There was a time when Genoa was called “The Superb” and lots were the ships that bravely ploughed the waves to reach its several thriving colonies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
In the 18th century Genoa became a compulsory destination for the European travellers, who were enchanted by its buildings, architecture and wealth.
During the 20th century Genoa progressively lost its tourist connotation till getting an industrial city with an important trade port, where tourists were obliged to land to reach the Rivieras.
On the occasion of the Expo Colombiana in 1992, when was celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America, a firm turnabout started, and Genoa became little by little conscious of its tourist potentials and of its touristic vocation, so long kept soothed.
Packed between the mountains and the sea and dominated by the Lantern, Genoa is a complex and marvellous city, where deeply different realities interlace and overlap, by forming a skein that the tourist must have the firmness to disentangle.
Genoa is made up of churches, museums, luxury palaces, monuments and history.
Genoa is “creuze”, open sea horizons, sudden foreshortened views…and frames of mind as well.
Genoa is unique! It’s worth discovering it going through its alleys that get down from the hills of Castelletto (where you can enjoy a splendid panoramic view over the city) till the Ancient Port, where in the pre-Roman times the harbour was born and the first settlings rose.
Nowadays a sunny square over the sea, the Ancient Port of Genoa, planned by the architect Renzo Piano, holds the Bigo, a kind of antique-modern lift, the Cotton Stores, now an important Congress Centre, the famous Aquarium and the Sea Museum Galata.
The historical centre of Genoa is one of the biggest in Europe (it’s 400.000 m2 wide), characterized, in the oldest section, by a labyrinth of little squares and narrow “caruggi” (alleys).
It joints a medieval look with sixteenth-century and Baroque works (S. Matthew’s Square and the ancient Aurea Street, now Garibaldi Street, built in 1550 to reach and connect the luxury palaces of the powerful Genoese oligarchy).
Ruins of the old seventeen-century walls are visible next to S. Lawrence’s Cathedral.
City symbols are the Lantern (117m high), visible till a distance of 30 kilometres from the sea, the monumental De Ferrari’s Square Fountain, the ancient seafaring quarter of Boccadasse, full of multicoloured boats, end of an elegant promenade facing the sea and the Albaro beaches, and famous for its ice-creams.
Just out of the city centre, but still a part of the 33km long shore of the municipal area, are Nervi, natural entrance door to the Eastern Riviera and Pegli, natural entrance door to the Western Riviera.