The first thing you notice when you arrive in Genoa is that its hilly terrain resembles a bowl of spaghetti piled high. Liguria has virtually no flat land, and its capital is a roller coaster of winding streets and staircases sliced into the footpaths. Squashed into the hillsides, Genoa’s tall, narrow, green-shuttered buildings, painted tomato-red, orange and yellow, squeeze in alongside palaces, hanging gardens, church spires and the crumbling remains of the town’s old walls.
From the main shopping streets and squares, descending into Genoa’s medieval old town takes you into the belly of its caruggi – a dense tangle of dark pedestrian alleys that evoke the back-stabbing dramas and intrigues of Genoa’s golden age. At the base of the old town is the city’s historic port and newer dockside areas. Cruise liners, fishing boats, ferries and yachts crowd the waters, while Genoese architect Renzo Piano’s transformation of the waterfront includes a panoramic elevator and a glass biosphere.
A day or two will give you a good overview of the city – unless you’re a history buff, in which case its museums could keep you occupied much longer.
Although your calves might feel like spaghetti after scaling Genoa’s streets, exploring this ancient maritime city gives you an insight into Italy’s past and present that is truly unique.Credit: Genoa - Lonely Planet
Image: Paolo Margari