Facts about Genoa - the largest medieval city in Europe

About the city

Genua la superba

The regional capital city of Liguria is a very imposing and dynamic city. It has already mesmerized many holiday makers with its special flair. The proud (superb) city is a popular destination for shopping enthusiasts, but even those who love culture will be kept busy by the most diverse museums, theatres and Aperitivos.  

From Piazza de Ferrari it is very easy to get to the Via XX Settembre shopping street. Whoever would rather go to the aquarium can likewise get from there to the second largest sea aquarium in Europe, the “Acquario di Genova”. It is all about fun and excitement once you get there. The Rochen-Petting Zoo in particular impresses many visitors. Just a few meters away from there is the “Cittá dei Bambini”, the “Children’s City”. From there both small and big children can get to know the world of technology and water in a playful way. This is just a little foretaste of the wonderful leisure activities which Genoa offers.

Tip: It is absolutely worth while for all museum fans to buy “Carta dei Musei”. This museum card is valid for 48 hours. It costs 16 - 20 Euros and is valid for several museums (including bus travel) and you get discounted entrance fees or even free entrance. You can purchase this card in various book stores, in the Palazzo Ducale as well as in the Aquarium.

Genoa

Port of Genoa

The Medieval City Centre

Genoa’s city centre is the most preserved city centre in the whole of Europe. The Northern part of the city centre is even today still a very impressive remnant from the rich civilization of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. From here one can take a wonderful walk through the Strada Nuova to the Palazzi Rosso, Bianco and Tursi. The medieval city centre around the San Lorenzo Cathedral reflects the colorful life of the eastern part of the port.

The old city centre around the Piazza De Ferrari was selected in 2006 together with its many boulevards as a World Heritage Site, and is one of the best preserved in Europe.  

The Via Garibaldi (formerly Strada Nuova) is one of the boulevards in that part of town. Take time to admire the beautiful old mural paintings on house facades as well as the luxurious shops and the numerous galleries. The two palaces, namely Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso, house one of the most renowned art galleries in
Europe. Palazzo Reale in Via Balbi with its picture gallery and hall of mirrors is also worth seeing. From its roof terrace one can have a magnificent view of the city. Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is the former seat of government for the City of Genoa. Today one can find several international exhibitions there too, for instance by the Dutch artist, Rubens.

The City’s main distinctive features.

The city’s two very imposing skyscrapers are the landmark of the eastern part of town adjoining to the city centre, which got its appearance in the 19th/20th centuries. The inner part of town has in the meantime been surrounded by newer districts. The contrast of old and new was made perfect by the spectacular modern buildings, villas and gardens interspersed with various industrial plants and residential blocks. Since the 17th century the city has been surrounded by a 13 km long city wall, “Mura Nuove”, on the side facing the land. This is the second longest city wall after the Great Wall of China.

Another landmark is the 117 meter-high lighthouse, „Laterna“. Being visible from 36 nautical miles away, it guides oncoming ships safely to the port. From its observation platform one can enjoy a wonderful view of the city of Genoa.Would you like to observe this landmark from the air in your holiday house in Genoa? You can do that very nicely in the BIGO. This is a panorama elevator which can give you an all-round view of the entire city plus the sea and the beach from a height of 40 meters. It is just a few meters away from the sea aquarium.Another great vantage point is “Castelletto” (Belvedere Luigi Montaldo). From there you will get an all-round panoramic view of the typical slate roofs, medieval towers and baroque domes adorning the city. You can get to this vantage point using an elevator from the Piazza Portello (a few meters from the Strada Nuova).

  • Genova (City)
  • GPS Data: 44.4056499, 8.946256
  • inhabitants: 582320
  • province: Genova
  • area: 243 km2
  • population density: 2396 locals/km2
  • neighboring cities: Recco Pieve Ligure Arenzano Sori

Genoa food specialties and pesto sauce

Food

Enjoy life in Genua

Those who love going out in the evening to have a nice meal will find Genoa just the right place for them. The wide selection of pubs, bars, trendy bars, restaurants and cafés will leave many gourmet hearts beating faster. The historical nature of the buildings gives every restaurant particular charm. To catch up on the Ligurian flair, people meet in the evenings to have an Apperitivo, in keeping with the Genoan tradition. Be it in the open or in the comfortable ambience indoors, the “Gotto” in particular is worth tasting. This very recommendable white wine goes perfectly with Focaccia. „Baxeichito“ which originates from Genoa is also very exquisite. This is a kind of Mojito, but is produced with basil instead of mint.

When you are on the search for culinary delicacies, you should absolutely visit the “Mercato Orientale” (junction of Via Galata and Via XX Settembre). The lively colored market hall is located in an old cloister. The diverse nature of items on offer ranges from fresh herbs, delicious fruits and vegetables, cheese, fish and meat to homemade pasta.

The “Mercato Orientale” is open from Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There are several shops with tradition in Genoa’s city centre. Many of those shops are 50 to 200 years old. Among them are, for instance, small shops which make chocolate according to the old family tradition. You can literally enjoy the Dolce Vita there: Zuccotti Fabbrica Cioccolato (via di Santa Zia 36).

Whoever would rather have an ice-cream, should try out the home-made and creatively prepared types in the “Fruit & Ice Cream Factory” Gelateria (Via San Lorenzo 55r). Apart from ice-cream, you will also find fresh fruit and Crepes there.

You can also enjoy delicious ice-cream creations in the “Profumo di Rosa” Gelateria (Via Cairoli 13 a/r) near Palazzo Rosso. You can also get savory and sweet Crepes in the “J´aime les Crepes” Creperia (Stradone Sant`Agostino 54r). The variety of restaurants in Liguria’s capital city is large and quite
certainly you can find something for every taste. You can try out the seafood and fish dishes in the “Voltalacarta” Restaurant for instance (via Assarotti 60/r).

Whoever prefers more rustic dishes will be well taken care of in the “Le Mura di Malapaga” Restaurant (Via del Molo 57) near the Aquarium. You will be served meat dishes there mainly. You will find local dishes and specialties in the “Il Marin” Restaurant (Edificio Millo, Porto Antico). Apart from the fine food you can also enjoy the view over the Port of Genoa there.

Ligurian delicacies can also be found in the “Soul Kitchen” Restaurant (Piazza dell'Agnello 41 r) in the heart of Genoa’s old city centre. This restaurant offers a selection of different dishes at midday, and included in the menu-price are a glass of water or wine. The pasta and bread are home-made.

During your stay in Italy, you should not of course miss paying a visit to the Pizzeria. The pizzas and Farinata in the “Al Cazone d`Oro” restaurant (Via Aleardo Aleardi 10R) come direct from the woodstove. You can spend a beautiful evening in a cozy and stylish atmosphere in “Cibaria” wine bar (Via del Molo 17). Apart from good wine, they also offer cheese platters and various other delicacies from Italy.

What to do and see in ancient Genoa

What to do

What is so special about Genoa?

The Staglieno Cemetry (Piazzale Rebasco, Genova Staglieno) is a very special resting place. Namely the remains of well-known personalities like Guiseppe Mazzini lie here. Due to the numerous memorial monuments and fascinating sculptures, the cemetery can almost be called an open-air museum.

Whoever still feels like continuing on the trails of great names, can go and have a look at the birthplaces of celebrities like Christoph Columbus and Nicoló Paganini. The Casa di Colombo was unfortunately partly destroyed in1684. It is located at the city gate (Porto Soprana) on Piazza Dante. The Casa Paganini on the other hand, which is also referred to as the  “Devil’s Violinist”, is located on Piazza Santa Maria in Passione. Another interessting place to visit is definitely the medieval residence of the famous and rich Doria family. This estate located on Piazza San Matteo has not changed again since the minor renovations done on it in 1278.

The fact that the commercial city of Genoa has always been a meeting point of many cultures is also manifested through its Arabic influence. The colorful human traffic under the arcades of the Via di Sottoripa Port Street resembles an Arabian Bazaar.

Get away from the hustle and bustle

Many of the surrounding ancient villages can be reached fron Genoa using the old railway. There are lovely walkways leading from those villages in particular to the hinterland. That’s just perfect for a day’s excursion! The charming fishing village called Boccadasse is especially worth visiting. It was already very popular with writers and poets even in those olden days.  

If you plan on spending your Easter holidays in Genua, you should not by any chance miss the beautiful “Settimana Santa” on Holy Thursday. On that day, all churches are decorated with flowers. On the evening of Holy Thursday, the historical processions by the brotherhoods then take place. 

One of the three cable railways (called Funicolare in Italian) will then take you from the Zecca station (found near the main railway station – Genova Principe) over the rooftops of Genoa to the suburb of Righi. The ride takes about 10 minutes. You will enjoy the fascinating view over Liguria’s capital city and the port.   

Whoever would like to spend a few peaceful hours in green surroundings should not miss the Parco Urbano della Mura. This green oasis in Genoa can also be accessed using the cable railway. The recreational area is surrounded by the old fortress wall “Nuova Mura”. Take a walk through the park, visit the numerous forts originating from the last century or simply go and have a relaxed picnic in the green park.

Genoa City in Italy | Province of Genoa, Liguria

Capital of Liguria, Genoa City is also called "La Superba". You will love walking in the streets and in the largest merchant harbour of Liguria during your stay in Italy.

Long sandy beach in Liguria

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