Most of Genoa‘s tourist attractions are located in the historic center, which is built against the hills surrounding the harbor. This center is bordered by the Via Garibaldi, Piazza De Ferrari and the harbor itself. It is a maze of narrow streets and alleys called carugi. The so-called Strade Nuove form a district built for the wealthy part of the population in the 16th century.
Tourist attractions Genoa
Strade Nuove and Palazzi dei Rolli
In the 16th century, a number of streets were built in Genoa with the intention of housing the city’s influential (and wealthy) families. In the absence of a Royal Palace, these families were expected to accommodate royal visitors in exchange. The palaces that these families built along these streets are therefore, without exception, of great architectural splendor. The main streets were called the Strade Nuove. The palaces were given the title Palazzi dei Rolli.
Contrary to what one might expect from a street built especially for the rich, Via Garibaldi is not very wide. The main buildings along the street are the Palazzo Rosso, the Palazzo Bianco and the Palazzo Tursi. With a combination ticket it is possible to visit the art collections in these palaces.
The Lanterna is a lighthouse in Genoa and is considered a symbol of the city. The building is 76 meters high, making it the second tallest lighthouse in Europe. The current structure was built in 1543. At the base of the tower is the Museo della Lanterna. Those willing to climb 172 steps are rewarded with a magnificent view of the city.
Piazza de Ferrari
The Piazza de Ferrari is the central square of Genoa. It is in this square that the old and the modern city meet. The Via XX Settembre, which runs east from the square, is the artery of the new part of the city. The square is surrounded by a number of monumental, historic buildings. The most notable ones are the Palazzo Ducale, the Teatro Carlo Felice and the back of the Sant’Ambrogio Church.
Piazza Matteotti is located immediately southwest of Piazza de Ferrari. Here one can admire another facade of the Palazzo Ducale, as well as the Santi Ambrogio and Andrea Church, which was built between 1588 and 1637. The later-built facade is based on drawings by Rubens, two of whose paintings are also on display in the church. Via Via Tommaso Regio one arrives at the Sant’Andrea Church, with a crypt containing the tomb of Andrea Doria.
San Lorenzo Cathedral
The San Lorenzo Cathedral is among the city’s most famous landmarks. Although the church was consecrated as early as 1118, it took several more centuries for the construction to be completely finished. After the First Crusade, the remains of John the Baptist were brought to the cathedral to be reburied in a sarcophagus in the San Giovanni Battista Chapel. Also on display is the shell that struck the church in World War II but did not explode.
House of Columbus
The house of Christopher Columbus is located near the old Porta Soprana in Genoa and the central square Piazza Dante. Columbus was the son of Domenico and Susanna Fontanarossa, who moved in here when the son was four years old. There is a combo ticket for the house itself, the towers of the Porta Soprana mentioned above and the Sant’Agostino Museum.
The Castello D’Albertis towers over the harbor. It was built between 1886 and 1892 by Captain Enrico Alberto D’Albertis on the ruins of late medieval fortifications. Upon his death in 1932, the captain left both the castle itself and his collection of exotic objects, which led to the founding of the Museum of the Cultures of the World.
Santi Ambrogio and Andrea Church
The Santi Ambrogio and Andrea Church (Piazza Giacomo Matteotti) is a Jesuit church built between 1588 and 1637 in one of Genoa’s most beautiful squares. The Baroque interior is graced by several frescoes and by two canvases painted by Rubens. The facade, although built in the 19th century, was also made after drawings by Rubens.
Santa Maria di Castello Church and Convent
The Santa Maria di Castello Church (Salita Santa Maria di Castello, 15) is located in one of the oldest inhabited parts of the city. Between the 12th and 16th centuries, several churches and monasteries were built here. This 12th century church is the most impressive one, especially due to the beautiful frescoed cloister from which one overlooks the sea.
Genoa’s port area is no less than 22 kilometers long. When the Porto Vecchio became too small, the port had to be enlarged and facilities were built for trading as well as cruise ships. The Darsena is the name of the old shipyard that can still be visited. A great way to see it all is from one of the tour boats that sail along the coast. The Aquarium is located in the Porto Vecchio. It is the largest in Italy and was opened in 1992, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. The four-story Maritime Museum stands on the site of the former shipyard and shows the development of maritime navigation from the time of the voyages of discovery to the present.
Palazzo Spinola and the Galleria Nazionale
The Galleria Nazionale has its seat in the Palazzo Spinola (Piazza di Pellicceria, 1) in the city’s harbor district. In addition to the museum’s collection, which consists of Flemish painters and Italian artists of the Renaissance period, the interior of the palace itself is also worth seeing. The original painted ceilings, mosaic floors and richly decorated furniture can still be seen in the palace.
The Via Balbi was constructed in the early 17th century. The street begins more or less at the Santissima Annunziata Church. This street is also framed by historic buildings, although they are interspersed with ordinary stores. The most beautiful buildings are the Palazzo Balbi-Serenaga, the Palazzo dell’Università and especially the Palazzo Reale, which boasts a magnificent art collection. The latter is characterized by a garden terrace with a panorama over the harbor.
Oriental Art Museum
The Museo d’Arte Orientale is located in the Villetta di Negro Park. The nucleus of the collection consists of the collection of Edoardo Chiossone. The collection of Japanese art is particularly impressive, but there are also sculptures from China and Thailand, some dating back to far before the beginning of our era.