Once called the ‘mistress of the sea’ due to its port, today Genoa (also read as Genova) isn’t that much in favour, especially if speaking of tourists. There’s no sense in planning your walk around the historic centre of the city. The streets and narrow caruggi twine and tangle without much logic, so it’s better to go with the flow (but remember not to get too lost – it’s better to stay in the main part of the city, since Genoa in general is infamous for being one of the least safe places in Italy). The local roughness and state of dilapidated, close-to-ruin buildings might repel at the beginning, but you will surely feel the charm on the second day of your stay. Genoa reminds you that Italy isn’t that polished after all, and the laundry getting dried on the streets isn’t a postcard cliché, but reality. What’s definitely worth visiting is Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (which is somewhere between Gothic and Baroque style) that stores an underground treasury. Still, Genoa’s streets intrigued me the most. At some moments they get totally dark, even in the day-time. Not only because they are narrow; the townhouses are surprisingly tall as well. The effect is highly cinematic. Also note all the small food markets. For coffee, go to the chic Caffè Degli Specchi that has the best ice coffee, while for small shopping try Aspesi (best ‘Made in Italy’ shirts in very affordable prices) and the vintage market situated at Galleria Mazzini (next post is coming up on that magical place!). But in the end, even though every guide seems to hate Genoa, we had great time here. We weren’t robbed or anything like that!
A hint: if you’re travelling in a big car, Genoa might be a hard nut to crack. Parking here is a nightmare, and no guide will tell you this…
More of my addresses from Genoa are right here.
All photos by Edward Kanarecki.