Genoa is one of the largest cities in Italy and also the capital of the region of Liguria. For a long period of time, Genoa has also been one of the most powerful maritime republics.
Part of the old town is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are plenty of things to do in Genoa.
Porta Soprana is an impressive gate of the so-called Barbarossa walls in Genoa. It acted as a city gate to the harbor of Genoa.
Ravecca, the historical city center, is located right behind the Porta Soprana. The imposing gate is well-preserved and is considered one of the most significant historical monuments of Genoa.
San Lorenzo Cathedral
San Lorenzo Cathedral is the perhaps most important religious structure of Genoa. The cathedral was built in 1089 to replace an existing basilica.
The Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, as it is known in Italian, is characterized by its gothic style of architecture and many columns lining the interior. This church is well-preserved and recent renovations have restored its medieval parts to great extent.
The castle was built in a Neo-Gothic style between 1886 and 1892. The surrounding gardens allow fantastic views over the port and the city.
This castle used to be the private residence of Captain D’Albertis, an Italian navigator, writer, and philologist. Some of the interesting artifacts of the captain’s travels can be found in the museum located in the Castello d’Albertis.
Galata Maritime Museum
The great maritime history of Genoa gets displayed in the Galata – Museo del mare, the largest maritime museum in the Mediterranean. The museum opened in 2004 and is extremely modern and well-equipped.
The Galata displays the history of famous explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, while at the same time, newer exhibits like a submarine are also on display.
The Boccadasse is a historic neighborhood with many narrow streets and colorful houses. The Church of St. Anthony and its surroundings offer a beautiful view over Boccadasse.
Don’t miss the chance to have lunch or dinner in one of the lovely little Trattorias and restaurants, they usually offer fresh seafood at fair prices. It’s also lovely to go for a stroll in the quaint alleys.
Museo di Palazzo Reale
Palazzo Reale was home to several influential families and impresses with its frescoes and canvases. In 1919 the state bought the property and recently it has been turned into a museum.
The collection on display here mainly consists of the many valuable pieces of art the owning families collected during their time in the Palazzo.
There are paintings from Anton van Dyck here, beautiful sculptures depicting the former residents, and even some of the original furniture can be found. Don’t miss the magnificent night clock and the secretary desk of Giovanni Battista Galletti.
Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello
The Santa Maria di Castello is located on the Castello hill, giving it a towering position over the roofs of the surrounding buildings. The church was built in the Romanesque style in the first century.
Despite its unassuming exterior, the church is home to a big collection of artworks donated to the church by wealthy Genoese families. The many paintings, frescoes, and decorations make the interior of the church a true marvel.
Teatro Carlo Felice
Teatro Carlo Felice is the biggest opera house in Genoa with a total capacity of 2,200. It is not just the main venue for operas but also houses ballets, recitals and orchestral music.
The theater is located on the side of the magnificent Piazza de Ferrari and is dedicated to the former King Carlo Felice.
Teatro Carlo Felice was largely destroyed during the Second World War and efforts to reconstruct it only ended in 1991. Thanks to the efforts of the city and its inhabitants the magnificence of the theater was restored.
Since 2006 the Via Garibaldi has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The street is located in the historical center of Genoa and was set up during the Renaissance.
The buildings lining this splendid street are very traditional and authentic, yet well-restored and maintained. The Via Garibaldi is not a commercial center but more of a monument of the past.
Taking a walk along this beautiful area is a must for Genoa visitors.
Piazza de Ferrari
The Piazza de Ferrari is one of the most significant squares of Genoa and is home to the Teatro Carlo Felice and the Chiesa del Gesù e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea.
Many civic events take place on this beautiful Piazza. The splendid fountain located in the middle of the square is beautifully lit during the night and shines in many colors.
Another dominating feature of the Piazza de Ferrari is the Monumento a Garibaldi, a statue of the great general and republican.
Lanterna di Genoa
The 76-meter-high lighthouse of Genoa is one of the landmarks of the city. It was built in 1128 and can be found in the harbor, next to the Centrale Termoelettrica di Genova (the city’s main power plant).
The view from the top of the tower is magnificent, visitors get to enjoy the great panorama of the Mediterranean Sea, the city of Genoa and the harbor with its many ships.
Cimitero di Staglieno (Staglieno Cemetery)
The Cimitero di Staglieno is one of the most fascinating cemeteries in all of Europe. Many of the most important Genoese inhabitants have been buried here.
Ernest Hemingway described the cemetery as ”one of the wonders of the world” and he certainly didn’t exaggerate. The artworks used for the many graves and tombs is staggering and the serene atmosphere of the well-maintained gardens is truly relaxing. Many galleries and colonnades can be explored here.
The less frequented areas of the Cimitero di Staglieno are great places for enjoying the solitude and letting the mind wander.
Watch a football game of Genoa CFC
Serie A is one of the best football leagues in Europe. The many great Italian stadiums are a great place to experience the football culture of this nation firsthand. Genoa is the home of the Genoa C.F.C, Italy’s fourth oldest sports club.
The Stadio Luigi Ferraris offers a seating capacity of 36,600 and is a beautiful stadium, fantastically embedded into the cityscape of Genoa.
Like the Genoa C.F.C the stadium is very old, it was inaugurated in 1911 and is widely considered to be one of the oldest stadiums in modern football. Football fans shouldn’t miss the chance of experiencing a Serie A game at the historic stadium.
Visit Italy’s oldest candy shop (Romanengo)
The Confetteria Pietro Romanengo dates to 1814 and is considered the country’s oldest candy shop. The historic atmosphere of the shop is obvious on first sight.
The elegant furniture and marble floors of the shop make it clear that the Confetteria is a very distinguished venue. The specialties of the shop include chocolates, candied fruit as well as fruit and flower preserves.
The mastery of Genoese candying is also evident in the shop’s signature rose syrup.
Make a day trip to Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a coastal area towards the southeast of Genoa. The Cinque Terre National Park is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great place for nature lovers trying to get away from the stress of city life.
What makes the area so interesting is not just the untouched nature but also the many terraces the inhabitants have built on the steep cliffs. The terraces overlook the sea and are great for exploring.
One of the unique features of the area is how secluded each village is, many of the coastal roads are very small and precarious and can only be used with great difficulty.
La Spezia is a scenic town that is perfectly nestled into the cliffs, offering great views, seafood restaurants, and unique Italian architecture.