Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.33 | 1.51 €

One-way ticket £1.32 | 1.50 €

Beer £3.52 | 4.00 €

Main Course £13.19 | 15.00 €

About Genoa

The underrated city of Genoa provides an alternative to the tourist driven favourites of Rome, Milan or Venice and offers a surprising and culturally fascinating insight into quintessential Italy.

For much of the 20th century, the maritime city of Genoa lumbered and lurched like a faded heavyweight trading on former glories. But now it’s off the ropes and swinging with the title of European Capital of Culture 2004 under its belt. Italy’s sixth largest city, with a population just under 600,000, is the capital of Liguria and offers a culturally stimulating alternative to the popular tourist hotspots.

Once the home of famous explorer Christopher Columbus, Genoa has undergone a revival over the last 20 years, seeing crumbling streets and alleyways restored and glorious modern buildings - that include one of Europe’s largest Aquariums - constructed in an attempt to increase tourism. There's still an air of mystery and mild menace in the Old Town, which is to be welcomed, but Genoa paints a picture of a port that's rediscovered its mojo. It might be a lot smaller than the big hitters of Rome and Milan, but don’t underestimate Genoa; this city can pack a punch.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

May is a good time to visit as you can still enjoy the heat but avoid the crowds.

Genoa has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. In summer, temperatures can reach nearly 30 degrees Celsius and the city is not as humid as others in Italy. In contrast, winter temperatures reach around 11 degrees Celsius on average. Autumn and late spring are warm, although October is also the wettest month of the year.

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Travioor top tips

Shopping
Getting Around
Out of Town

Insider Info

  • Genoa is great for shopping. For the best luxury boutiques, head from Piazza De Ferrari to Via XX Settembre.

  • Thinking of hiring a car? You might want to think again. You’ll have a tough job finding a parking spot even if you rent a scooter. The same problem occurs when you visit the beach. Use public transport or walk instead.

  • A day trip out of the city centre for an afternoon can provide an alternative to sightseeing. Many tourists get the bus to the fishing village of Boccadasse.

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Food and drink

Main Course £13.19 | 15.00 €

3-Course Meal £39.56 | 45.00 €

Cappuccino £1.15 | 1.31 €

Beer £3.52 | 4.00 €

The Scene

There are a few delights to be found here. The people of Genoa claim pesto originated in their city and you’ll find many dishes which include it. Their crushed basil pesto is hugely popular with locals and is made up of seven ingredients. Alternatively, if you pass a bakery ask for a farinata (a savoury chickpea crepe) typical of the whole Liguria region. In restaurants, some of the tastiest dishes you'll eat are seafood based (this was once a fishing village after all). The Old Port is a good place to enjoy lunch and for a top dining experience, head for Ristorante Zeffirino – apparently one of Frank Sinatra’s favourite spots.

To enjoy a few drinks including some fantastic locally produced wine, Piazza delle Erbe is a great little square perfect for a casual chat in the late hours. Or for somewhere with a touch of class, head for Oltremodo where you can sit at the outside tables on the deck of the ship Italia.

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History

Genoa’s Story

Genoa was founded in the 4th century BC. Its position on the coast meant it was a significant port for conquerors including the Romans and Saracens. A period of growth followed after Venice was defeated in 1298, but disagreements between dynasties slowed proceedings. Later in the 1500s, Andrea Doria decided to pump money into Spanish exploration, with the famous explorer (and Genoan resident) Christopher Columbus heading many expeditions. This paid off, and by the 17th century many palaces and other historic attractions had been built in the city. When the Age of Exploration decimated soon after, Genoa experienced huge economic decline, but picked back up after the unification of Italy in 1861 and trade began flowing in and out of northern Italy.

Language

Ciao | Hello
Grazie | Thank you

Italian

Italian is the official language of Genoa although a dialect of the Ligurian language called Genoese is also spoken. Having said that, many people speak English, although not as many as in most other major cities in Italy. You’ll still find that English is used in the main tourist hotspots but it’s always good to learn the basics:

  • Please: Per favore
  • Excuse me: Mi scusi
  • Do you speak English?: Parla inglese?

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Need to know

+39 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Most museums are closed on Mondays.
  • Many shops, restaurants and cafes are closed on Sundays.
  • Beware of pickpockets, especially around the San Lorenzo and San Bernardo areas.
     

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Italy here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Art Galleries

Observe some world-class art at places like Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art.

2. Caruggi

Explore the old city in Caruggi, considered Europe's largest medieval centre.

3. The Aquarium

Visit The Aquarium, one of the biggest across the continent.

4. Piazza De Ferrari

Wander around the grand buildings at the Piazza De Ferrari.

5. History

Taste Genoa’s history at the museums and historic buildings such as the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.


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