Things to do in Genoa, Italy

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Curated By

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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  • Italy

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Food

  • Local Culture

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Curator’s statement

In this guide to Genoa, we delve into the heart of a city where history and modernity coalesce beautifully. Each recommendation for "things to do" in Genoa is handpicked to showcase the essence of Genoa, from its labyrinthine old streets to the grandeur of its seaside promenades. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide aims to reveal the unique character of this Italian gem, inviting you to experience its rich heritage, culinary delights, and breathtaking vistas. Welcome to a journey through Genoa, a city that promises to captivate and enchant

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Where to stay in Genoa, Italy

Hotel Bristol Palace

Grand hotel in a building from 1905 with stately rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Continental Genoa

Hotel Continental Genova is a luxurious 4-star property conveniently located near the centre of Genoa

NH Collection Genova Marina

NH Collection Genova Marina is a historic hotel located on the seafront of Linguria, an ideal location to vacation in Italy. 

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Things to do in Genoa, Italy

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Welcome to Genoa, a gem nestled along the Ligurian coast of Italy, where ancient maritime history intertwines with vibrant modernity.

This captivating port city is a treasure trove of rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and culinary delights.

As you wander through the narrow alleyways of its sprawling historic center, prepare to be enchanted by the grandeur of its Renaissance palaces, the lively ambiance of its bustling piazzas, and the breathtaking views from its hilltops.

Whether you're indulging in the birthplace of pesto, exploring the depths of one of Europe's largest aquariums, or simply soaking in the Mediterranean sun along its picturesque waterfront, Genoa offers a unique and unforgettable Italian experience.

  1. Explore the Historic Center (Centro Storico)

    • Via Garibaldi: Start your exploration in the heart of Genoa's historic center by visiting Via Garibaldi. This street is lined with magnificent palaces from the 16th and 17th centuries, many of which are now museums.

    • Palazzi dei Rolli: These UNESCO World Heritage sites are a collection of elegant Renaissance and Baroque palaces. Don't miss Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Tursi for their stunning architecture and art collections.

  2. Visit the Genoa Aquarium (Acquario di Genova)

    • As one of the largest aquariums in Europe, the Genoa Aquarium offers an extensive display of marine life. It's a great place for families and anyone interested in marine biology. The aquarium is part of the old harbor area, Porto Antico, which has been revitalized into a lively cultural hub.

  3. Stroll Through the Old Harbor (Porto Antico)

    • After visiting the aquarium, take some time to explore the rest of Porto Antico. This area includes attractions like the Biosfera (a small glass sphere with tropical plants and animals), the Bigo (a panoramic lift), and the Galata Museo del Mare (Italy's largest maritime museum).

  4. Take a Ride on the Genoa Funiculars and Elevators

    • Genoa is a city of hills, and its funiculars and public elevators are not only practical means of transportation but also provide stunning views of the city. The Ascensore Castello d'Albertis-Montegalletto and the funicular to Righi are particularly noteworthy.

  5. Discover the Cathedral of San Lorenzo

    • The Genoa Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, is a splendid example of Gothic architecture. Don't miss the stunning façade and the treasure trove of art inside, including the Sacro Catino, said to be the Holy Grail.

  6. Experience the Vibrant Piazza De Ferrari

    • The heart of the city, Piazza De Ferrari is famous for its bronze fountain and surrounded by historic buildings, including the Teatro Carlo Felice and the Palazzo della Borsa. It's a great place to feel the pulse of the city, enjoy a coffee, and watch the world go by.

  7. Enjoy Genoese Cuisine

    • Genoa is the birthplace of pesto, so trying authentic pesto Genovese is a must. Other local specialties include focaccia, farinata (chickpea pancake), and fresh seafood. Head to the historic trattorias in the old town or the restaurants in the Porto Antico for an authentic dining experience.

  8. Visit Boccadasse

    • A short trip from the city center, Boccadasse is a quaint fishing village with colorful houses, pebble beaches, and charming eateries. It's perfect for a relaxing afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

  9. Explore the Museums

    • Genoa has several museums worth visiting. The Strada Nuova Museums (Via Garibaldi museums) offer a combined ticket. The Museum of Contemporary Art at Villa Croce, the National Gallery at the Palazzo Spinola, and the Museum of Oriental Art are also worth a visit. (Musei di Genova)

Tips for Travelers

  • Getting Around: Genoa's city center is walkable, but you can also use public transport, including buses, funiculars, and elevators, to navigate the hilly terrain.

  • Best Time to Visit: Late spring or early autumn are ideal, offering pleasant weather and fewer tourists.

  • Language: While some English is spoken, learning a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your experience.

Places to eat & drink in Genoa, Italy

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Trattoria Da Maria - This is a classic Genoese trattoria located in the heart of the city. Known for its authentic and no-frills approach to local cuisine, Trattoria Da Maria is a favorite among locals. Their menu changes daily but often features traditional dishes like trofie al pesto, a regional pasta specialty.

Il Genovese - Located near Piazza de Ferrari, Il Genovese is renowned for its pesto, made following a traditional recipe. The restaurant offers a variety of local dishes in a warm and welcoming setting, with pesto being the star of the show.

Antica Osteria di Vico Palla - Another gem in the heart of Genoa, this osteria offers a genuine taste of Genoese cuisine in a charming and historical atmosphere. They serve excellent fresh pasta, focaccia, and other regional specialties, all accompanied by a well-selected wine list.

La Brinca - Located a bit outside the city center, in the hills of Ne, La Brinca is a wonderful choice for those looking to explore the regional cuisine of Liguria. The restaurant has a rustic, country atmosphere and offers a tasting menu that takes you on a journey through the local flavors and ingredients.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Travel Advisor Ashley Emala’s guide, Le Isole Tremiti - The Best Italian Islands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

Phelipe wearing glasses, a suit and a hat while smiling and standing outside in front of a city street.

Travel Advisor

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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