Hidden away between the imposing mountain range and deep blue sea, the hilly terrain of Genoa is a sanctuary of winding streets filled elegant museums and one of a kind boutique stores. Stepping onto the cobbled streets of medieval ‘Old Town’ visitors are spoilt for choice with an abundance of independent restaurants, where traditional Italian dishes and fresh-caught sea food is a popular delicacy.
Squeezed in between the sea and the mountains, Genoa’s diverse range of hotels will suit visitors of all stripes. The slick NH Marina (Molo Ponte Calvi 5) located right on the water’s edge is a business-like affair. Individual balconies allow guests to take advantage of the view across the old harbour. To sample some of the grandeur of the city’s palazzos, try the five-star Grand Hotel Savoia (Via Arsenale di Terra 5). Located near the train station, rooms are decked out like galleons in a nod to the city’s nautical history. In the Boccadasse area, La Capannina (Via Tito Speri 7) has the amiable charm you’d expect from a family-run place, and won’t break the budget.
The winding streets of Genoa’s medieval Old Town are home to plenty of shops you won’t find elsewhere. Tucked down one of these is Polvere di Stelle (Via Ai Quattro Canti di San Francesco), an unassuming boutique that’s a treasure trove for wonderful vintage clothing. More modern fashions can be found at upmarket department store Coin (Via XX Settembre 16A). Foodies can discover a little of local life at the Mercato Orientale (Piazza De Ferrari). Find freshly baked focaccia, olive oils, and all manner of colourful seasonal fresh fruit and fish. Go early in the morning to get the best of the day’s catch.
In Genoa, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Low-key eats can be found at Eataly (Calata Cattaneo 15) in the Old Town, where they serve regional pasta trofie and the seafood is excellent. Regional produce is big here: camogliesi (chocolate pastry) and farinata (chickpea pancakes) are just two specialities. Grab an aperitif at the atmospheric Caffè Degli Specchi (Salita Pollaiuoli 43). For something a little different, visit traditional restaurant Capo Santa Chiara (Via Al Capo di Santa Chiara 69), 30 minutes’ drive away in Boccadasse. Set right on the water, dinner on the terrace at dusk is magical.
Innamorati a Camogli
As if Camogli wasn’t romantic enough, the charming little town near Genoa goes all out for Valentine’s Day, with a week of celebrations. Hearts are strung up all over the town, participating restaurants present couples with commemorative plates, and totems are covered in amorous messages from those declaring their love.
La Sagra del Pesce
As one of the major fishing centres on the Riviera, Camogli near Genoa is steeped in tradition when it comes to fish. The highly anticipated annual fish festival sees the day’s catch cooked in what’s purportedly the largest frying pan in the world and handed out free, to an awaiting (and hungry) public.
Festa della Focaccia di Recco
Celebrate Genoa’s foodie heritage at the focaccia festival in Recco, just outside Genoa. The town is known for its traditional focaccia with cheese, but with versions including everything from onion, ham and cheese, to vegetables, you’ll have to taste them all to decide your favourite.
Salone Nautico Internazionale di Genova
With its maritime history, Genoa has a natural pull for nautical enthusiasts, and the annual boat show is one of the best in the world. Would-be captains can ogle the latest and greatest creations from super yachts to sailing boats and everything in between.
Festival della Scienza
Genoa’s Festival of Science is a chance for all those who are curious about the world around them – from researchers to families – to find out the answers to their questions. Demonstrations, lectures and exhibitions focussing on the latest research are just a few of the events on the programme.