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Sightseeing: around Genoa

by Paola - Vai alla versione italiana (in giro per Genova)


We can start our itinerary in Genoa from the Expo Area, which is an ancient restructured part of our port, famous for its industrial and commercial activities and as a point of arrival and departure of ships.

Every day it appeals to a lot of tourists who choose to have a ferry sightseeing, take in shows, to visit museums and above all aquarium, where a lot of fishes and exotic wildlife live in their habitat. Moreover you can take a big lift - called Bigo - which offers a panoramic view of the city.

Got off the Bigo, you will enter the pulsing heart of the old and mysterious city hiding treasures and tricks for tourists. It's not a very safe place if you want to have a ride in the night. However since the historical center was restored and the streets, which are really narrow, forbidden to cars you can walk hunting a typical Ligurian or international food inn. As a matter of fact this area doesn't belong only to the Genovese, but also to people immigrants coming from overseas.

In fact, Genoa has always been a gateway between the Mediterranean Sea and The Europe itself: although it isn't very big, Genoa is a cosmopolitan city.




Now it's time we took one of the most famous lanes: Via San Lorenzo leading to the Cathedral.

A lot of foreign architects contributed to design both its inside and outside. Two white marble lions, which are at the foot of the stairs, welcome you to visit the church. Its gothic front is elegant and decorated with the black and white stripes which remind of the marine pattern in other Italian towns.

If you raise your look, you'll notice that the two spires are different, for one has never been ended.

You can't help admiring the big outstanding rose-window through which the daylight washes the naves.

Stepping inside, if you turn round you can't miss the colourful and bright stained glass windows.

Along the left hand side nave is the Chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist whose relics are jealously kept in the crypt together with the green glass basin traditionally considered the Sacred Graal.

At the end of Via San Lorenzo, there is Piazza Matteotti where Palazzo Ducale outstands on the left.

This building was the house of the Doge: the Governor of the Genovese Republic. Now it is the heart of the city cultural life because it shelters many important art exhibitions. Its fašade is magnificent with its Renaissance windows framed by three series of classical Grecian columns.

Inside a big inner square court is surrounded by an arcade and grand flights of marble steps lead you upstairs to the valuable chambers.


Palazzo Ducale


If you go out of the secondary door you'll find yourself in Piazza De Ferrari, where an imposing fountain stands. There you can admire the Carlo Felice theatre, whose fašade is similar to a Grecian temple. Seriously damaged by the Second World War, it took several years to restore it as it was once. Instead, the inside was rebuilt in a modern and revolutionary way causing lots of critics and complaints by the Genovese.

Stepping out Carlo Felice theatre, you turn right and walk through Via XXV Aprile as far as Piazza Fontane Marose leading us to one of the most beautiful and ancient roads in Italy: Via Garibaldi.

Here splendid buildings, built by the noblest and richest families, follow one another hiding superb gardens and courts.

The most well known buildings are Palazzo Tursi, where is the City Town Hall, and Palazzo Rosso and Bianco, both seats of important museums, donated by the aristocratic members of the high social, economical and political class in Genoa. Indeed, during their lives, they used to commit and collect worthy paintings, which celebrated the families' power and the importance of our city.

Famous painters such as Anton Van Dyck and Rubens, Piola and Strozzi enriched churches and palaces with their masterpieces, most of them still well preserved in these public art galleries, which also boast their luxurious furnishings helping you to imagine how the aristocrat lived once.


Every year this part of the historical centre is cheered up by Carnival Parades, which floats through the large streets and narrow lanes and courts.


Our tour can keep on towards another remarkable street: Via Balbi, which unfortunately is very busy, also because there is a big part of the universities in Genova.

Going up towards Principe railway station, you can't miss a visit to the Royal Palace, built in the XVII century.


Palazzo Reale (the Royal Palace)


At this point, after this long walk, I advise you to find an accommodation in one of the numerous little towns on the sea. You can choose among: Recco, Camogli, S. Margherita, Portofino.

This is the pearl of the Tigullio Gulf and one of the most romantic and beautiful spots in the world.

Its blue and green sea, its colourful little houses and its luxurious vegetation attract more and more tourists, yacht men and honeymooners in every season.

"There the sun always shines"




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  Text: Copyright © 2005 Paola Carroli - All rights reserved.
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