A great trading republic of the renaissance, the home port of Christopher Columbus, and in latter years a portal to the Italian riviera, Genoa is a fascinating jumble of grand historical palaces, modern attractions, and intriguing neighborhoods.
Genoa once dominated the Mediterranean, and its glory days have left a gorgeous legacy. See the exquisite Palazzo Reale, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, and Ombre Rosse, a 13th-century medieval home.
A cluster of stately palaces forms the Musei di Strada Nuova - a trio of superb art galleries featuring countless masterpieces.
When you visit, don't miss out on authentic Ligurian Pesto Genovese - the way it should be made - as well as ravioli in traditional walnut sauce.
Genoa has something for every member of the family. The kids will adore the recently completed aquarium in the port district, while Biosfera offers a mixture of international plants as well.
When you stay in Genoa, you'll be within striking distance of the Cinque Terre - a series of scenic coastal villages - as well as the resorts to the west.
May is a fantastic time to visit, with warm weather and relatively light crowds, but summer is just as good. The sea will be perfect for swimming and the long summer evenings seem made for al fresco dining.
Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA) has plenty of connections to major European airports like London or Paris. Take the Volabus to the city center (EUR6) or catch a taxi for around EUR30.
Genoa has rail connections to Milan, Turin, Rome, Nice, and plenty of other regional destinations. Most long distance trains terminate at Genova Piazza Principe station.
From Milan, take the A7 to Genoa. From Rome, take the E80 along the west coast, while you'll need to take the A11 then the E80 if you are driving from Florence.
Eurolines runs daily buses into Genoa, which stop at Principe, just west of the city center.
Most of the best accommodation options are around the harbor, including the Hotel Melià, Grand Hotel Savoia, and the NH Collection Genova Marina.
Centro Storico - the city's sightseeing hub, Centro Storico is where you'll find the cathedral and the major art galleries.
Porto Antico - the ancient port has recently been refurbished and received plenty of investment, making it an attractive, lively place to explore.
Principe - home to the main station, Principe also hosts museums like the Palazzo Reale and the Galata Museo del Mare (Maritime Museum).
AMT Genova runs a city-wide bus system. Single tickets cost EUR1.50 and day passes are EUR4.50. There are also funicular railways (up the steep cliffsides), and even water buses around the harbor.
Taxis in Genoa charge a meter drop of EUR5, then around EUR2.50 per mile.
Car rental options in Genoa include Budget, Eurorent ,and Avis, and rates should be around EUR10-15 per day.
To find an endless array of fashion boutiques, head to Piazza De Ferrari and then wander along Via XX Settembre, or head to the Fiumara Centro Commerciale near Sampierdarena station.
Supermarket options include Coop, Carrefour, and Ekom. Prices aren't too high. For example, expect 12 eggs to cost about EUR2.70.
Genoa is a massive gastronomic destination, and the standard of eateries is high. Highlights include the 16th-century Le Cantine Squarciafico, the traditional fare at Le Cicale, and the burger specialists Il Masetto. Meals will cost about EUR30-40 with a bottle of wine included.