Genoa holidays 2019 / 2020
A city that has a rich history of trade, pride and independence, Genoa is the ruby that twinkles in the twilight of the Mediterranean. Since the Middle Ages, Genoa has boasted its ability to adapt and conform to the changing ways of the sea. 2019 / 2020 Holidays to Genoa will introduce you to Italy’s largest port city, where the salt of the sea is cherished and adored. Genoa nudges the Ligurian Sea, which radiates a very light turquoise blue, thanks to the sun shining on its surface.
You’ll be intoxicated by the seafaring nature of the locals. Although Genoa has been the biggest trading port city in Italy since the 15th century, the riches it has brought have sprouted a number of grand, modern buildings. As the city is so prosperous and ideally placed near the border with Nice in France, Roman emperors would use the city to trade with its conquered states in Europe, and set up courts and camps acting as a naval base.
By the end of the 19th century, Genoa had become the financial heart of Italy, beating out its rival Milan. Also known as the main square of Genoa, the Piazza De Ferrari is famed for its glorious fountain. Surrounding it, are numerous headquarters of bank and top companies. The city is bathed in history of business and trade, where once the live stock exchange and many branches for the Bank of Italy resided.
Holidays in Genoa are also perfect for historical art lovers. The Museo di Palazzo Reale, was once the palace of the rich aristocratic Balbis family. The original building was built between 1643 and 1650. Later on, the Durazzos enlarged the palace throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Inside is some of the most beautiful post-Italian Renaissance artwork in Europe, and the decor is achingly gorgeous, with rooms decorated with golds, silvers, pearly whites and sunset shades. The palace is estimated to be the largest building from the Middle Ages left in Genoa. The interior has largely retained its original beauty, with the gorgeous terrace serving as a nod to this achievement.
Ombre Rosse is situated in one of the oldest houses from the Middle Ages, dating back to the 13th century. The restaurant is atmospheric and dark, thanks to red lighting and lamp filters, and stacks of wine adorn the walls. As holidays in Genoa often offer homely rustic Italian food, the menu at Ombre Rosse is no exception. The classic ‘tagliere contadino di formaggi e verdure’ is one of the city’s favourites – it’s pasta stuffed with hearty buffalo mozzarella cheese, smoked vegetables, served in a thick passata sauce with rich virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Because of the thickness of the sauce, a heavy red wine is a recommended accompaniment.
Since you’re so close to the coast, Genoa offers seafood that rivals the likes of Naples and Sanremo. Nestled away on the third floor of Eataly’s panoramic port view building, is Il Marin. If you’re looking for traditional seafood, this restaurant will both satisfy and challenge your tastebuds. The menu is modern and sophisticated, and although there’s nothing wrong with smoked shrimp, the kitchen specializes in marinated fish infused with delicate aromas of herbs and fresh sea salt. The prawn pasta dish is a local favourite, served with an elaborate spin of the traditional dish by mixing in red mullet shavings.
Along the coastline there are many kayaking tours which offer two-seaters and family-sized four-seaters. Lessons and lifejackets are given out by the rentals office, as well as maps for those who want to visit specific destinations. Equally, your family could take the opportunity to visit Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure on a full-day trip in a rented boat. On this serene excursion you’ll visit the pastel houses lining the harbour and visit the enchanted fisherman’s houses, which have been passed down from generation to generation.
A holiday in Genoa would simply not be complete without a visit to the church of San Giovanni di Prè. The Genoa Concerto is home to classical music with heart-wrenching symphonies showcased by the opera tenors. The artistic heritage of the city is bellowed out to the tourists lucky enough to visit the city. The ancient splendor and elegant surroundings of the church are something the whole family will never forget.
Action & Adventure
Holidays in Genoa also allow you to explore the surrounding towns and different cultures. A three-day Cinque Terre Tour will show you how the locals have lived along the Ligurian coastline for centuries. You’ll ride through Florence to get to the collection of coastal villages, and get an awe-inspiring introduction to the beautiful cliffs.
On day one you’ll check out the hills where the local wildlife reside. You can study the weather and tidal patterns to see how this rock face has been shaped over thousands of years. Day two will give you the opportunity to venture into the villages and speak to the locals about their unique lifestyle in person. The street food is like no other, with roasted sesame seeds, onions and courgettes drenched in pesto, and wrapped in soft white fluffy dough being the main delicacy. Day three is more about exploring the rock formations and the sea itself. If you wish, you can hire a boat and look closer at the formations. The tour finishes by ending up on the hill, looking down on the town and stunning light blue sea below.
Northern Italy is blessed with a 300-kilometre-long coastline. Holidays in Genoa allow you to explore the plethora of beaches that pepper the city. Recco is a village which boasts a beach with dark rocks and smooth stones. Bordered by creeks and hills, the beach is a great place to end up after hiking around the surrounding hilly landscape. At the summit of the tall terrain you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the entire coast.
Along the Riviera di Levante, sits the small town of Sestri Levante. The town’s twin beaches are two hidden gems. The most-used beach is the Bay of Silence, a romantic spot where couples can enjoy a moment of tranquility together. Although the beach does have a boardwalk with a few stalls serving local snacks, it’s definitely a place to get away from it all. The Bay of Fairy Tales is named after the once famous resident of the village, Hans Christian Anderson. This beach has bars, sun loungers and a picturesque promenade that locals gather around at sunset.
La Bottega del Conte is a cosy little haunt, where you’ll hear local folk songs. It’s tucked away in an alleyway, and this ancient yet retro bar serves locally brewed beer, bitter draughts and ale. Wine flows like there’s no tomorrow, and little snacks of salami and olives are served throughout the night.
If you’re someone who’s looking for something a little more lively and metropolitan, look no further than Kowalski. This bar serves spirits and cocktails made from the Mediterranean fruit along the coast. Holidays in Genoa are not without their Disaronno and orange bitter liqueur shots. The bar also serves contemporary twists on cheese platters, by switching out ricotta for smoked Scamorza cheese and replacing Parmigiano Reggiano with Bel Paese.
Gold and red velvet swathes the hotel of Bristol Palace. It’s a charming blend of traditional English country manor house and wealthy Italian aristocratic villa. The restaurant serves mainstream Italian cuisine at lunch and dinner. Plus, the bar serves drinks along with a light fare. WiFi is available in public areas so you can search for nearby activities. Each morning a free hot and cold buffet is served at breakfast time. If you’re driving there’s a valet service should you require.
Wandering about Genoa is the best way to try some of the region's most delectable choices of cut meats and wines. The Sestri Levante wine and food tasting tour is a superb way to spend an afternoon with your significant other. You’ll sip masculine red wines and crisp whites, which gently bite the end of your tongue. You’ll sample savoury salami and prosciutto meats, served with sides of creamy cheeses and roasted sweet red peppers. Nothing is better than an ice cold vintage wine coupled with a juicy Italian sausage imbued with sage and oregano. Couples are welcomed to feed each other blindfolded, and to test each other’s daringness and openness to new flavours.
You’ll learn very quickly that Genoa considers itself to be somewhat independent from the rest of Italy. Its seafaring history and the fact that it has always been miles ahead of Rome with regards to new shifts in international trade is something that it holds with great pride.
Christopher Columbus hailed from the city, and holidays in Genoa are packed full of historical tours which shine a light on this great man’s life and explorations. Genoa loves vibrant colours and celebrates ‘Euroflora’ at the end of April every five years. The horticultural exhibition attracts more than half a million visitors in little over one week. Different floral colours, shapes and scents are showcased from every corner of Italy – perfect for the green fingered amongst you.