Genoa is in Italy and in Italian is called, Genova. It is the in the region of Liguria which is in the north-west of Italy.
Genoa is a long narrow city along the coast, hence Genoa was known for its maritime ties for centuries. The great explorer Christopher Columbus was even born in Genoa and you can still visit the remains of his house.
It is the sixth largest city in Italy, but is not full of tourists! This is why I love Genoa!
It is not Rome, Venice or Florence which is great as it is not packed with tourists 365 days a year. In August Genoa is deserted as most of the locals leave for their annual vacation.
There are not millions of selfie sticks flying all over the place of people trying to take just, another selfie in front of a historical site. Really, how many do you need!
Back to Genoa! Now I would love to sum up Genoa in one blog post, but that is not possible unless you have time to read thousands of words. So, I am going to break it up into sections and this will be the first blog.
Today I am going to tell you all about the area of Porto Antico and Principe as this is where I spend a lot of my time when I’m in Genoa.
Porto Antico literally translates into the old port or the ancient port. As it was originally the old harbour and is an ancient part of Genoa. Now it is a vibrant modern marina with an aquarium, museums, a cinema, bars, restaurants, children’s play area, modern sculptures and old port equipment on display.
It is a nice area to walk along the water and if you are driving there are two carparks one by the aquarium and one by the cinema. It is a safe area with police always around and lots of things for kids to do and be entertained.
In Porto Antico, I recommend the restaurants Eataly and I Tre Merli. Eataly is an easy non-formal restaurant where you order your food at the counter and they bring it to you, it is inexpensive and really good food they serve vegetarian, pasta, pizza, fish and meat. Also, you can just go for a coffee and you can buy all Italian produce there as it is upmarket supermarket too.
I Tre Merli serves typical Genovese food, at good prices and in the warmer months the view outside is fantastic. They serve traditional dishes such as Pesto with Pasta, Focaccia col Formaggio (very thin cheese pie, like a pizza), Farinata (chick-pea flour polenta made into a flat bread) and seafood.
Genova is the city pesto came from so you will find it on every menu made in all sorts of ways, also there is a lot of fish especially anchovies as Genoa is by the sea. Not many cows here!
The maritime museum – Galata Museo del Mare is a fantastic museum about the history Genoa and the sea. There are life-size models of boats from years ago, go back in time to when a lot of Italians emigrated by sea to America. There is a section on submarines and so much more. Also, the view from the top of the museum is worth a visit looking out to the city. Then you can visit a real submarine just outside of the museum.
Palazzo Reale is behind Porto Antico in Via Balbi and is one of the palace’s that was built in 1643. The building is a large aristocratic residence, which the Balbis family lived in and built.
The Durazzo family lived there at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th Century and they enlarged the building. The Savoy dynasty lived there the 19th Century.
It is beautiful inside with very old pieces of art and how the other half lived back then and the courtyard is unique. From the road, it looks nothing until you get inside!
Villa del Principe is in Piazza del Principe and it was the richest and most noble household of the city of Genoa. It was the home of the only Prince Genoa ever had in 1529. The rooms are ancient and have painted walls and ceilings and tapestry everywhere and the grounds are stunning.
- Weather in the summer: 22*C – 35*C
- Language: Italian, English is spoken in some places (tourist attractions, restaurants, shops)
- In the summer use lots of insect repellant and sunscreen
Next time, I will tell you more about this amazing city leading into the medieval city centre.
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Have you been to Genoa? What would you recommend doing?
Love Lucy x