Genoa is an often overlooked city, the third member of Italy’s industrial triangle. Yet La Superba (The Proud One) is steeped in history, and for hundreds of years it was one of the great Maritime Republics, with colonies stretching from Corsica to the Crimea. Its glorious past has contributed to the formation of the modern world, not least by being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and its signature sauce, pesto, is famous across the globe.
Slow Fish is a perfect opportunity to show the world another side to Genoa. The four-day event held at the historic Porto Antico showcases the best of sustainable fishing, but there is much to explore beyond the seafront. The city contains a wealth of hidden treasures: artistic, musical, and of course, culinary. To get the full experience of what the city has to offer, read on for five essential tips on what not to miss:
Walk n’ Eat: eating your way through the streets of Genoa
Sometimes the best way to understand a city is by getting lost in it, walking through the streets and stopping at local eateries, which pretty much sums up the concept of the Walk n’ Eat! Organized by students from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, this two hour guided tour is designed to lead you through the back streets of Genoa in search of Genoese classics. You’ll be treated to focaccia at some of the city’s most historic bakeries, a seafront aperitivo and many other Ligurian classics, all the while learning about the history of traditional Genoese cuisine.
Genoa by Sea: exploring the coast and Genoa’s sea-life
Home to one of the busiest ports in Europe, Genoa’s maritime setting is an integral part of its charm. The Aquarium here is the second-largest in Europe, and dedicated to sea conservation and education. For further insight in Genoa’s sea-faring past, visit the Galata Maritime Museum which contains over 6000 original artifacts and real-life replica galley ships! Otherwise, head down to Boccadasse, the city’s beach, where you can enjoy the sea in a more relaxed setting.
Genoa by Sky: a view from the top
One of the most beautiful ways to see the city of Genoa is not by walking amongst the buildings, but instead by looking over them. The Bigo Panoramic Lift in Porto Antico was designed by Genoese architect Renzo Piano to give travellers a spectacular aerial view of the city. The spider-like contraption takes you 40 metres high for a magnificent panorama of the city’s hills and coastline. For a less daring alternative, take a drive up to the hilltop peak of Casteletto Spinata for a stunning sunset view.
Strada Nuova: walking through centuries of history and art
In 2006, part of Genoa’s old town was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The main street of recognition, formerly known as Strada Nuova, now Via Garibaldi, is lined with renaissance palaces built by wealthy families in the 16th and 17th centuries. These palaces are now open to the public, displaying art from important Italian and Flemish artists.
Mercato Orientale: a taste of Italy
There’s nothing like the rush and hustle of a good marketplace to experience the true life of a city. In Genoa, you can find that real local feel at Mercato Orientale, which dates back over a hundred and fifty years, to the reunification of Italy. Today, this indoor market remains as busy as ever, offering fresh produce from fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and fish: this is the place to taste authentic Genoese specialties made in the most traditional way.