10 Things to Do in Genoa in a Day, Italy

10 Things to Do in Genoa in a Day, Italy

In Genoa, you can admire some of the grandest buildings and palaces in Europe, many of which date back to the Middle Ages. In this thriving port, it’s worth walking the “caruggi,” the distinctive streets that run through the historic center and lead to many of Genoa’s architectural gems, from Renaissance palaces to Romanesque cathedrals, from art museums to picturesque squares.

For dinner, you have a choice: you can taste fresh fish and the indispensable pesto sauce in historic restaurants as well as in more familiar taverns. Being close to the center, you can spend the day on the beach in the picturesque seaside village of Boccadasse. Read our guide to find out what not to miss in Colombo’s hometown.

1. Start the day in Piazza San Matteo: see the remains of ancient nobles in the Church of San Matteo

Piazza San Matteo is adorned by the church of the same name, once a noble chapel of the Doria family, founded in the 12th century. This small square in the historic center had in the past a strategic importance as the operating base of an ancient noble family. Today there are many palaces still belonging to these aristocrats, all characterized by black and white stone facades and friezes decorated with bas-reliefs. The Church of San Matteo is a family funerary chapel that houses relics, artifacts and tombs. Not far from here you can also admire the grandiose Church of Gesù e Santi Ambrogio e Andrea, one of the oldest churches in Genoa. Built in the 6th century, it is decorated with Baroque marble, sculptures and paintings, and an impressive gilded fresco on the vault.

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1. Start the day in Piazza San Matteo: see the remains of ancient nobles in the Church of San Matteo

Explore the historic center of Genoa: admire the frescos and reliefs of Genoa’s most famous saint

Walking through the historic center of Genoa, you can go through different styles and eras . The city boasts one of the largest historic centers in Europe, surrounded by medieval gates: Porta dei Vacca and Porta Soprana, and inside there are large squares with sumptuous palaces, cathedrals, arch ruins and medieval streets. Perpetuate the walls and doors of historic buildings in the historic center and have fun looking for the many images of St. George slaying the dragon.

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Explore the historic center of Genoa: admire the frescos and reliefs of Genoa’s most famous saint

3. don’t miss the Aquarium of Genoa: climb the Bigo to admire Genoa from above

The Genoa Aquarium, located in the Old Port of Genoa, is one of the largest aquariums in Europe . Its enormous tanks cover more than 3,000 square meters and are home to more than 12,000 species of animals and plants from around the world, including endangered dolphins, penguins, sharks and manatees. Admission to the Genoa Aquarium costs about 26 euros for adults and 18 euros for children. Purchasing the Acquario Village package for about 52 euros gives you access to all the attractions surrounding the aquarium. Don’t miss the ride on the Bigo elevator, which offers a breathtaking view of the city of Genoa from a height of 40 meters.

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3. don’t miss the Aquarium of Genoa: climb the Bigo to admire Genoa from above

4. the Strada Nuova Museums Tour: discover 18th century clothing in the Palazzo Bianco Civic Textile collections

The Strada Nuova Museums is a museum itinerary that brings together 3 buildings in Genoa that have been recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Turci. These historical monuments, located on Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi), represent an impressive collection of Italian art, fashion, culture and history. With a ticket of about 9 euros you can get access to all 3 palaces with their exhibitions. Palazzo Tursi, seat of the municipality of Genoa and also used for many cultural events and festivals, collects exceptional examples of fine art and coins, a collection of official measures and weights of the ancient Republic of Genoa. Stroll along Garibaldi Street and stop to listen to a street musician or discover the waterfall inside the building.

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4. the Strada Nuova Museums Tour: discover 18th century clothing in the Palazzo Bianco Civic Textile collections

5. Eat at the Oriental Market: taste the specialties of this 19th-century market

The Oriental Market is a historic market with hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce and typical local delicacies. Founded in 1899, it is certainly one of the oldest stores in Genoa. Here you can choose from many varieties of cheese, meats and cured meats, homemade pasta and the inevitable pesto sauce. The Oriental Market is usually very busy on weekends, so we recommend visiting on weekdays if you prefer a quieter atmosphere.

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5. Eat at the Oriental Market: taste the specialties of this 19th-century market

6. Don’t miss San Lorenzo Cathedral: this gothic art gem keeps the Holy Grail inside

San Lorenzo Cathedral, located in the square of the same name, is one of the oldest churches in Genoa . Founded in 1098, it was built in different historical periods, so today it displays different architectural styles: Gothic, Byzantine, Romanesque and Renaissance. Inside there are chapels and altars from the fourteenth century, one of which holds the ashes of San Giovanni Battista. In the basement you can visit the Treasure Museum, which houses silver, jewels and artifacts such as gold crucifixes, the Sacro Catino (which is supposedly the Holy Grail) and the San Giovanni plate. Admission to the cathedral is free, and a museum ticket costs about 6 euros.

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6. Don’t miss San Lorenzo Cathedral: this gothic art gem keeps the Holy Grail inside

7. Classical music in Piazza de Ferrari: performance of classical music and dance in the Opera House of Genoa

The Piazza de Ferrari is the main square of the city of Genoa, surrounded by nineteenth-century buildings with neo-Baroque and libertine architecture. In the center of the square there is a Gothic fountain, which is appreciated by fans of photography, especially at sunset. The Teatro Carlo Felice, the opera house of Genoa, puts on symphonic music and classical ballets all year round. Art lovers can visit the Academy of Fine Arts Ligustica, the Academy of Fine Arts and the museum, which features works by famous Italian artists such as Fiasella, Borzone and Nomellini.

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7. Classical music in Piazza de Ferrari: performance of classical music and dance in the Opera House of Genoa

8. Aperitif in Piazza delle Erbe: have a good beer and try some Genoese focaccia

After a day spent outdoors, you deserve a good aperitif . The ideal place to have a drink, fully immersed in the typical Genoese atmosphere, is definitely Piazza delle Erbe. Choose one of the many places and sit down: you will have a wide selection of drinks at your disposal, as well as the typical focaccia, cheeses, meats and flans. It’s a very popular place, a stone’s throw from Piazza de Ferrari, and one of the beating hearts of the historic center. While sipping a drink, you can also admire the 19th-century palaces towering over this historic square.

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8. Aperitif in Piazza delle Erbe: have a good beer and try some Genoese focaccia

9. Try the typical Genoese pesto.

Genoa is the birthplace of pesto, a sauce that can’t be missing from the menus of the city’s restaurants. There are many recipes for making this delicious condiment, one of the most reliable reports is that true pesto can be obtained from a mixture of Sardinian pecorino, aged Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, basil from Praia, pine nuts and coarse salt. In mid-March, the city hosts the World Pesto Championship at the historic Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Matteotti. 100 contestants from around the world gather to make pesto the Genoese way, strictly following traditional methods. Trattoria della Raibetta is an eighteenth-century restaurant known for its trenette, a homemade first course based on whole-grain pasta, pesto, potatoes and string beans.

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9. Try the typical Genoese pesto.

10. End the day at Boccadasse

Boccadasse is a typical fishermen village located about 3 km east of Genoa. One of the main attractions is the collection of pastel-colored houses overlooking the sea.

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On the promenade next to the pebble beach there are fish restaurants, bars and ice-cream parlors. Given its proximity to the city, the Genoese appreciate it as a place for a relaxing weekend trip. Visit the beach at sunset for spectacular views.

Best 10 things to do and see in Genoa

Top 10 things to do and see in Genoa in a day

Best 10 things to do and see in Genoa

Video: Sightseeing in Italy. Top 10: Colosseum, Pantheon, Leaning Tower of Pisa. 2022, September.

Genoa is a beautiful port city located in northern Italy, on the Ligurian coast. It is the birthplace of the famous explorer Christopher Columbus and violin virtuoso and composer Niccolò Paganini. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do and see on your travels in Genoa.

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Take a walk down the historic Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi, also known as “Strada Nuova”, is definitely the first street you should visit in Genoa. A World Heritage Site since 2006, it has been around since the 16th century and is full of beautiful palaces, historic apartments and museums. It served as home to Genoa’s wealthiest families and now includes the charming Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Turci. Because of the many museums and palaces located on Via Garibaldi, the street is often referred to as the “Strada Museum”.

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Via Garibaldi, Genoa, Italy, + 39 010 839 2848

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Visit the Acquario di Genova

The Aquarium of Genoa is one of a kind. Known as the best and largest aquarium in Europe, it is home to about 15,000 animals belonging to 400 species: penguins, dolphins, sharks, reptiles, amphibians and birds. What is even more unique is that it is the only aquarium in Europe with Antarctic fish species. It is part of Costa Edutaiment’s Acquario Village world. The standard visit is two hours and 30 minutes.

Acquario di Genova, Piazza Porto Anti – Ponte Spinola, Genoa, Italy, +39 010 23451

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The Dialogo del Buio experience.

This exhibition or experience, entitled “dialogue in the dark”, takes you on an extraordinary journey without any lights to see where you are going and what is happening to you. The guides reproduce everyday events and situations to make you understand how your vision changes your perception of reality around you. The purpose of the exhibition is to explore the multisensory dimension and is part of an international project. It is closed on Mondays.

Dialogo nel Buio, opposite the Museo del Mare, Calada de Mari, Genoa, Italy

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Holiday in Boccadasse

Boccadasse, the old seamen’s district in Genoa, is the most picturesque part of the city. It is located near the east side of Corso Italia (three kilometers) and on a beach with pebbles instead of sand. Called the “fishermen’s district”, it represents the most romantic view of the sea and the city. Boccadasse is also famous for its old school, colorful fishing boats and fine fish restaurants.

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Take the Bigot elevator.

This unique and strange modern construction was designed by architect Renzo Piano and is located next to the water next to hundreds of boats and ships. The elevator takes you 40 meters up to show a stunning view of the city, and especially of the old port. It also turns around, allowing you to admire the whole panorama of Genoa and explains in several languages what you are looking at, thus introducing you to the history of the city. The elevator is open every day except in winter when it is only open on weekends.

Bigo, Port Antti (Old Port), Genoa, Italy, +39 010 248 5711

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Watch the play at the Teatro della Gioventù

Rated as the best theater in Genoa, this “Teatro della Gioventù” is known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, as well as the excellent participation of its artistic staff. The theater focuses on international comedies such as those created by Woody Allen, Ray Cooney, Francis Weber or Georges Feydeau.

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Teatro della Gioventù, Via Cesarea 16, Genoa, Italy, +39 010 8981177

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Visit the Galata Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum of Genoa presents the history of navigation and boasts accurate and scientific reconstructions of ship models and instruments. The 24 exhibition rooms as well as the large terrace offer permanent exhibitions and several temporary ones illustrating various naval voyages and the impact of technology on their successes or failures. The itinerary is organized chronologically, with the first two floors displaying the history of revolutionary geographic exploration and the third floor devoted to transatlantic migrations.

Galata Museo del Mare, Calata de Mari 1, Genoa, Italy, +39 010 234 5655

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Walk to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo

The cathedral in Genoa, near Piazza de Ferrari and Palazzo Ducale, was built in early medieval times, along with ancient Roman ruins and pre-Christian sarcophagi. The interior of the church is for the most part Mannerist and Baroque, designed between the 14th and 16th centuries. Artistic moments include Lazzaro Tavarone’s “Martyrdom of St. Lawrence,” which can be admired in the presbyters’ vault. Beneath the cathedral you can visit the Treasury Museum, which features a valuable collection of historic silver and jewelry.

San Lorenzo Cathedral, Piazza San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy

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Hang in Piazza de Ferrari

This most popular piazza in Genoa is the perfect place for a tourist photo op, a lunch break or an evening stroll. In its center you will see a beautiful fountain that has recently been restored, and the houses around the square are full of good restaurants, souvenir stores and bars. Next to the square is Palazzo Ducale, now a museum and center for many cultural exhibitions.

Piazza de Ferrari, Genoa, Italy, +39 010 557111

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Visiting Palazzo Reale.

Palazzo Reale is owned by several aristocratic families as their residence and cultural salon, such as the two dynasties from Genoa, the Balbi and Durazzo and the famous House of Savoy. Today, the decor and furnishings inside the palace are 17th-century originals. The rooms feature collections of local Genovese and Rococo artists, as well as other Italian and foreign artists of the period. The palace is closed to visitors on Mondays.

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