Located between the Ligurian Sea and the Apennines, the northern Italian port city of Genoa has a long history. This is partly due to its strategic location with regard to trade on the Mediterranean Sea. Over the centuries there has been a lot of violence through wars, uprisings and looting, but the city has survived. From the sixteenth century onwards, the city of Genoa has welcomed many artists, who settled temporarily and sometimes even permanently. Think of Van Dyck, Rubens and Pierre Puget. The impressive architecture, location and life there has often been a source of inspiration for beautiful works of art. According to A2z Camera Blog, the historic center with many medieval influences, impressive architecture and fascinating museums can count on thousands of visitors every year. The fact that the wanderlust Christopher Columbus was born here also creates a lot of curiosity. Beautiful squares, nostalgic neighborhoods, glorious architecture, a lighthouse and the colorful boats in the harbor immediately give you that wonderful holiday feeling.
Genoa ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. Palazzi dei Rolli
After many years of restoration, the Palazzi dei Rolli is back up and running and ready to be admired. This group of palaces has now been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and that is the crowning glory of the city’s work. The many palaces, stately mansions and other residences on Strade Nuova were inhabited by influential people from around the world. By following a tourist route along Via Garibaldi, Via Cairoli and Via Balbi you will pass the most impressive buildings of Palazzi dei Rolli.
#2. Duomo dei Genoa
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Genoa is also called ‘Cattedrale di San Lorenzo’. This cathedral has been the center of the city since the twelfth century. Over the centuries, the building has been modified and expanded regularly. Inside, you can admire works of art in the form of frescoes, sculptures, paintings and other religious art. In the cathedral’s museum you can admire jewellery, artifacts from the twelfth century and the Sacro Catino, which is considered a relic of Christ’s ‘Last Supper’.
#3. Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
Although the church was founded by the Franciscans as early as the sixteenth century, its neoclassical appearance today comes from the nineteenth century. Several artists subsequently contributed to the decoration of the Roman Catholic cathedral. Various passages from the Bible have been incorporated into the interior as works of art. Baroque ceiling frescoes, with the painted dome by Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo as an excellent example, are very impressive.
#4. Teatro Carlo Felice
The opera house of Genoa is located on the beautiful Piazza De Ferrari. The building was built around 1826 to a design by Carlo Barabino. This Italian architect is also responsible for the design of the Palazzo Dell’Accademia in Genoa. During the Second World War, the front of the opera house in particular was largely destroyed. Italian architect Carlo Scarpa was approached for the reconstruction. Unfortunately, he died before construction started, so the design of Aldo Rossi was taken to heart. The modern interior and renewed facade are thanks to him.
The best view of this district can be found on the promenade. From here you look out over the city, the sea and the harbor. The Pegli district, which is located in the west, is known for its stately mansions, luxury hotels, green parks and cozy restaurants. The various bathhouses still refer to the period in which this district was mainly known as a health resort. For others, the birth house of Pope Benedict XV is an excellent opportunity to visit the Pegli district.
#6. Piazza De Ferrari
For most people, this square is considered the most beautiful square in Genoa. Around the fountain you will find the Palazzo Ducale, the Palazzo Italia di Navigazione, Palazzo Dell’Academie, Teatro Carlo Felice and the Palazzo De Ferrari after whom the square is named. The majority of the buildings, which formed the financial heart of the city, have been gradually renovated. The equestrian statue in front of the opera house is an effigy of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
#7. La Lanterna
The lighthouse of Genoa is a characteristic building that fits perfectly with the city. It was built in 1543 replacing an older lighthouse. Because the La Lanterna was built on a rock, it is no less than 117 meters above sea level. By climbing some 172 steps you can enjoy a majestic view of the harbor and the old town at the top. In the adjacent lighthouse museum you can learn all about the lamps, the history, the traditions and many other stories that have influenced the city and the lighthouse.
#8. Castello d’Albertis
The former home of the Italian adventurous philanthropist and writer, Captain Enrico Alberto d’Albertis, is now an ethnographic museum. High above the city, the typical tower can be admired from several corners of the city. Various parts collected by Captain d’Albertis during his many travels are exhibited here. All kinds of objects, clothing, toys and weapons emphasize different cultures and the captain’s fascination with them.
#9. Via Garibaldi
Perhaps Via Garibaldi is the most beautiful street in Genoa. As part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it certainly has many historical sights to offer. The more than two hundred and fifty meters long street is filled with the most beautiful palaces, mansions and other stately residences of former influential residents of the city. Together they form the Palazzi dei Rolli of Genoa.
#10. Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno Many
fortunate people are buried in the historic cemetery of Genoa. The ‘Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno’ was founded in 1851 and is located in the Staglieno district. The imposing buildings show how influential or wealthy they were. One of the most famous statues in the cemetery is the ‘Angelo di Monteverde’. This marble statue from 1882 belongs to the tomb of the banking family Oneto.