Those of us who remember our history books recognise Genoa as
the birthplace of famous explorer Christopher Columbus. Always an
important port-city in Italy, for decades Genoa languished behind
Rome, Venice and Milan as the tourists passed it by.
This changed dramatically after the European Union nominated
Genoa as the European Capital of Culture in 2004. Cruise ships
docking in the Porto Antico are now bringing visitors by the
thousands, and travellers in Italy are making time in their
itineraries to spend several days on holiday in Genoa.
This tourism renaissance is well-deserved, as there are many
beautiful and fascinating tourist attractions in Genoa. The
medieval district is filled with stunning marble churches and
stately palaces, grouped around scenic plazas like the Piazza San
Matteo and the Piazza Dante. Visitors should be sure to look for
the famous frescoes of the Church of Sant'Agostino and the fanciful
Gothic carvings of the Cattedrale San Lorenzo. The Via Garibaldi
has a number of impressive Baroque buildings.
There are many interesting museums in the city, dedicated to
everything from cultural and natural history to the navy,
cathedrals, and royalty of the city's past. There are no fewer than
five art museums in Genoa as well.
Though it is Italy's largest medieval town, Genoa's present is
just as vibrant as its past. The streets are always buzzing with
life, and visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to
restaurants, shops and entertainment. The Porto Antico on the
harbour front has been rebuilt from a utilitarian dock to an
entertainment area with museums, cinemas, restaurants, and one of
the biggest aquariums in Europe along the pretty promenade.
Genoa makes a good base to explore the other towns along the
Italian Riviera, including Portofino, Cinque Terre, Rapallo and La