It’s not hard to get swept away in the romance and elegance of an Italy cruise, where every stop along the way is postcard-perfect and bursting with charming locals. Even in the bustling cities of Rome and Naples, the hustle never quite gets you down. Genoa, or Genova as the Italians call it, is the capital of the region of Liguria and a quintessential port city that embodies the Italian Riviera. Critical for trade, commerce, and historic architecture, you’ll feel at home as you stroll through the Centro Storico, tour the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, and stop for a bite and a bottle of wine at tiny trattorias facing the Ligurian Sea.
You’ll be transported to another time here. Genoa is famous for its many palaces; over 100 palazzi date back hundreds of years to the days of the Republic of Genoa. On a Genoa cruise, explore the winding cobblestone streets on foot, stop for an aperitivo, and enjoy a long lunch. Liguria itself is the birthplace of many Italian culinary traditions, including the often-imitated focaccia style of bread, and always delicious pesto genovese. From the food to the pace, life in Genoa is indulgent in the best way, from its sumptuous architectural marvels to its welcoming piazzas.
This gothic cathedral is one of Genoa’s most famous sights, dating back to the 12th century. In many ways, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo is the crown jewel of Genoa, and a tour of the church is a must-see for any history buff.
17th century art is well kept at the National Gallery, which isn’t as crowded as the art museums in Rome or Florence. In a way, the National Gallery feels like your secret, so you can stroll along the elaborate marble flooring and admire the mosaic-painted ceilings unhurried.
Genoa’s Centro Storico is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the spot where all the action happens. Watch as friends meet up for drinks and dinner, leisurely walk to a cafe or bar, or take a walking tour and discover the unique history of Porto Antico, the Strada Nuova, and other classic Genoan landmarks.
When you reach Piazza di Ferrari, you’ll know you’ve made it to the beating heart of Genoa. Its magnificent fountain is a gathering place for locals and a place to sit and admire the 16th century Italian architecture in style.
Romantic Italian alleyways and winding roads lead to unbeatable chances to explore during a Genoa, Italy cruise. Via Garibaldi dates back to the 16th century and is now one of the most famous stretches of road in Genoa. The streets that comprise the “New Streets” in Genoa were even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Genoa’s palazzos are among some of the most beautiful in the world, and the Palazzo Doria Tursi Museum is part of a series of museums within the Musei di Strada Nuova. What’s special about the Doria Tursi Museum is that it is home to the cherished violin of acclaimed violinist Niccolo Paganini, one of the top classical musicians in history. Music and art lovers alike will find plenty to enjoy here.
The Lighthouse of Genoa is the fifth tallest lighthouse in the world, and it has existed since the 12th century. Genoa’s status as a major port and commercial city made the lighthouse all the more important for guiding the trade ships that passed through on the way to the port. Today, there is a small museum and tours of the lighthouse available for just a few euros, which promises a beautiful view of Genoa and the port below.
You’ll quickly discover that anything “Genovese” is guaranteed to be delicious during your Genoa, Italy cruise. Liguria is one of Italy’s most influential regions for the foods we’ve come to expect as signature Italian cuisine. The food is all about simple pleasures, including plenty of pastries, fritters, and local pancakes made on a wood-burning stove or oven. Pesto originated in Genoa, making it a beloved local delicacy. The pesto here will taste better than any store-bought variety you’ve ever had. Focaccia bread is a classic Ligurian food that you have to try during your visit to the region.
The Phoenicians and Etruscans founded Genoa in the 6th century BC. Centuries of prosperity in this area came to an end after the city was heavily affected by World War II. Today, Genoa is the capital of the region of Liguria in Italy with a population of about half a million people. The city has gained a reputation as a coastal hub for maritime trade and commerce. It remains a resilient city, one that is a cornerstone for many Ligurian cultural practices, from the local cuisine to annual festivals and events, like those in nearby San Remo. Today, Cyprus is a popular tourist destination with visitors arriving from all over Europe and the rest of the world. Cyprus is filled with schools, theaters, art galleries, and music venues. Soccer is also a popular pastime here.
The Genoa cruise port, known as Porto Antico, is where your cruise ship will dock. The port is minimally equipped with some tourist information and souvenir shacks for quick shopping on the way back to the ship. Most passengers take a taxi from the cruise port to get to the historical downtown area, as Genoa is famously hilly.
Taxis are available at the Genoa cruise port, where riders can easily hail a cab on the way to explore the city. Most are metered, and your fare will depend on the length and distance of your ride. Genoa has a well-kept subway system that locals use to get around. Shuttle buses are also popular methods of transportation for the locals. The historic city center of Genoa, where you’ll find many of the main attractions and sights, is easily walkable, and cars are not allowed in the narrow downtown streets.
Shopping in Genoa is a leisurely affair through a winding system of alleyways in the Centro Storico. Most of the shops sell classic Italian items like locally made olive oils, wine, leather goods, and fresh fish. The streets are filled with the buzz of Genoans off to lunch or dinner, and you’ll be swept up in the energy as you window shop.
Like most places in Western Europe, Genoa uses the euro as its official currency. It’s best practice to carry some euros with you whenever you go to restaurants or small shops. Credit cards are accepted more and more frequently in Italy’s smaller towns and villages, but carrying cash to cover small expenses is polite. When dining out in Italy, many trattorias will include a coperto and a servizio in your bill, and if so, tipping isn’t necessary.