An Inside Guide to Porto Antico in Genoa Italy

An Inside Guide to Porto Antico in Genoa Italy - Lucy Williams Global

Genoa is in Italy and in Italian is called, Genova. It is 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

Porto Antico literally translates into the old port or the ancient port. 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, a 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 car parks 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 the Italian produce there as it is an 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!

Best Museums

Galata Museo del Mare

The maritime museum – Galata Museo del Mare is a fantastic museum about the history of Genoa and the sea.

There are life-size models of boats from years ago, that 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

Palazzo Reale is behind Porto Antico in Via Balbi and is one of the palaces 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 in 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 like nothing until you get inside!

Villa del Principe – Palazzo di Andrea Doria

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.

Essential Info

  • 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.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Genoa.

Please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Genoa? What would you recommend doing?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

Inside Guide to Porto Antico Genoa Italy - Lucy Williams Global


  1. June 29, 2017 / 11:49 am

    So many years living in Switzerland near to Italy, I never been to Genoa! Hopefully next time ! Thanks for the post!

    • June 29, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      You need to go! Genoa is a beautiful unspoilt city 🌃😉

  2. June 30, 2017 / 10:18 am

    I want to go now!!! I hate it indeed when you go to a city as Rome and everything is so packed. My girlfriend loves Italy so maybe we need to go here next time.

    • June 30, 2017 / 12:10 pm

      Genoa is a beautiful city, make it your next trip to Italy 🇮🇹

  3. July 2, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Focaccia col Formaggio sounds divine! 🙂


  4. July 5, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    It looks beautiful! I love your photography.I would love to visit Palazzo Reale!!

  5. July 5, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    Genoa looks like a cool city! I’ve never even heard of it, hopefully I’ll get to check it out sometime!

  6. July 5, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Oh my goodness! Pasta and pesto is my absolute favourite food in the whole wide world! I now fully intend to make a pilgrimage to Genoa!!! I look forward to reading more about this wonderful city.

  7. meghnam212
    July 5, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    Loved a few of your shots from Genoa! Thanks for putting up such an informative post =) Since I’m a total Pesto lover, I’ve happily added Genoa to my ever-growing bucket list! =D

  8. July 6, 2017 / 1:40 am

    So beautiful! I’ve been all over Italy, but not the NW corner, so it has been calling to me. I would love to visit Genoa, especially if it’s not a high tourist area. 🙂

    • July 6, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Genoa is so quiet compared to the other big cities! I hope you make here one day.

  9. hapa roving
    July 6, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Incredible pics – can we talk about the blue water? And also the pesto? Hahaha I love pasta and Italy is definitely one of my favorite holiday destinations!

    • July 6, 2017 / 11:32 am

      That is what I love about Genoa, all the water, but in a city! It is pesto city!

  10. July 6, 2017 / 11:45 am

    OMG that pesto! I’m salivating. I love Italian food. Your photos are really giving me travel-envy right now! Genova sounds really like a chill place to go and dine al fresco, wander the streets, drink aperitivo, eat lots of pizza and pasta, then pass out.

  11. Ana Ro
    July 6, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    Looks really good, especially the food. I’d really love to have an Italian dinner with such a view now.

  12. Daniela || Ipanema travels to
    July 6, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Genoa is totally on my list together with the Aquarium! Let’s see when I will realize this trip. I kinda have a waiting list… hahah

  13. Jacko
    June 27, 2018 / 3:58 pm

    Hi Lucy, I recently had a dream and in my dream this name appeared…and today after going on my Pintrest account this post of yours appeared…so there must be a message in this for me..LOL..just wanted to share that with you, Jacko

    • August 1, 2018 / 10:57 am

      How funny! Dreams are weird! Hope you get to visit Genoa soon! Lol

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