9 Things to See and Do in Genoa, Italy

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Genoa is a bustling city and the capital of the Italian region of Liguria. Holding the title of Italy’s sixth-largest city, Genoa boasts impressive landmarks and a bright past.

The city is rich in history, culture, and art. Located in the heart of the Italian Riviera, this is where the famous explorer Christopher Columbus was born.

genoa italy pixabay
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/dexmac)

The city’s native musical composers also add value to its impressive musical history, among other things.

Genoa is considered a first-class tourist destination, and you’ll quickly find out why. It has several stunning palaces, neighborhoods, magnificent churches, and plenty of opportunities for retail therapy.   

Without further ado, here are nine of the best places to explore while in Genoa, Italy.

1. Porta Soprana

porta soprana genoa italy
(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/StefanoPiemonte)

In the past, Genoa had huge walls surrounding the city. With time, these walls continued to expand, becoming the longest city walls in the country. While much of these ancient walls have been destroyed, some parts remain in an area by the Porta Soprana gatehouse. This spot is visible from many parts of the city.

Highlight: This stunning location provides wonderful photo opportunities.

2. Piazza De Ferrari

genoa italy fountain piazza de ferrari
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/dexmac)

Piazza De Ferrari is situated in the middle of the city and offers interesting sights. It is also famous for its large, symmetrically-shaped fountain, which was renovated in recent years.

There are many buildings around the Piazza, including the Carlo Felice Theater, the Palace of the Doges, and the Genoa Stock Exchange.

Tip: Throw coins in the fountain or relax outside a café for some people watching. 

3. San Lorenzo Cathedral

san lorenzo cathedral genoa italy
(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/cormac70)

San Lorenzo Cathedral is known as “Genoa Cathedral” by the locals. The church is large and magnificent in structure. It was built using striped marbles in various shades of pink, green, black, and white.

The bright colors add to the already stunning beauty of the church… but don’t put your camera away just yet. Once inside, you’ll find an incredible ceiling, richly decorated with colored artwork and frescos.

Tip: Take a seat to pray, or simply reflect in the beauty surrounding you. 

4. Piazza Matteotti

Piazza Matteotti genoa italy
(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/magro_kr)

Located next to the Piazza de Ferrari, this location offers amazing historical sights. At one end lies the Doges Palace, while at the other is the stunning San Lorenzo Cathedral.

There are local markets and restaurants to enjoy in the area as well.

Tip: Wine, furniture, food, and ceramics are available for purchase in the open markets.

READ MORE: 5 Things To Do in Rome During a Cruise

5. Genoa Aquarium

genoa italy aquarium
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/mirkobozzato)

You can find this aquarium in the main harbor area. It is considered to have the largest number of aquatic species in Europe. The Genoa Aquarium has 71 tanks with 15,000 aquatic animals.

The tanks and the displays are well-maintained and mimic the ideal habitat for each species. 

Highlight: Learn about species of sharks, fish, and more with an amazing view of the Gulf of Genoa.

6. Forte Begato

Forte Begato genoa italy
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Bbruno)

Built in 1818, Forte Begato still stands tall. This fort is situated on the top of a mountain in the northern area of Genoa. It was made for defensive purposes, which later proved non-essential. After that, it was used as a prison.

Though closed on the inside to the public, visitors can still enjoy its fascinating exterior view. 

Tip: Hike up to the top of Forte Begato and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.

7. Genoa Maritime Museum

genoa maritime museum submarine
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/Gary Bembridge)

Genoa’s Navy forces once held great power, so it’s no surprise as to why the largest maritime museum in Europe resides in this city.

With four floors of exhibitions and historical artifacts, the Genoa Maritime Museum is both an interesting and educational experience worth checking out. 

The exhibits throughout the museum are incredibly interesting. In one room, many different atlases and globes are displayed, while in another, you’ll find an old galley ship. Other rooms have naval instruments and shipwreck artifacts on display.

Highlights: You can explore a military submarine in one of the docks.

8. Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi genoa italy
(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/damian entwistle)

Take a walk down the streets of Via Garibaldi, which are lined with absolutely incredible architecture. This province is very famous in Genoa due to the 42 palaces in the area, including the Palazzo Rosso, the Palazzo Bianco, the Palazzo Pantaleo, and the Palazzo Doria Tursi.

Highlights: Rossi, Tursi, and Bianco are open to the public. Inside you can see many wonderful art collections reflecting the history of Genoa.

9. Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art

Museo d'Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Daderot)

The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art is situated in the center of Villetta di Negro Park near the Piazza del Portello. It has the largest collection of Asian art in the area and is very different from other museums in the city. It also displays a large collection of Japanese masks.

Tours can be booked in advance, and it is recommended to visit in the morning, as the crowds will be much smaller. 

Highlights: Japanese armor and weapons, Buddhist sculptures, and Asian paintings.

READ MORE: 5 Things to Do in Venice By Cruise Ship

Though Genoa is not as widely visited as other Italian cities, there is much to explore within it, including gorgeous architecture and extensive museums. It is definitely worth a visit. 

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