A Day in Genoa, Italy

To come to Italy and stay only in one city is not possible. Sometimes I think time will not be ever enough to travel around all the country, to see all the famous and not much known cities of this beautiful country, to check all modern and historical places. If I had more days, I’d definitely spent each day in a new place, to see at least a small part of them, as much as possible. But for this I shall come back again and again, as there are still so much wonders to explore.

This time a day out from Milan was planned to spend in Genoa, a historical port and a capital of the Italian region of Liguria. This is the sixth largest city in Italy, which was one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean. It has rich cultural history in art, music, cuisine, has lots of museums, parks and historical palaces. So i’m going to share how did we spend a day in this wonderful place in January.

The day started early. We had to go to another side of Milan, to the bus station, from where buses are going to every corner of Italy. Luckily we didn’t need to change metro stations. One line was connecting the closest metro station near our house to the bus station. We were in place in time, but seems not very lucky with the bus. Once we found the driver, he said that there is a small problem with the car and bus will go with 1 hour delay. This wasn’t good for us, as we had only half day to spend in Genoa, from which 1 hour would be lost. There was a small cafe bar near the station, where we could find a free table to have a short breakfast with a traditional cappuccino. Time has come and the driver called us to go. We were only 5-6 people inside the bus. Super comfortable bus, with available Wi-Fi service on site. 2 hours drive passed very quick. The road was very quiet, straight. After some time the view started to change. Small mountains had appeared on both sides. Small villages with blooming trees were appearing time to time. That was strange to see blossoms on trees in January, as it was supposed to be cold and early for having flowers. But when we reached Genoa and checked the weather, we were nicely surprised. It was +15.. +17 degrees there, like in spring. This was awesome!

There is so much to see here just in a few hours. And the first closest place we went was the Porto Antico, which is just a part of the Genoa port and one of the most touristic places here. Here the view is amazing. The breeze coming from the sea playing with hairs. Colorful buildings seen on the other side. Lots of boats and ships standing on water. But before reaching the harbor, there were several museums, such as Marine museum, a great Submarine museum and one of the biggest aquariums of Europe, including the biosphere. Right next to them there was a cinema museum with every kind of exhibits shown, starting from different movie heroes until dinosaurs. But except those there was a big ship replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon. The 65m ship was built for Roman Polanski’s film Pirates, but was also filmed in the TV miniseries Neverland as Captain Hook’s ship. Now this is a tourist attraction, as it’s fully created as a real pirate ship.

Passing near the colorful painted walls of the Palace of Saint George from 13th century, which used to be a prison for a time and now became the bank of Saint George, our steps took us to the narrow streets with colorful medieval buildings. Here we crossed the Roman Catholic cathedral called Cattedralle di San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence Cathedral) built between 12th and 14th centuries in Gothic style. Not far from here was another cathedral called Chiesa del Gesu. Unfortunately doors were closed in both places, but if they were open, we could go inside and admire with the perfectly painted frescoes. But.. not this time.

The city is big, but in historical center seems everything was close to each other. Few more minutes of walk and we were near the Medieval Gates of Genoa. This is the part of ancient walls of Genoa, called also Porta Soprana, that has 2 towers with flags of Genoa on tops.

Genoa is also a birthplace for many famous people like Niccolo Paganini and many others. One of them was Christopher Columbus, whose house was right next to the Gates. This was a small 2 floor building with a nice garden. Columbus’s House museum is usually open for visitors, but not today..

Continuing walking in the center of the city we came to the main square of the city, called Piazza De Ferrari, around which are sited the Opera and the Palace of the Doges. The square was prettified with a fountain, which was restored in recent years. Behind the fountain there was a beautiful architectural building called Palazzo della Nuovo Borsa, the first Italian stock exchange.

After having a quick lunch at a small cozy restaurant near the Piazza De Ferrari, we decided to go somewhere high to watch the sunset. There are several view points in Genoa. One of the options was to take a Zekka funicular and go on top of the Righi hill. But we took another option and walked through narrow streets decorated with Christmas lights and decorations and came to the Belvedere Casteletto, which is the residential quarter of Genoa. Little bit climb up, and here we are, on the top of the hill with the greatest panoramic view of the city. From here all the city was like in hand. A quiet place where you can come and spend time or to look far, to the sunset over the historical city and the sea. Sky was getting all the colors of blue and red while sun was going down. 
If only we could stay here for overnight, we could spend more time here. But time was running and we had the bus back just in an hour. So we were hurry to find the bus station before it comes. We said good bye to the wonderland and walked down by steps. Crossing the streets, passing new and old buildings, we were discovering something new on each corner. One of the surprising ones was Basilica dell’Annunziata, a 16th century catholic cathedral with 6 pairs of columns in front side and 6 chapels. We couldn’t resist and get inside for a quick view and the only thing we could do was to look around with large opened eyes and say WOW. The decorations of the cathedral inside were amazing. All was covered with frescoes and shining in gold colors. 
Another surprising discovery was the main building of University of Genoa, which was like a usual building from outside, but when we suddenly looked inside from the windows, we were amazed of what view opened for us. That was something special, like from the medieval novels or movies. Great hall with huge steps decorated with sculptures of lions on both sides. And who knows what else it has inside, how can it call the students to come and study here. But of course it wasn’t open to visit so we just had a brief look and run to the bus station. 
Somehow our bus was again late with 1 hour. We already started to worry if we missed our bus by mistake. But everything was OK, bus arrived, spent 5 minutes in the station to “collect” travelers and in another 2 hours of drive we were back to Milan. It was dark, it was late, we were tired but happy. Day was successful.
Genoa was an amazing experience that we could have. It was very different from Milan. A mixture of modern buildings with medieval cathedrals and city walls, plus the sea, that was completing the whole pack. 

What can I say?
Never stop traveling.
Never stop exploring.
Never stop discovering.
Find something new every day and enjoy life 🙂


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