Attractions in Genoa to Visit

by gabrielelagona | April 6th, 2013

Not far from the French border, the city of Genoa shows off a different side of Italy.  Perhaps best known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the area is full of great attractions.  Historically, Genoa has played a major role in the region since medieval times and has a wealth of splendid architecture to show for it.  The city is also celebrated for its take on Italian cuisine and is credited for the creation of both pesto and focaccia.Genoa’s Mercato Orientale (Eastern Market) has long been a gathering place for both locals and tourists.  More than just a typical farmer’s market, visitors will be treated to a rainbow of farm fresh ingredients from all over Italy.  In addition to produce stalls, meat, fresh bread and street foods can be purchased at excellent prices.  Located right in central Genoa, the market is a must see for tourists.


Though Genoa boasts medieval roots, the city didn’t fully blossom until the age of exploration.  A major port for traders and seafarers, this chapter in Genoa’s history has left behind a series of breathtaking palazzos all around town.  To find the city’s highest concentration of beautiful homes, head to Le Strade Nuove (new streets).  Built in the 1500s to accommodate Genoa’s burgeoning upper class, the area has stood for nearly 400 years as the city’s most impressive neighbourhood.  Many of the palazzos are open to visitors, including Palazzo Lomellino.


Featuring a distinctive grey-blue facade, Lomellino consists of three magnificent floors and a raised garden. A shining example of renaissance architecture, no detail was too small for Lomellino’s original designer.  The palace has stayed relatively intact since it was built in the mid-1500s and is one of Genoa’s true highlights.


Genoa would not have risen to prominence had it not been for its port.  Recently, the city has made strides in preserving its heritage by renovating the area around its Porto Antico.  A mix of historic warehouses and modern street art, the Porto Antico illustrates how Genoa is evolving as a city.  The newly renovated space is now home to a number of galleries and exhibition centres and has become a haven for the arts and culture.


Located within the Porto Antico is the city’s aquarium.  Known as the Acquario di Genova, the modern family-friendly facility is also a research and learning centre.  Accommodating sea life originating from the tropics, cold water environments and the Mediterranean Sea, a visit to the aquarium makes a wonderful day out for families.


When visiting the Porto Antico, it will be hard to miss the lighthouse of Genoa.  Simply known of as La Lanterna locally, it is one of the oldest traditional lighthouses of its kind and has led sailors to port for the better part of 400 years.  Today, the lighthouse is still very much operational and welcomes tourists.  To get breathtaking views of the sea, scale the steps of the lighthouse up to the terrace which stands at over 75 metres above sea level.  Adjacent from the lighthouse is its museum that holds a lot of its related artefacts and provides visitors with an overview of the history of the port.


There are plenty of additional sights and attraction in and around Genoa.  Authentic Italian restaurants are never in short supply, and the city’s medieval centre is filled with historic cathedrals and architecture.  As a day or weekend trip, many visitors choose to visit the nearby Cinque Terre, an area of the country known for its exquisite beauty.


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