This northern Italian city, built on trade and finance, effectively bankrolled the Renaissance. It was also port where the Black Death entered Europe in 1348, but please don’t hold that against it - today Genoa celebrates its past, inviting visitors to experience the glorious of centuries past while firmly looking to the future. We think it’s a wonderful place to spend a few days wandering about, taking in the distinct, cosmopolitan vibe of the place.
Where to go
Stroll down the Via Garibaldi, lined with the ancient residences of some of the city’s richest families. Explore winding medieval alleyways, lined with tiny boutiques, antique shops and cafes. Visit the palazzos along Strada Nuove that are now galleries and full of Old Masters. Don’t miss the opulent Palazzo Tursi, that holds relics of the city’s most famous son, Christopher Columbus. Go shopping on Via Roma, lined with fashionable boutiques. Enjoy a ice cream by the harbour. Enjoy the spectacular sunsets over the water.
Food & Drink
Genoa gave the world Pesto and Focaccia - two building blocks of many an Italian dish. As a port city, it also specializes in minestrones, pastas and stews that make liberal use of the spices and herbs that were traded here over the centuries. Genoans also like to eat on the run, so you’ll find many places selling chickpea fritters and other local favourites. To eat like the Genoese, head to Zeffino (Via XX Settembre 20), a local icon and favourite of Frank Sinatra. For the unique, delicious Ligurian spin on seafood, try Gran Gotto Viale (Brigate Bisagno 69r) for delicacies such as squid.
Genoans work hard and play hard - they have done for almost a millennium. You won’t have to look long for good nightlife here. Caffè Degli Specchi (Salita Pollaiuoli 43r) is a marvellous place for cocktails, people watching and the sort of aperitivo common across northern Italy. Elsewhere, La Goletta (Via Magazzini del Cotone 3) is a cosy bolthole in which to watch life on the harbour go by.
Where to stay
Hotel Santa Margherita Palace
is a wonderful luxury hotel about forty minutes out of Genoa. Chic, spacious suites, a wonderful bar and one of the most talented concierges in the region make this a top pick. Hotel Villa Sylva
is a ninety minutes
by car (less by boat) away,
but is a standout boutique hotel with spa, pool, sun loungers and a kid-friendly attitude. Great for families. How to get there
Ryanair and British Airways fly from London to Genoa directly daily.