of northern Italy, means it is a perfect get-away location for those travelling on business in Milan or Turin. With excellent transport links and frequent flights in and out of the city, Genoa is the perfect location for some winter sun or a short break.
Day 1- A whistle-stop tour…
For those of us who are subjected to cold, dark and wet winters, Genoa is the ideal destination for a mini break. On arrival a stroll around the old town, the winding streets and medieval alleyways known as caruggi will help to ease you into your surroundings.
Don’t forget to look UP! Yes that’s right, when you get the chance take in the impressive medieval and baroque buildings and piazzas dotted around the city. The light in Italy’s 6th largest city has attracted many artists over the years including Carravagio and Van Dyck.
The famous avenue Via Garibaldi is a UNESCO World Heritage site - why not do as the locals do and take your passeggiata making your way down into the Palazzo Bianco Gallery on Via Garibaldi. This collection of the crème de la crème of 16th, 17th and 18th century art will whet the appetite of the art lovers amongst you.
If you’d rather skip the fine art, preferring something more adventurous, we recommend you try the Galata Museo del Mare where you can learn all about Genoa’s maritime history and the life of Genoa’s most famous son - Christopher Columbus.
No doubt after a few hours sampling Genoa’s galleries, museums and impressive architecture you may be in need of a bite to eat. Walk down towards the port and head to Via Sottoripa - we recommend you take advantage of Genoa’s prime location on the Mediterranean coast and pop into one of the local friggitoria. Nestled under the arches these stalls sell the traditional Genovese speciality of fried seafood caught fresh that morning. Wrapped up in paper and served warm, squeeze some lemon juice on your whitebait and you’re ready to go…this is fast food Genoa-style!
A walk along the waterfront is a must and you will no doubt see world-famous architect Renzo Piano’s ‘Bigo’ landmark sitting proudly on the port. The crane-like structure contains a lift or elevator, and a ride to the top reveals 360 degree views of Genoa and the port. An aperitivo at sunset followed by an evening meal in one of the many restaurants in the lively Piazza delle Erbe would be the perfect end to your first day in the city known as La Superba.
Day 2- Ready, Set, Go!
For foodie fanatics a trip to Genoa’s famous Mercato Orientale is unmissable. The market is over 100 years old and offers the best in seasonal local produce- it’s a real feast for the senses!
If you’re in need of a break from the gastronomic greats of Genoa then check out the impressive Villetta di Negro gardens. This park is a haven within the heart of the city, dating back to 1785. Tucked away within the former botanical school, this little known oasis contains a waterfall, pretty grottoes, and also houses the Chiossones Museum of Oriental Art. The fresh air and panoramic views of the city might provide a welcome breather from the hustle and bustle of downtown Genoa.
Lunchtime might include a trip to one of the focacciaria dotted along the many street corners. Focaccia is said to originate from this city, and we suggest you try some fresh focaccia stuffed with mushrooms, olives and tomatoes served hot. Perhaps you’d like to try the traditional farinata –a type of pancake made from chickpea flour, delicious!
If you’re feeling contemplative then why not step back in time and visit the Duomo di San Lorenzo which dates back to the 12th century. The distinctive black slate and white marble striped cathedral has an impressive array of frescos and sculptures. The Indiana Jones in you may be aware that below the cathedral there is a museum housing the chalice supposedly used by Christ at the Last Supper.
On your final night in Genoa taste the city’s most famous sauce - PESTO! If you haven’t managed to eat a pasta dish served with pesto during your trip then take a short walk to Boccadasse, a former fishing village now a neighbourhood which is only a short walk along the port. The restaurants in this district are the best place to sample some pasta al pesto –it is said Frank Sinatra favoured Ristorante Zeffirino
If you have a little longer…
If you are fortunate enough to have a few more days in Liguria then Italian Special Occasions can help you make the most of your time away.
- Cinque Terre- Genoa is blessed with direct trains to the world famous coastal villages, nestled between the hills and the sea. These gems of the Italian Riviera are especially popular through the summer season when they become crowded and expensive. Let us help you avoid the crowds and summer expense with a relaxing spring excursion!
- Want to know more about Genoa’s local produce, seasonality, and gastronomy? Let us organise a market tour of the Mercato Orientale followed by a cookery class. Get your hands dirty and make some farinata, or focaccia, the more adventurous of you might want to try making some pesto to take home!
- How about a teambuilding exercise on the high seas? Sailing the ‘Gate of the Mediterranean’ like Christopher Columbus could be an unforgettable experience!