The birthplace of explorer Christopher Columbus, the historic city of Genoa in northern Italy is a veritable feast of grand architecture, artistic treasures and cultural attractions. A former European Capital of Culture, Genoa sits as a prime example of a quintessential Italian city, its many narrow streets and alleyways exuding a distinct historic charm. The city is often overshadowed as a tourist destination by the likes of Rome and Florence. However, an exploration of Genoa opens up a wealth of hidden gems.
An ancient harbour city, Genoa remains an important Italian port to this day. The port area has undergone extensive renovation in recent years and now features a number of seaside bars, shops and ice cream parlours, perfect for viewing the comings and goings of the many ships, boats and yachts which travel through the harbour on a daily basis. The waterfront area is also home to the second-largest aquarium in Europe, one of the most popular modern attractions in the city.
Away from the waterfront, the centre of the city is a historic delight. The street known as Via Garibaldi is a truly grand affair, lined with wonderful examples of Baroque architecture. The finest of these is the Palazzo Rosso, a 17th century palace which today houses a magnificent art collection including works by the likes of Van Dyck and Rubens. Nearby can be found the Piazza De Ferrari, the major square in the city. At its heart is a magnificent fountain, one of the most iconic sights in Genoa.
When to fly to Genoa
The period between the beginning of March and the end of September is the best time to visit the city. As this is the high season, all of the city's bars, restaurants, shops and cafes are open on a consistent basis. Many of these same establishments begin to close in October.
When is the cheapest time to visit Genoa (Italy)?
October to November and January to February are the cheapest months to visit the city. As this is low season, prices are often less expensive. However, a number of the city's shops and bars either close or open infrequently during this time.
Getting around Genoa
There is an extensive bus network which operates within the city. Tickets need to be purchased prior to boarding and are available from newspapers stands and tobacconist stores. An underground train connects many of the city's major tourist attractions. Tickets for the underground can be purchased from machines in the station.