Experience Christopher Columbus’s Old World in Genoa, Italy
It’s not Rome or Venice, but Genoa is definitely one of Italy’s hidden travel gems that should not be missed. As the capital city of the region, Liguria, in northwestern Italy, Genoa is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, offering a blend of old world charm and modern attractions.
When you travel to Genoa, you will discover a classic Italian city set amid rolling green hills and stuffed with stunning old churches, Baroque palaces, Roman ruins, hanging gardens and multicolored houses with terra cotta roofs.
If you do nothing else here, you must take a stroll through Genoa’s Old Town, which is regarded as the largest historic center in Europe. Meander along the winding, narrow streets called carrugia and admire the magnificent architecture. Visit the house acclaimed as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Browse among the quaint boutiques for a bargain. Take a break and relax in the lovely Piazza de Ferrari. Step into one of the cafes and sample Genoa’s local specialties of pesto and focaccia.
Down the hill from the historic center is the Old Harbor, which dates back centuries as an important trade port. Docked with colorful fishing boats, yachts, ferries and cruise liners, the Old Harbor sports a new facelift of modern features that include a trendy marina, maritime museums, bars, shops, cafes, a movie cinema, luxury villas and a promenade. Also located here is Europe’s largest aquarium containing hundreds of ocean species.
You don’t want to overlook the Mercato Orientale, a fabulous food market held inside the walls of an old monastery. Here, you can browse from one stall after another checking out the variety of cheeses, meats, seafood, fresh bread, vegetables and fruits.
Genoa’s shining symbol is its historic lighthouse, La Lanterna, which stands 249 feet upon a rock. You can climb the 172 steps leading up to the terrace and enjoy amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Arts and Culture
Arts and culture lovers will find a wide selection of art galleries and museums in Genoa covering art, archaeology, history and culture of the region. A few of the most distinguished are the Sea Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts and the Ligurian Archaeological Museum.
Parks and Gardens
If you want to enjoy the scenic outdoors and fresh air, Genoa offers several public parks such as the Villeta Di Negro, which is situated within the Old Town. Outside the historic center, the Parks of Nervi are much bigger with plenty of leisure activities and views of the sea. The Villa Durazzo Pallavicini features beautiful gardens where you can stroll about and relax.
With a variety of pubs, clubs and discotheques, you will find plenty of nightlife choices in Genoa.
Summers in Genoa are long, hot and humid while winters are mild and sometimes windy with scarce snowfall.
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