Between the picturesque streets of the old town and the sea, between magnificent palaces and contemporary architecture, Genoa offers a wide range of sights. Here you will find the best tips for an unforgettable weekend in the Italian port city.
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Beauty and style have a long tradition in Genoa: Genoese merchants imported precious silk and valuable spices to Europe as early as the Middle Ages. In the golden age of Genoa between the 16th and 17th centuries, the aristocrats had their family residences renovated in the old town and magnificent palazzi built, which were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2006. Today, in addition to the magnificent buildings, there are also masterpieces of modern architecture, created by star architect Renzo Piano, one of the city's most famous sons.
The perfect starting point for your voyage of discovery through Genoa are the elegant cafés and pastry shops, in which the traditional Genoese breakfast - focaccia and cappuccino - as well as extraordinary sweets are served in a sumptuous ambience with historical flair. The local croissant variant called chiffaro or the delicious canestrello biscuits are just some of the specialties that are made here from high-quality ingredients according to traditional recipes.
Well strengthened, head to Via Garibaldi, Genoa's “golden street” steeped in history, which today can be described as an open-air museum of architecture. Some of the nearby palaces, which already cast a spell over the Flemish painter Pieter Paul Rubens at the beginning of the 17th century and which still fascinate visitors from all over the world today, have been converted into museums and offer breathtaking insights into the history of the Genoese aristocracy.
Fashionistas should plan stopovers in the Galleria Mazzini and Via Roma on their way through the heart of the port city: the most important Italian and international fashion labels are represented here. The Genoese themselves maintain a reserved, almost British style of clothing, which manifests itself in a preference for the color blue and high-quality fabrics, as the area around Via XX Settembre shows.
Further facets of the characteristic Genoese style are waiting to be discovered in the small shops in the old town. In addition to traditional clothing, antiques are also sold in the picturesque alleys between Piazza De Ferrari and Via Luccoli or around Piazza Giustiniani, with art galleries and contemporary design shops in between.
For a truly authentic shopping experience, a visit to Genoa's historic shops is indispensable: the network includes 43 traditional businesses that are embedded in the buildings of the old town and thus not only offer a good guide for a tour of discovery, but also with a diverse range of products that includes shoes, jewelry and books as well as elegant souvenirs that reflect the unique style of the city. Fresh fruits, vegetables, spices and local specialties - such as the ingredients for pesto, which originally comes from Genoa - are for sale at the Mercato Orientale, one of the traditional markets that are still in operation today. Also worth seeing: from April 24 to May 9, 2021, the city's parks are dedicated to Euroflora, one of the most important exhibitions for flowers and ornamental plants in all of Europe.
Genoa shows itself from a different, but equally irresistible, side during a walk on the promenade in Nervi, which reveals impressive views of the picturesque coastal landscape. In order to explore the city, which is located directly on the sea, from a special perspective, you should definitely plan one or two trips on the funiculars, cogwheel trains and lifts during your visit. These belong to Genoa's public transport network and were built to connect the city districts, which are spread over several hills, with the center of Genoa.
At the end of a successful Genoa weekend, we recommend a detour to one of the most popular attractions: The old industrial port of Porto Antico, which was redesigned by star architect Renzo Piano in the 1990s, impresses with its special flair between modern architecture and the sea and offers the perfect Setting for an aperitivo with a view of the sunset.
Can't wait to plan your weekend in Genoa? You can find more information and tips for your vacation at www.italia.it and www.visitgenoa.it