Genoa travel guide

View from Lanterna Genoa

Genoa (Genova in Italian) is both the capital of the province of the same name and of the region of Liguria. It is the sixth largest city in Italy in terms of population and has a densely populated center. It is the main port of the region and the old lighthouse called Lanterna is therefore the symbol of the city. Genoa has almost 600 thousand inhabitants.

Genoa travel guide

Useful information

View from Lanterna Genoa
Panoramic view from the Lanterna

Tourist office: The tourist information office is called IAT (tel. +39 0105572903) and is located in Via Garibaldi, 12. It is open every day from 09:00 to 18:20. In total there are four tourist information offices in Genoa. There is one at the airport (tel. +39 010 5572903; hours 09:00 till 22:20), one at the old port (Via al Porto Antico 2; tel. +39 010 5572903; hours 09:00 till 18:20) and one at the Stazione Marittima cruise harbor (address: Ponte dei Mille; hours 08:30 till 14:30).

Town hall: Palazzo Tursi in via Garibaldi 9 (tel. 010 557111).

Region: Liguria. Province: Genova. ZIP code: 16121 to 16167. Area code: (+39) 010.

By car/public transport

By car: The A7 freeway leads from Milan south to Genoa. From Alessandria follow the E25 to Voltri and then the E80 or the SS1 (the old Roman Via Aurelia) to the east. From Rome, Pisa and Livorno follow the E80 or SS1 north. From Ventimiglia, San Remo and Savona also take the E80 or SS1. The SS45 leads to Piacenza.

Public transportation: The nearest airport is the one at Sestri Ponente and is called Aeroporto Cristoforo Colombo. There are good train connections to the other major cities and to many smaller municipalities in the area. The two major stations are called Genova Piazza Principe and Genova Brignole. The city’s port is the most important in the area. Local public transport is provided by the AMT company except for regional trains and some ferries. There is a metro and bus system as well as funiculars and even public elevators.

What to see

Palazzo Podestà Genoa
Palazzo Podestà

Most of Genoa’s attractions are located in the historic center, which is built against the hills surrounding the harbor. This center is bordered by the Via Garibaldi, the Piazza De Ferrari and the harbor itself. It consists of a maze of (sometimes extremely) narrow streets and alleys called carugi. A separate area consists of the so-called Strade Nuove. These form a district built in the 16th century, where only the well-to-do part of the population lived.

The Cathedral of Genoa is dedicated to San Lorenzo. Other beautiful churches include the Santi Cosma and Damiano Church, the San Donato Church, the Santa Maria di Castello Monastery and the Sant’Andrea Monastery. Piazza Sarzano is the main square. The Palazzo Doria, the Palazzo Ducale, the Palazzo Reale, the Palazzo Grimaldi-Doria-Tursi and the Palazzo San Giorgio are the most important historical buildings. Marco Polo was once held prisoner in this last palace. The city’s old lighthouse, now transformed onto a museum, is called Lanterna and is considered the symbol of Genoa.

The city’s Acquarium is one of the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe.

A brief history of Genoa

The originally Ligurian city of Genoa was conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. In the 8th century the city became a powerful Maritime Republic. After initial victories against Pisa and Venice, the city was defeated by the latter and a period of decline began. From then on, several periods of oppression by the French followed.

Genoa Events and festivals

The main festival of the city is the Palio Remiero dei Rioni, held every year on June 29. This is a rowing competition between the different districts of the city. The Regata Storica delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare is held alternately in Venice, Pisa, Amalfi and Genoa. This boat race between the four former maritime republics is preceded by a parade in historic costumes. In 2018 it was Genoa‘s turn again to organize this rowing competition.