Genoa is in the north-west of Italy in the region of Liguria. It is a very historic city as it was a rich maritime city and home to some of the oldest banks in Europe.
Genoa is very underrated Italian city compared to the big cities of Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan. Because of this Genoa is not crowded with tourists.
I love Genoa and my many friends and family members that I have introduced Genoa too, they always enjoy the city and want to return.
It is a city by the sea with lots to see and do throughout the year.
Here are the top 10 places to visit in Genoa Italy:
1. San Lorenzo Cathedral
San Lorenzo Cathedral is located in Via San Lorenzo and is a great place to visit in Genoa. It is a beautiful Cathedral and was built between the 12th – 14th century and completed in the 17th century.
You can walk around the cathedral and even go up the tower for a spectacular view of the city. At the time of writing this, there was a charge of 5 Euros to go up. There are a lot of steps, but it is worth it.
There is also a museum below the cathedral; Museo del Tesoro della Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. This has displays of gold and other very old artefacts. There is a charge of 5 Euros at the time of writing this to enter.
2. Christopher Columbus House and Entrance to City Walls
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa and you can view the remains of Christopher Columbus’s house. The museum is an 18th-century reconstruction of the house. It was believed he lived in the house between 1455 and 1470.
Next to the house is one of the entrances to Genoa’s 14th-century city walls. It is quite an impressive place to visit in Genoa.
3. Piazza de Ferrari
Piazza de Ferrari is a big square in the city centre and has a big water fountain and this is a place you have to visit in Genoa. From Piazza de Ferrari you can walk into the main shopping district.
For the high street and independent, shops go down Via Venti Settembre. It is just under a kilometre long and if you love shopping this is the street for you. For the designer shops head to Via Roma and Via Ventcinque Aprile.
4. Via Garibaldi
Via Garibaldi one of Genoa’s oldest street dating back to 1550, originally called Strada Nuova.
The street buildings are Baroque in style as they were built in the 16th century. The street is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and no cars can drive through unless they have a special permit.
This street has the some of the oldest banks and palaces. Genoa is home to 114 Palace’s (not all of them are open to the public as some are offices) and 12 of them are in Via Garibaldi.
You can go into some entrances of the building for free and just see the grand entrances with large chandeliers and painted walls and ceilings.
5. Palazzo Rosso & Palazzo Bianco
Palazzo Rosso (the red palace) is beautiful inside with art collections and some of the rooms are preserved with original furniture and decoration. If you can go the top the views are amazing.
It was built between 1671 and 1677. The Brignole Sale family owned the palace until 1874. After that is was given to the city of Genoa and it became a public gallery.
Palazzo Bianco (the white palace) is another beautiful palace with an art collection and stately rooms. It was built between 1530 and 1540.
The De Franchi family owned the palace until 1711, it was then inherited by the Brignole Sale family. In 1884 it became a public gallery. Both museums are in Via Garibaldi.
6. Palazzo Reale
Palazzo Reale is in Via Balbi and was built in 1643. The building is a large aristocratic residence, which the Balbi 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. The courtyard is unique and there are old carriages from that period.
7. Porto Antico
Porto Antico (the old port or the ancient port), was originally the old harbour and is an ancient part of Genoa.
It is now a vibrant modern marina with an aquarium, museums, a cinema, bars, restaurants, children’s play area, modern sculptures and old port equipment on display.
There is the ‘Bigo’ that is a panoramic lift that takes you 40 meters to the air in a cabin in the shape of an old crane unloading goods from a ship. This short ride that gives you a panoramic view of the city and harbour.
Porto Antico is a nice area to walk along the water and stop and have a drink or lunch.
8. 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.
9. Castello D’Albertis
Castello D’Albertis is a modern castle built between 1886 and 1892. The castle was owned by sea captain Enrico Alberto D’Albertis.
The castle was donated to the city of Genoa when he died in 1932. It is located on top of the hill of Monte Galletto in the district of Castelletto.
To get to the museum you can drive, take a bus or take the lift that goes through the hill. The lift entrance is just off Via Balbi.
The view from the castle is stunning of the harbour of Genoa. Inside the castle are collections of artefacts from around the world from the owner’s travels around the world.
The rooms are very interesting to see as he decorated the rooms to remind him of his travels and one even like a ship’s cabin!
10. 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 and 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. There is the option to visit a real submarine just outside of the museum.
Now you know what places to visit in Genoa!
- Weather: Spring 15*C – 20*C /Summer: 22*C – 35*C / Autumn 10*C – 15*C / Winter: 6*C – 13*C
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Italian, English is spoken in some places (tourist attractions, restaurants, shops)
- Wear comfortable shoes, as most walkways are uneven!
- Bring your camera or smartphone to take lots of photos
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Have you been to Genoa? What would you recommend doing?
Love Lucy x