Genoa is Italy's premier port today, with a long history of maritime strength dating back to the 10th century, when it beat rival Pisa. The city's most notable tourist attractions are the old noble houses, which are more spectacular here than anyplace else in Italy. The historic sailors' district is located along the coastline, amid the labyrinth of steep alleyways and lanes that branch out from the Porto Vecchio.
Not sure when to go? Check this article for the best time to visit Genoa!
Here is our selection of the greatest tourist sites in Genoa.
What are the Best Attractions & Things to Do in Genoa?
Here are our top places to visit and things to do in Genoa this year.
If you want to explore the Best of the Cinque Terre on a Day Trip, check out article : The Best Things to Do in Cinque Terre Italy
- Via Garibaldi Palaces
- Acquario di Genova (Aquarium of Genoa)
- Palazzo Ducale
- Cathedral of San Lorenzo
- Santi Ambrogio e Andrea and Piazza Matteotti
- Santa Maria di Castello
- Via Balbi and Palazzo Reale
- Piazza De Ferrari and Teatro Carlo Felice
- Galata Museo del Mare
- Museo di Sant'Agostino
- Caruggi di Genova
1. Via Garibaldi Palaces
The Via Garibaldi Palaces in Genoa, Italy, are an impressive collection of 16th and 17th century buildings that were once the homes of some of Genoa’s powerful families. The palaces are located in the historic center of the city and are a testament to the city’s rich history and culture. The Via Garibaldi Palaces were built in the late 1500s and early 1600s, during a period of great wealth and prosperity in Genoa. At the time, the city was a major trading port and the wealthiest families competed to build the most impressive homes. The palaces were built to impress and reflect their owners’ wealth and power. The palaces are all different, each reflecting its own style, with some having ornate facades and others having more subdued designs. Some of the palaces are open to the public, while others are still owned by private families. The Via Garibaldi Palaces are an important part of Genoa’s history and culture and are a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can tour many of the palaces, where they can admire the ornate facades and interiors, as well as learn more about the city’s past. The palaces are also home to some of the city’s best museums and galleries, which showcase a variety of artwork and artifacts from Genoa’s past. The Via Garibaldi Palaces are an impressive example of Genoa’s rich history and culture. They are a must-see for anyone visiting the city, and a reminder of the city’s past and its powerful families.
Official site: www.museidigenova.it/en
2. Acquario di Genova (Aquarium of Genoa)
The Aquarium of Genoa is located in the city of Genoa, Italy, and is one of the world’s largest aquariums. It was opened in 1992 and currently holds over 10,000 animals of more than 500 different species.
The Aquarium of Genoa is situated in the historical harbor of Genoa, and its building was designed to resemble a large ship. It is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a different marine habitat. There are sections for the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Amazon River. Themed exhibitions within the aquarium allow visitors to learn more about the various marine species and habitats. For instance, the Aquarium of Genoa offers a ‘Shark Tunnel’ which allows visitors to walk through a curved acrylic tunnel surrounded by some of the world’s most impressive sharks. Additionally, the ‘Amazon River’ exhibit provides visitors with a chance to explore the Amazon River and its flora and fauna through an interactive experience.
The Aquarium of Genoa is home to many unique species, including the Giant Pacific Octopus, the Australian Lungfish, the Emperor Angelfish, and the Giant Turtles. There are also interactive exhibits, such as the touch pools which allow visitors to gently touch the inhabitants of the aquarium. The Aquarium of Genoa is a great place to visit for families or anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating world of marine life. With its diverse selection of animals, interactive exhibits, and educational programs, the Aquarium of Genoa is sure to be a memorable experience for all.
The main advantages of the tour we suggest you are:
- Access to the Aquarium at the best price
- The largest Aquarium in Italy with more than 400 species and 5000 different animals
- Perfect experience for families
- This is not a guided tour, you will be free to visit each hall at your own pace, getting the most from your visit!
- Skip the line ad the entrance!
3. Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale, located in the center of Genoa, Italy, is an iconic building that has attracted visitors from all over the world. Palazzo Ducale was originally built in the 14th century and served as the residence of the Genoan doges. In the 16th century, it was transformed by the Genoan aristocracy into a grand palace with a stunning Renaissance façade.
Today, Palazzo Ducale is open to the public and offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of Genoa. Visitors can explore the interior of the palace, which features a variety of stunningly decorated rooms, including the Great Hall, the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, and the Throne Room. The palace also houses a number of important works of art, including a series of 16th-century frescoes by Domenico Piola, as well as a collection of Renaissance furniture and sculptures. In addition to its beautiful interior, Palazzo Ducale also features a number of impressive exterior features, including a grand courtyard and an external staircase. The courtyard is the perfect spot for visitors to relax and admire the stunning views of the harbor and the city of Genoa. The external staircase is another highlight, giving visitors the chance to get a close-up look at the palace’s intricate architectural details.
Palazzo Ducale is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Genoa. It is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture and a testament to the city’s vibrant history and culture. Whether you’re interested in art, architecture, or simply looking for a beautiful place to explore, Palazzo Ducale is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
4. Cathedral of San Lorenzo
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa, Italy, is one of the most iconic and important landmarks of the city. Located in the heart of Genoa, the cathedral has been a witness to the city’s history since the 12th century when it was first built. The building has gone through various renovations and reconstructions over the centuries and is now a testament to the city’s rich cultural and religious heritage.
The cathedral is known for its Romanesque architecture, which prominently features the multiple towers and arches of the façade. The main entrance is framed by two columns, which are decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. Inside, visitors will find a large central nave flanked by two side aisles and a choir. The interior is decorated with frescoes and sculptures from different periods, from the 14th century to the Baroque period.
The cathedral houses several works of art, including a bronze statue of St. Lawrence, the patron saint of Genoa, which is located in the main chapel. Other important works include a marble statue of St. John the Baptist and a painting of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is also home to the Shrine of the Virgin Mary, which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the city. The shrine is located in the crypt of the cathedral, where visitors can admire the statue of the Virgin Mary. The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is an impressive structure that stands as a symbol of the city’s long and fascinating history. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the culture and religious heritage of Genoa.
5. Santi Ambrogio e Andrea and Piazza Matteotti
Santi Ambrogio e Andrea and Piazza Matteotti in Genoa, Italy are two of the city's most beloved landmarks. Located in the historic center of the city, these two monuments have been a symbol of Genoa's rich history for centuries.
Santi Ambrogio e Andrea is a church located in the heart of the city, near the famous Piazza Matteotti. It was built in the 11th century and is a reminder of the city's long history of religious devotion. The church is home to a variety of statues and sculptures depicting saints, including the patron saints of Genoa, Santi Ambrogio e Andrea. The church is also the site of a number of religious ceremonies, including the annual feast of the patron saints. The Piazza Matteotti is a large square in the center of Genoa and is the site of many of the city's important events. The square is home to a number of monuments and statues, including one of the most famous, a bronze statue of the city's patron saint, San Giorgio. The square is also home to a number of cafes, restaurants and shops, making it a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike.Santi Ambrogio e Andrea and Piazza Matteotti are two of Genoa's most beloved landmarks and are a reminder of the city's rich history. The church and the square are visited by hundreds of people every day and offer a glimpse into Genoa's past. Whether you are visiting Genoa for its historic sites or just for a day trip, make sure to visit these two landmarks.
6. Santa Maria di Castello
Santa Maria di Castello is a beautiful and charming church situated in the old town of Genoa, Italy. Built in 1260, it is one of the oldest churches in the city and is a popular tourist attraction. The church is located on a hill and is surrounded by a charming park with lush gardens and a wide variety of trees.The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is one of the oldest churches in the city. Its exterior is decorated with a variety of sculptures and frescoes, making it a beautiful sight to behold. Inside, visitors can find an impressive altar and a beautiful bronze crucifix. The church also houses a collection of Renaissance paintings and sculptures, making it a great place to explore the art of the era.
The church is also home to a variety of religious artifacts, including a large collection of ancient manuscripts, religious paintings, and sculptures. There is also a library containing books on religious topics, making it a great place to learn more about the history and culture of Genoa. Santa Maria di Castello also hosts a variety of religious events throughout the year, including Easter services, Christmas services, and other special events. Visitors can also take part in guided tours of the church, which provide a great opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the area.
Overall, Santa Maria di Castello is a beautiful and unique church that is well worth visiting. Whether you are looking to explore the history and culture of Genoa or just looking for a beautiful place to have a quiet moment of prayer and reflection, the church is a great option.
7. Via Balbi and Palazzo Reale
Genoa, Italy is a city steeped in history and culture. One of its premier attractions is the Via Balbi and Palazzo Reale, two of Genoa’s most important sites.
Via Balbi is Genoa’s main shopping street, lined with elegant shops and boutiques. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, who come to enjoy the lively atmosphere and browse the shops. The street is also home to some of Genoa’s most beautiful buildings, such as the Palazzo Balbi, the Palazzo Rosso, and the Palazzo Spinola. These remarkable buildings are a testament to Genoa’s rich architectural heritage.
At the end of Via Balbi is Palazzo Reale, a stunning palace that was once the home of the Doria family, one of Genoa’s most powerful families. The palace is a fine example of Italian Baroque architecture, with its ornate façades, grand courtyards, and exquisite frescoes. Visitors can tour the palace and its impressive collection of 17th and 18th century artworks. The grounds of Palazzo Reale are also home to some of Genoa’s most beautiful gardens. The palace gardens are filled with lush vegetation and exotic plants, and provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Via Balbi and Palazzo Reale are two of Genoa’s most important sites, and are a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The two sites are a testament to Genoa’s rich cultural heritage, and offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s past.
8. Piazza De Ferrari and Teatro Carlo Felice
Genoa, Italy is home to two iconic landmarks, the Piazza de Ferrari and the Teatro Carlo Felice. Both venues boast centuries of history and have become beloved symbols of the city.
The Piazza de Ferrari is located in the heart of Genoa and is the city’s main square. It was designed in the late 18th century by the Italian architect Carlo Barabino and is the largest public square in the city. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, statues, and fountains, including the Fountain of Neptune at the center. Visitors can also find the old Stock Exchange building, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The Piazza is a popular meeting spot, and it is often filled with locals and tourists alike.
The Teatro Carlo Felice is one of Italy’s most important opera houses and is located just a few steps away from the Piazza de Ferrari. The theater was built in 1824 and has been the site of hundreds of opera performances and concerts over the years. The theater’s interior is inspired by the grandeur of Italian Baroque style, and it boasts a stunning auditorium with a capacity of up to 1,800 people. The theater also has a large stage and orchestra pit, as well as a museum which houses a collection of costumes and other artifacts.
The Piazza de Ferrari and the Teatro Carlo Felice are both integral parts of Genoa’s history and culture. These two iconic venues have become symbols of the city, and they provide a wonderful glimpse into Genoa’s past. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening of opera or a leisurely stroll through the square, these two landmarks are a must-see for any visitor to Genoa.
9. Galata Museo del Mare (Galata Sea Museum)
Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa, Italy is a museum that celebrates the maritime culture of one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean. Located in the Old Port of Genoa, the museum covers more than 4,500 sq meters of exhibition space and offers visitors a unique and exciting journey through the history of Genoa's maritime past.
The museum was established in 2004, and is organized around three main themes: the port of Genoa, the navy and the fishing industry. Through these themes, visitors can explore the history of the port and its importance to the city and its inhabitants, the craft of sailing, navigation, navigation tools and instruments, and the fishing industry.
The museum features a wide range of interactive exhibits and activities, such as boat trips and workshops, that help visitors to better understand the history and culture of the area. It also has a library, which houses books related to the maritime culture of Genoa, as well as a theater where visitors can watch documentaries and movies related to the topics covered in the museum. In addition to its permanent collection, Galata Museo del Mare also features temporary exhibitions, which offer visitors the opportunity to explore a wider range of topics related to the maritime culture of Genoa.Galata Museo del Mare is a great place to visit for anyone interested in learning more about the maritime culture of Genoa. Visitors can explore the museum's collection, take part in interactive activities, and watch documentaries and movies, all while learning about the history, culture, and importance of the port of Genoa.
10. Museo di Sant'Agostino (Museum of Sant'Agostino)
Museo di Sant'Agostino is a museum located in the heart of Genoa, Italy. The museum is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the city’s art, culture, and history. The museum is housed in the former Convent of Sant’Agostino, which dates back to the 15th century.
The museum’s collection includes works from the 16th century to the 20th century. It displays works of art from both local and international artists such as Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyck. The museum also houses a variety of ancient artifacts, including coins, ceramics, and jewelry. The museum’s main exhibition space is divided into four sections: the Galleria delle Belle Arti, the Galleria delle Antichità, the Galleria delle Arti Decorative, and the Sala dei Fondi. The Galleria delle Belle Arti displays works of art from the 16th century to the 19th century, while the Galleria delle Antichità displays a variety of ancient artifacts. The Galleria delle Arti Decorative displays furniture, fabrics, and other decorative items, while the Sala dei Fondi displays works of art from the 20th century.In addition to its permanent collection, Museo di Sant'Agostino regularly hosts temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions often focus on specific themes or artists, and typically feature works of art from both local and international artists. The museum also hosts a variety of educational and cultural events, including lectures, workshops, and other educational activities.Museo di Sant'Agostino is a must-visit for anyone interested in Italian art, culture, and history. This museum is a great way to learn more about both Genoa’s past and its current culture.
11. Caruggi di Genova (Narrow alleyways of Genoa)
Genoa, Italy, is a city steeped in culture and history that dates back to the time of the Roman Empire. One of the most iconic attractions in Genoa is its Caruggi, or narrow alleyways. These winding streets have been a staple of the city for centuries and are a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the old-world charm of the city. A Caruggi is a narrow alleyway in Genoa that is typically no wider than five meters. These alleyways were created to provide a safe way of transportation for people, animals, and goods. Caruggi were also built to provide shelter from the sun, rain, and wind. The city is filled with these streets, creating a maze-like effect that can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the area. The Caruggi of Genoa are full of history and charm. Many of the streets are lined with colorful buildings and cobblestone sidewalks. Many of the alleyways are also lined with shops and restaurants, giving visitors a unique shopping experience. The Caruggi also provide a unique insight into Genoa’s past, with many of the buildings and streets having been unchanged for centuries. The Caruggi of Genoa are a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the city’s unique culture and history. The winding streets provide a unique insight into the past of the city, and the colorful buildings and cobblestone sidewalks make for a picturesque atmosphere. The Caruggi also provide a unique shopping experience, with many of the alleyways lined with shops and restaurants. Exploring the Caruggi of Genoa is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.
For other trips, visits, read our article on the Best Things To Do in North Italy.
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