36 hours in Genoa
This industrial-hearted city is the capital of the region of Liguria and it has one of the best preserved medieval historical centers in Europe. Although at first glance it may not be the most popular option when it comes to northern Italy, it is worth visiting because it surprises. From its gastronomic delights to its Strade Nuove (New streets) declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2006, not forgetting the second largest aquarium in Europe or the birthplace of Christopher Columbus - Colombia for Italians -, Genoa is a box of surprises Y 36 hours They give to discover its essence.
One day is not enough: two and a half are GENOA © Alamy
7pm - Genoa It is a lively city, especially on weekends when many young Genoese who study in Milan or live there for work return to their hometown. A meeting point for friends in which there is always a lot of atmosphere, especially in the warmer months is the central Piazza delle Erbe. There are several terraces and bars where you can have a drink, watch the Genoese life pass by and relax before dinner. The Berto Bar or the Gradisca Café are two good options.
9pm - The best thing to break the ice with Genoese traditional cuisine is to dine at the Trattoria da Ugo. Located less than five minutes walk from the Piazza delle ErbeThis restaurant is very popular among the locals and they have no lack of reasons for it. In the hands of the same family since 1969, the simple and cozy style of the place combines perfectly with the informal atmosphere and the friendly service. Instead of having a menu, The options of the day are recited table by table as they change daily according to product availability. You can expect dishes like stuffed fried anchovies, octopus or squid in spicy tomato sauce or a delicious homemade pesto.
Just as in Spain they usually serve you bread without asking, in Genoa they do the same with the Focaccia (fugassa in the local dialect). The Focaccia It is a kind of flat and oily bread that is usually served cut into small rectangular pieces and that you can find in virtually all bakeries in the city.
Don't leave Genoa without trying its focaccias © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
11pm - Next to the imposing Palazzo Ducale and two minutes walk from the Trattoria da Ugo is the elegant wine bar Cantine Matteotti. A corrugated staircase separates the two floors of this small wine cellar that has Italian and European wines, from the great classics to some natural and biodynamic wine options. Worth recommending, especially with regional Italian wines.
9am - We start the day in Mangini, a historic café that is still a favorite of the city elites. Founded in 1876, this cafe continues to transport us to the past with its style mirrors Art nouveau and his stucco decorating the ceiling. Among the clientele are still Genoese plutocrats, renowned politicians - Sandro Pertini, seventh president of the Italian Republic was a regular - and people of culture. The ideal breakfast here is the cappuccino with its brioches stuffed with orange marmalade.
Art Nouveau elevator © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
10am - We leave in the direction of Via Garibaldi, which for many is the most beautiful street in the city. On the way there it is worth diverting to the Piazza del Portello and take the public elevator - you have to buy a ticket - to get on the Spianata Castelletto. The panoramic view of the city from the esplanade is magnificent and the Art Nouveau elevator a jewel.
Views from the elevator to Spianata Castelletto © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
When we go down we finally enter the Strade Nuove (New streets), where the majestic ones rise Renaissance and Baroque palaces included in the complex of Palazzi dei Rolli and built at the time of greatest economic splendor of the Republic of Genoa. Both were declared World Heritage Sites in 2006 by UNESCO. Urbanistically it is one of the most exceptional streets in the world. Opened in the mid-16th century, this was the first European example of urban planning carried out by the public authorities as a whole. And it is that the richest families in Genoa built their residences in the Strade Nuove, away from the margins of the historic city and in a unitary environment. A decree of the Senate determined in 1576 that the official guests of the State would stay in the best private estates of the city, the palazzi, and for this he created the Rolli, a registry that contained the best residences. In the absence of a royal palace, the owners had a legal obligation to host the illustrious visitors in turns, when required according to the Rolli.
Currently many of those 42 palaces protected by UNESCO they have become museums, as is the case with some of the most beautiful, the Palazzo Rosso, from the 17th century, the Palazzo Bianco or Doria Tursi, both of the sixteenth century. The latter houses the boardroom of the City Council. In these palaces that are museums today, besides being able to visit its wonderful lodges and gardens, you can also enjoy works of art by Caravaggio or Van Dick among others.
Palazzo Doria-Tursi © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
1 pm- At noon we eat at Sà Pesta, a restaurant with white tiles in which you feel you are right, among other things because you hear more Italian than any other language. There you have to try the farinata, one of the three dishes that make up the Holy Trinity of Genoese gastronomy -the other two are pesto and focaccia-. The farinata It is a kind of round and flat salty cake, made with chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil. Suitable for coeliacs, it can be taken alone or with vegetables, fish and even meat.
You can't leave Genoa without trying a good pesto © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
3 pm- Dessert must be taken in the Profumo Gelateria. Its delicious gelatos are very creamy and have a perfect texture. Many of the flavors vary according to the season and it is noted that the raw material behind the gelato, from fruits to nuts, is of high quality. When choosing size, keep in mind that the little one is already very generous.
Profumo Ice Cream © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
4pm - Time to get lost in the medieval alleyways from the historic center. Known as caruggi, Some of these streets are so narrow that by stretching your arms you can touch the facades of two different buildings. It is worth looking up and looking at the details of the buildings, many have small altars on their facades. If you meet the Piazza Banchi it's your lucky day, there is the beautiful building of the old Stock Exchange dating from the 16th century. During the day the Caruggi are quite safe, but at night the popular wisdom says that it is better to avoid them.
6pm - If shopping is your thing, in Genoa there are shops of all kinds, from the big luxury brands to independent artisans who work the skin very well. The streets Via XX Settembre, Via Roma and Via XXV Aprile are the best for shopping.
Piazza Banchi © Alamy / Monica R. Goya
7pm - Sometimes the twilight light is enjoyed more inside than outside. If the day is sunny, visit the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Vigne in the middle of the sunset - you have to calculate the time according to the time in which you travel - walk to the dome and look up: the soft light slipping through its golden dome illuminating the Fresh is a joy. This basilica with neoclassical facade and baroque interiors is two steps from Romanengo Pietro Fu Stefano, possibly the most emblematic confectionery in the city. Founded in 1814, it is a good place to buy edible souvenirs, such as artisanal chocolates or spectacular candied fruits. A few streets from the confectionery we can admire the cathedral of San Lorenzo, dating from the eleventh century and whose facade with black and white horizontal stripes is unmistakable. It says they rest the ashes of Saint John the Baptist. We can finish the walk by approaching the house where Christopher Columbus was supposedly born, Colombo for the Italians.
Romanengo Pietro Fu Stefano © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya
8.30pm - We had dinner at The Clandestine Cantina, just two hundred meters from the Palazzo Ducale. This elegant restaurant with an attentive service, in addition to fresh produce, offers vegetarian, vegan options and also have gluten-free and lactose-free alternatives. The menu is written on a blackboard that the waiter approaches the table And as he explains, it changes daily depending on what is in the market. The fresh pasta is delicious, as is the rabbit with seasonal vegetables.
10.30pm - La Lepre It is a good place to have a drink after dinner and go a little deeper into Genoa, less bombastic and more alternative.
Dinner? In La Cantina Clandestina © D.R.
10am - A quick breakfast not to be missed is that of the Caffetteria Orefici e Latteria Buonafede. Open since 1910, this place has a place in the heart of many Genoese since It makes them remember the cream of their childhood. And tradition dictates that there you have to take an espresso with homemade whipped cream.
10.30am - From there we will depart towards the Commenda di San Giovanni di Prè, an architectural complex of Romanesque style located in the piazza della Commenda That was born as a hospital and convent. Built in 1180, the complex has been recently restored and the most striking is its two overlapping churches.
11.30am - Genoa is the hometown of the successful architect Renzo Piano and he must thank the new life of the port and its promenade. It is worth stopping to reflect on the Biosphere -also known as La Bolla-, a transparent glass structure shaped like a sphere designed by the Genoese architect who It houses more than 150 animal and plant species and seeks to represent the beauty and fragility of tropical forests. In the same area is the city's aquarium, the largest in Europe with more than 12,000 copies of 600 different species.
1 pm - We said goodbye to the city with lunch at Da rina. Open since 1946, this trattoria has excellent fresh fish. First ask for pesto trofie, a typical pasta of long and curly shaped Liguria. Let yourself be recommended with the second, which has to be fish, is the best, as well as with the Italian wine list.
In the footsteps of Renzo Piano in Genoa © Alamy / Mónica R. Goya