The Top 7 Things To Do In Genoa

As the sixth-largest city in Italy, Genoa has plenty to offer visitors. Genoa is a gulf on the Ligurian Sea that has a port dating back to the 19th century but has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. As one of Italy's most important ports, the city is closely tied to the Holy Roman Empire and its fleets were widely revered during the Middle Ages. Time is precious when you're on a Mediterranean cruise so you want to make sure you're getting the most out of every destination. So what are the top things to do in Genoa?

1. Piazza De Ferrari
Renowned for its impressive fountain, the Piazza De Ferrari is one of Genoa's most popular attractions. It acts as a hotspot for must-see sights for tourists, with the Palace of the Doges, the Carlo Felice Theatre, the Genoa stock exchange and the Palace of the Duke of Galleria all surrounding the main fountain.

You can sit back and relax to admire the various different examples of 19th century architecture or throw a coin in the fountain as it sprays its cascades of water. There's also a number of restaurants and bars scattered around the fountain, where you can sample the local cuisine.


2. Genoa Harbour
The 22km harbour is not only a nod to Genoa's impressive maritime past, but now also serves as a major draw for visitors, thanks to its array of restaurants, bars and shops. At the heart of Genoa Harbour is the 76-metre lighthouse - Lanterna di Genoa - that has been standing in some form since the early 12th century.

Aside from admiring the boats and local cuisine, your visit to the Genoa Harbour can also include the nearby Maritime Museum and Genoa Aquarium.


3. San Lorenzo Cathedral
You'd be forgiven for thinking you were in Milan or Florence when looking at the vibrant facade of the San Lorenzo Cathedral. The bold colours of this church, which is more commonly referred to as the Genoa Cathedral, should be enough to tempt you but it's inside where this underrated building really comes into its own. This will be offered on a shore excursion called the Historical Centre.
The ceiling is beautifully decorated with frescoes and brightly coloured artwork, while the pink marble columns adorning the altar are visually stunning. You can also see paintings like Lazzaro Tavarone's Martyrdom of St Lawrence.


4. Passeggiata Garibaldi
Beginning at the Via Giovanni to the east of the centre of Genoa, the Passeggiata Garibaldi takes visitors along a paved walkway traversing the city's stunning coastline. On one side of the pink cobbled path is the sea, while restaurants and shops adorn the other side, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to stop and take it all in.
The route will take you via the small former fishing village of Nervi that now serves as a seaside resort.


5. Porta Soprana
Porta Soprana represents a time in Genoa's history when it boasted the longest city walls in Italy. At one point the boundaries enclosed the majority of Genoa but large parts of it were eventually removed or allowed to degrade, however, Porta Soprana still stands.

The arched gateway is nestled between two round towers, which makes for an impressive photo opportunity.


6. Forte Begato
This hillside fort sits on top of a mountain and remains daunting to visitors even now. First built in 1818, it housed more than 300 soldiers in its prime and was even used as a detention centre for POW in WW1 and was taken over by German soldiers in WW2. Forte Begato's practical uses eventually deteriorated and it stopped being used by the military in the post-war period.

Public access to the fort has now been cut off but its exterior is still impressive and adventurers can easily hike the mountain to see the fort up close.


7. Via Garibaldi
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Via Garibaldi is one of the most important areas of Genoa and offers a number of sightseeing opportunities for visitors. The narrow street leads to the Palazzo Bianco, the Palazzo Rosso, the Palazzo Doria Tursi, the Palazzo Lomelino and the Palazzo Pantaleo, as well as many fantastic examples of period architecture.

You can enter Palazzo Rosso, Bianco and Tursi where you'll find collections of beautiful artefacts and artworks.


To find out more, or to book a cruise to Genoa on MSC Bellissima, click here.