Genoa, as one of the Maritime Republics, boasts a glorous history, beautiful buildings but also many modern attractions
Genoa, a lively city, a mixture of art, culture and sealife
Today let's visit Genoa (Genova in Italian), the capital city of region Liguria. Genova has a glorious past with still many testimonies, since it was one of the four Italian Maritime Republics. Geographically it lies directly by the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Apennines behind its back. Its port (pic n°1) is the largest Italian port by extension. Genoa has always been a crossroads for different people and cultures throughout the centuries.
Let's start out from the seaside and visit the beautiful lighthouse of Genoa. It is known as The Lantern (pic n°5), and it perfectly embodies the marine vocation of Genoa. The tower is 77 meters high and originally it was built in the thirteenth century, although the current appearance dates back to the sixteenth century. Nearby you can visit a very interesting museum, the "Museo della Lanterna" (pic n°6), dedicated to the city and the surroundings.
If you are a sea lover, you should visit the most important tourist attraction of the city: the Genova Aquarium (pic n°2) (pic n°4). It was inaugurated in 1992 and it is the largest aquarium in Italy and the second one in Europe (following Valencia). Genova Aquarium is home to thousands of fish and animals of 600 different species, such as penguins, sharks, turtles, seals, and many others! The environment is spectacular and it is perfect for both adults and children.
The Genoa Aquarium is located in the Porto Antico area. This area used to be the trading hub of the city, and it was completely renovated and redesigned by the famous architect Renzo Piano in 1992. Today, this area is dedicated to tourism and leisure, together with the aquarium, you can find:
- Galata, an amazing museum of the sea, with incredible reconstructions, remains, documents and activities dedicated to the sea life.
- The Biosphere, a giant steel and glass bubble where architect Renzo Piano recreated a tropical environment.
- Bigo, another work of art by architect Renzo Piano;
- and many ancient port buildings that were brought to life again.
The Historic Center of Genoa is really worth a visit: it is also part of the World Human Heritage List. Just take a walk along “caruggi” (Medieval-aged alleys) and get lost among the colorful houses and picturesque corners. This historic center also boasts wonderful buildings, such as Church of San Matteo, Church of San Donato, Palazzo Spinola and Palazzo Ducale), as well as nice restaurants and bars where to taste the local food.
The sixteenth-century Via Garibaldi is definitely a must: this avenue is where majestic palaces and buildings are located, such as Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Doria-Tursi and Palazzo Rossi, which host incredible works of art from the sixteenth-eighteenth centuries. Caravaggio, Rubens, Canova, and Vasari are just a few names of the artists you can find there!
You cannot absolutely miss the Cathedral of San Lorenzo(pic n°3), built in the ninth century and rebuilt several times between the ninth and the sixteenth century. This is why the Cathedral has a combination of different styles: the majestic bicolor Gothic façade, the Romanesque side walls, the sixteenth-century cupola and bell tower. Art enthusiasts will love the many works of art preserved in the church and in the adjacent Museum of the Cathedral.
Finally, we suggest you visit some of the 42 buildings declared human heritage in 2006. They are beautiful palaces used to serve as temporary residences for noble and eminent characters living in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, such as cardinals, viceroys, princes, governors, and ambassadors. All of these buildings are finely decorated, have large halls, yards, majestic staircases, and gardens. Take a walk along Via Garibaldi, Via Lomellini, Via Balbi and Via San Luca to admire some of them!
Some pictures of Genoa:
Harbour of Genoa (pic n°1); The Genova Aquarium (pic n°2); Cathedral of San Lorenzo (pic n°3); the Genova Aquarium (pic n°4); The Lantern (pic n°5); Museo della Lanterna (pic n°6);