9 unmissable places to see in Genoa, Italy

9 lugares para ver en Génova
Redactora / Travel writer

Genoa or Genova, as its name is actually in Italian, is a city located in the coastal region of the Ligurian Sea, region of which it is the capital. It is located in the northern part of the European country and part of its history is closely linked to the sea, a story that can be seen and known as each of its streets is walked.

Liguria is a region of Italy well known for the peoples that make up Cinque Terre, a part of the country that inspired the location where the story of the Disney movie Luca takes place. Although these five towns are one of the most important attractions that the region has, the capital city is not far behind with its history, its treasures, its nature and the landscapes. It is a town that is between the sea and the mountain, and that is what also gives it part of its charm and has managed to amaze people from different places, at different times.

Places to see in Genoa - Piazza de Ferrari
9 places to see in Genoa
Image via VisitGenoa

Knowing a new city generates that emotion in the stomach of not knowing very well what you are going to find or where to start to visit it so as not to miss anything, and of course that intensifies depending on the time you have. For this reason, we put together this list of places to see in Genoa so that when you arrive in this beautiful city in Italy, you know which are the places that you cannot miss and you get used to the idea of things with which you can find, and still you can be surprised.

In case this is not your first visit, we leave you the list so that you can cross out the places that you have already seen and that you recommend us which ones you think are the ones that nobody can miss on their next visit.

9 places to see in Genoa

The capital of Liguria has magnificent places, and so that you don’t miss out on anything important, here we made a list of 9 places to see in Genoa that you cannot miss, see and enjoy.

1- Old Port

The old port, or Porto Antico, is one of the places you have to see in Genoa, it is one of the most important spaces in the city, a place where the modern part is complemented with the old to this part . Also, thanks to the fixes and the different recovery works that have been carried out, it looks amazing.

Throughout its history, the port has had great importance for the city, mainly in commercial terms, and it still does today. Next to the sea, it was restored in 1992 by Renzo Piano, a renowned Genoese architect, and usually hosts various events and cultural activities in the city. In addition, there are places such as the Genoa Aquarium, the Biosphere , the Galata Museum of the Sea, among other things.

Among some of the things that can be seen and enjoyed in this part of Genoa are fairs, live performances, opportunities to sail, cultural events and tourists from different parts of the world who come to know.

9 places to see in Genoa: Old Port

2- Doge’s Palace

Among the list of places you have to see in Genoa is the Doge’s Palace, or Palazzo Ducale , one of the most iconic historical sites in the entire city. It was built in 1298 , at which time the capital of Liguria established itself as an economic powerhouse of the Mediterranean Sea.

The palace is located right in the center of the city, on top of the San Domenico hill, and has two different entrances and facades s. One of them is located in Piazza Matteotti, being the main one, and the other is in Piazza De Ferrari. Since a remodeling that was carried out in 1591, the building has a monumental structure, with an atrium that has a patio on each side and a large staircase.

For six centuries, the Ducal Palace was the seat of the duchy of the former Republic of Genoa and after a period of neglect, it was restructured and opened to the public in 1992. Today It is a cultural site where different art shows, conferences, series of talks and meetings, festivals, exhibitions and various educational activities are held.

This site that you have to see in your visit to Genoa has an exterior of 35 thousand square meters and includes several medieval buildings that have been added over time.

3- Aquarium of Genoa

If we talk about places to see in Genoa you cannot one of the largest aquariums in the entire European continent , that is to say the Aquarium of Genoa. It was inaugurated in 1992, and has 71 tanks and more than 15,000 animals of 400 different species . It is located in the Old Port of the city, on the Spinola Pier, a few steps from the Genova Plaza Príncipe station.

This space has 27,000 square meters of surface that allow you to travel through the different seas of the world without leaving Genoa. Those who decide to visit it will be able to meet dolphins, sharks, penguins, Antarctic animals, tropical fish, seals and many more species.

9 places to see in Genoa: Aquarium of Genoa

The tour of all the facilities can be done in approximately three hours and offers a “completely immersive” experience in the marine world. It should be borne in mind that year after year the institution incorporates new spaces so that visitors can meet and be surprised, giving them a lot of excitement while teaching them things during their walk there.

4- Historic Center

The Historic Center of the city of Genoa is a space enjoyed both by its residents and by people who travel from different parts of the world to see it. C has 42 palaces that were restored and valued , and it is considered to have incomparable artistic and architectural value. In fact, since 2006, this space known as “Strade Nouve” (New Streets) is part of the list of sites that are considered World Heritage by UNESCO.

This area of ​​the city is the one that is found from the port to the inner part of the city, full of narrow streets that connect as if they were a labyrinth that lead to squares, temples or larger streets. It is advisable to walk through it to appreciate the medieval alleys, and let yourself get lost until you reach one of the palaces or squares.

There you can find different inns where people who get to know the place and want to get into the local culture will be able to try typical dishes of Genoa. There are also several bars where musical groups usually play, and shops of all kinds.

5- Museums of Strada Nuova

The Museums of Strada Nuova are a group of institutions in the city of Genoa that you cannot miss. They are located in the historic center of the capital of Liguria and it is divided into three sections where each of them corresponds to a different palace. On the one hand is the Palazzo Rosso, on the other the Palazzo Bianco and the third is the Palazzo Tursi, and each of them is intended for something different.

The Palazzo Rosso was the residence of the Brignole Sale family and there you can find paintings that were collected for more than two centuries by this family. In addition, you can also find very beautiful furniture and frescoes by important 17th century painters. Some of the artists whose works can be found there are Durer, Varonese, Van Dyck, among others.

Another of these institutions that you have to see in Genoa is the Palazzo Tursi . In this space are the mayor’s offices and it also has the Palazzo Bianco Pinacoteca exhibition rooms. In this space, those who visit it will be able to find different pieces such as the Guarneri del Gesú, a violin that belonged to Paganini, samples of decorative art and the collection of official coins of the former Republic of Genoa.

In the Palazzo Bianco , for their part, people will find a collection of Genoese, Italian and European paintings belonging to the period between the 16th and 18th centuries. There you can find works by Caravaggio, Varonese, Jean Provost, Rubens, Steen and Murillo, among others.

6- Castello d’Albertis

The castle of D’albertis or Castello d’Albertis is also known as the Museum of world cultures . It was built at the end of the 19th century, between the years 1886 and 1892. The space was donated by Captain Enrico Alberto D’Albertis, it is one of the panoramic points that the city has and without a doubt one of the places that you have to see in Genoa.

Places to see in Genoa: Castello D'Albertis
9 places to see in Genoa: Castello D’Albertis
Image via Museos de Génova

It was in 1932 when the Castle was donated to the city of Genoa and since 2004 the Museum of World Cultures o has been located there. There is a collection of ethnographic and archaeological objects that were collected by Captain D’Albertis in his different trips between 1800 and 1900. This place has a neo-Gothic architectural style, and in it you can see the love that its owner had for evil, and the curiosity he had for the unknown and unexplored.

People who decide to visit this historic place, as one of the must-see places in Genoa, will find other collections, in addition to the D’Albertis objects, which were acquired by the city during the last century. These samples are presented in context with the community to which they belong and in dialogue with them.

7- Genoa Lantern Lighthouse

This Lighthouse, also known simply as Lantern or Lanterna, was built, at least as it is known today, in the year 1543 and is located in the port of the city. It is considered one of the most important points of the city, a key symbol, and that is why it is a place that you have to know and see in Genoa.

This historical symbol has a height of 117 meters above sea level, where 77 meters are those that constitute the tower, from the base to the roof of the dome, and the other 40 correspond to the promontory . People who visit it will have the possibility to go up to the first terrace and have a privileged view of the city and the port, after walking on the 172 steps.

The first reference that exists of the first construction of the lighthouse is of 1128 and it was further from the city. Then in 1543 it was rebuilt and took the form in which it is known today. In addition, next to it there is a multimedia museum that has about 150 videos that tell the history, culture, art and traditions of this Italian city. A site that you have to see in Genoa and that will give you a different look.

8- Piazza de Ferrari

Piazza de Ferrar is located in the center of the city of Genoa, between the historic center and the modern center . In fact, it is the most important square in the capital of Liguria. Among the most characteristic elements of this square is its bronze fountain , designed by the architect Cesare Crosa di Vergagni in 1936.

Next to the square there are other emblematic sites to see in Genoa such as the T eatro Carlo Felice and the Accademia Linguistica di Belle Arti, the Palazzo Ducale, the Palazzo della Nuova Borsa, and the stock exchange building . In addition, it is also surrounded by office buildings and the headquarters of different banks, which is why locals often refer to this part of the city as the “city”.

Places to see in Genoa - Piazza de Ferrari
9 places to see in Genoa – Piazza de Ferrari
Image via VisitGenoa

This square is usually chosen for large events or demonstrations, and its name is to pay tribute to Raffaele De Ferrari , a Duke of Galliera who donated a large sum of money so that the city expanded its port in 1875.

9- Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi is one of the most important streets in Genoa and the longest in the historic center of this town. Originally it was known as Strada Maggiore, then it was renamed Strada Nuova. However, until the 19th century it was known as Via Aurea, until 1882 when it was renamed to pay homage to Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Since 2006, it has been part of the list of sites that are considered World Heritage Sites by Unesco , along with several palaces. It is a site that you have to see in Genoa because it is where you can witness the imposing palaces that were built there throughout history, elements that contribute to making it one of the most beautiful streets in the country.

It is a street that surprises step by step due to the majesty of its buildings and how they have been preserved over time to be able to admire them today. Although there are different ways to get around the city, walking through here will allow you to see one of the corners of the city in Genoa and, probably, the whole of Italy.

Places to see in Genoa
9 Places to see in Genoa
Photo by Jessie Brown on Unsplash

These are our recommendations of the places you cannot miss in Genoa the next time you visit the Italian region of Liguria. If you’ve already been there and want to recommend someone else, you can tell us in the comments 😉

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