You either arrive at or leave from a port. If you stay, it is easy to get lost. And in Genoa, under the gaze of the Lanterna, the historic lighthouse of the port (the oldest operating one in the world), you may get lost because you must get lost: seamless alleys, climbs and descents, tall buildings, hidden courtyards...
Never guessing who or what is around the corner. The game is to find oneself in front of majestic palaces, rich churches, decorations, frescoes and stucco or a chapel, a balcony overflowing with geraniums or cloths to dry as if they were flags. Or even meeting a character, a caricature, a human archetype.
Enigmatic seafarers, with skin frosted by sun and salt, or suspended from dreams, to the tune of Fabrizio De Andrè. The comings and goings of people distinguish and blend different identities and cultures. And architectures, especially for the daring work of Renzo Piano, have redesigned various areas, including the Porto Antico, giving the city a fresh and modern image.
In ancient times, along with Venice, Pisa and Amalfi, Genoa was one of the Maritime Republics and even today its harbour is the most important in Italy and one of the largest in the Mediterranean Sea: the maritime vocation was obliged and glorified by the figure of Christopher Columbus, who was born here.
In 2006, part of the old town became part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the district of Strade Nuove, one can find the palaces of the "Rolli": Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi, which together form a museum centre of extraordinary interest. Caravaggio, Veronese, Guercino, Van Dyck and Canova are just a few of the big names set forth in the three locations, where the elegance and architectural merit meet all the wonderful works to provide an artistic journey of all respect.
On the other side, modernity pays tribute to the sea with the Galata - Sea Museum, ten thousand square meters of stone and glass, Mediterranean maritime museum. The common theme is the sea, its history and that of navigation, from the raft to sail, with wide interventions and interactive multimedia. At the same time, the Aquarium (71 tanks, 800 species, and 10 thousand units) is the largest marine park in Europe.
Genoa is also entirely acknowledged in one place: the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, which houses the ashes of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the city. The façade is a masterpiece of Gothic Genoese style, but substantial is the nineteenth century influence. From the left aisle one has access to the Museo del Tesoro di San Lorenzo, which houses the Sacred Basin for centuries identified with the Holy Grail.
Not only Genoa is UNESCO, but "The coastal region of Liguria in the area of the Cinque Terre.
Is a treasure of cultural and landscape value. The arrangement and shape of the small villages and terraced hills that surround them, built overcoming the difficulties of the steep and rugged terrains, clearly contains in itself the history and culture of this region’s settlements over a millennium.” This is the motivation behind the 1997 worldwide recognition of the value of the Cinque Terre, together with Portovenere and the islands, conferring them with the title of World Heritage Site.
Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are the result of an incomparable fusion of culture, history and work. Especially hard work, considering the difficulty of moulding a hostile territory by building thousands of miles of dry stone walls on steep hills. They are a place where man and nature have built a unique landscape in complete harmony, which today belongs to everyone.
A dense network of trails allows you to enjoy the Cinque Terre on foot: the best way to appreciate the exceptional natural and cultural heritage. Today, the Cinque Terre is a National Park and Protected Marine Area.
Palm Riviera: how many good and different reasons to choose this part of the coast...
With the coastline between sea and mountains and sleepy slopes in the hinterland. Rock faces, spectacular hiking trails and services dedicated to all outdoor activities. Here one may also find high quality olive oil and wine production, artistic manufacturing such as the glass of Altare and the ceramics of Albissola, and a wide range of cultural and entertainment activities, especially during the summer months.
Alassio: crystal clear sea and golden sand, backdrop of a few tens of centimetres; Varigotti: ivory sea, with family needs at the centre of attention. Possibility of fun. Albenga and Ventimiglia Vado: Roman origins, turreted and comfortable historical centres. Savona, with its coastline worthy of the European Blue Flag for clean waters and well maintained beaches.
Close to the sea, are many ancient villages that have remained intact. One among many: Finalborgo, medieval gem, founded in 1100 by the Marquis del Carretto.
Numerous parks and reserves, such as the Beigua, colossal sea-overlooking massif, or the protected area of Piana Crixia (characterized by stone mushroom of 2600 tons and 14 meters high), or the regional park of the Bric Tana, limestone spires in the midst of thick forests create a natural setting of great effect.