A sea-port city in northern Italy and capital of the Liguria region, Genoa is quite literally a city living in the past. Despite evidence suggesting Greek and Etruscan origins, Genoa has been continually associated with the ancient Ligurians. Taking its name from the Ligurian for 'knee' (meaning 'at an angle', referring to the city's geography) and using the Liguarian dialect to this day, the past defines the present in Genoa.

Destroyed by the Carthaginians in 209 BC, Genoa was absorbed by Rome and later rebuilt, sparking a period of expansion. However, the fall of the Empire was followed by unrest courtesy of the Ostrogoth and later the Lombard occupations. Only in 1100, when it established itself as an independent city-state, did Genoa truly prosper, becoming one of the four 'Maritime Republics' and expanding beyond its city walls into the Aegean and even Northern Africa.

Even when decline set in during the 14th century, courtesy of the Black Death and military defeat at the hands of Venice, Genoa was still able to establish itself as a cultural heavyweight. Indeed, by the 16th century, the city attracted artists like Rubens, Caravaggio and Van Dyck, assisted by the repute of its favourite son, Christopher Columbus.

The remnants of the city’s prosperity remain on show and earnt Genoa the title of 'European Capital of Culture' in 2004.


Soon to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list for 2006, the 16th century Strada Nuovo in the centre contains the Mannerist-styled palaces of the most important families, most of which since converted into museums. The 17th century Palazzo Rosso contains perhaps the most important works, with pieces by Van Dyck, Durer and Veronese. However, the sheer number of museums and galleries within the Strada ensures all tastes are catered for, be it local art (The Palazzo Bianco) or modern history (The Museum of the Risorgimento).

The main religious building, the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, also contains a fine museum of Byzantine and Christian treasures.

Located on the Ponte Spinola, The Aquarium of Genoa is one of the largest in Europe. Continuing the theme, the Sea And Navigation Museum on the Via Gramsci is also worth inspecting.

If you’re looking for sport, Genoa CFC have been recently promoted to Serie B and carry the honour of being Italy’s oldest existing club (stretching back to 1893). Tickets to see home matches during the season can be purchased at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.


The Old Harbor has recently been transformed into a shopping mall by the famous architect, Renzo Piano. Elsewhere, local produce and imported goods are available down the Via Macelli di Soziglia and the Via Orefici.

Local markets can be found at the Piazza Banchi and the Mercato Orientale.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The many restaurants offer the finest in Ligurian cuisine, meaning Mediterranean principles and simple ingredients. The home of pesto and focaccia, the Genoese also love their seafood, so be prepared to find anchovies and mussels on every menu you find. The Santa Chiara on the Via del Capo di Santa Chiari is recommended.

The Piazza de Ferrari and Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi are the main spots for bars and cafes at night. Alternatively, a number of theatres can be found in the city centre.

Tourist Information

APT Tourist OfficePiazza PrincipeGenoaTel: +39 010 246


Genoa is served by Genoa Christopher Columbus Airport. International and domestic flights are available. Although the airport is close to the city, taxis and bus services can be used.

British Airways runs from London Gatwick and Ryanair from London Stansted.

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