Genoa: the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and Paganini, Italy’s biggest port and, as Charles Dickens remarked in 1844 "A city of the strangest contrasts." Renaissance palaces, grand 19th-century boulevards and gilded Baroque churches are squeezed alongside, and on top of, a warren of steep medieval streets. Fine restaurants and chic bars are hidden in the narrow alleys. Genoa is made for exploring and getting lost in the medieval quarter – one of Europe’s largest – and is all part of the experience. With one of the biggest universities in Italy, Genoa’s student population guarantees a buzzing nightlife.
Museums of the ’Strada Nuova’
Made a UNESCO world heritage site in 2006, Via Garibaldi is lined with Renaissance palaces, built by Genova’s wealthiest families in the 16th and 17th centuries. Palazzo Bianco houses a huge collection of Italian and Flemish art including works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Caravaggio. Palazzo Rosso houses an incredible collection put together over two centuries by the Brignole-Sale family.
This National Gallery is housed in a 16th-century palace and was donated to the state by the Spinola family. Here you will find many famous works done by the greatest Genoese, Flemish and European artists including important collection of ceramics. Works by Rubens, Van Dyck, il Grechetto, Valerio Castello and others are on display here.
Piazza delle Erbe
Piazza delle Erbe is just below Piazza de Ferrari and is a small square with tables around where several bars serves locals and travellers food, beer and wine. At night, especially on Fridays, the atmosphere gets very lively when many young locals are gathering here with friends.
Good to know
Walking is the only form of transport possible in the historic centre of Genoa – the streets are too narrow for cars. Having said that, the bus system is extensive and the ticket is valid for 90 minutes (you can buy it at newsstands). The public transport service in Genoa is run by a company called AMT.
Genoa has a subway system, indicated by a red M that currently has 8 stops. You will find automatic ticket machines in all the stations, valid for 90 minutes or the whole day.
In addition to the funicular, Genoa also has elevators for locals who live uphill. There are a number of these around the city and the standard AMT tickets are valid!