What to see in Genoa in one day

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Genoa , "The Superb". House of Christopher Columbus, Giuseppe Mazzini and Eugenio Montale, sung by Oscar Wild and Mary Shelley (just to name a few) is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in the Mediterranean. Everyone knows it as one of the four Maritime Republics, but few know the rest of Genoa's history. Born during the Bronze Age, as evidenced by some findings, it was a land of merchants and traders for centuries, so much so that it is still the second port largest in Italy after Trieste and the sixth municipality in Italy by number of inhabitants. City of culture in all its forms, Genoa hosts events and exhibitions of all kinds, from art to music, attracting thousands of tourists every year from all over Italy and from different parts of the world.

Its Historic Center contains an impressive number of churches, noble palaces and museums that testify to the power of this city. Not to be missed are the so-called Rolli, now heritage ofUnesco. These noble palaces, which in the past were intended to house the most important personalities of the state, today are one of the main attractions of the city together with the Aquarium of Genoa. If you've never seen it, take advantage of the weekend to visit it. One day won't be long, but it will allow you to see some of the city's main attractions. You pack your suitcase, we'll take care of the itinerary.


  1. One day itinerary in Genoa: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Genoa: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Genoa: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Genoa: Morning

1 - Castle of Albertis

The trip to Genoa starts from Piazza Principe, the station of the city. Just near this square you will find the monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus and here you can have breakfast at Bar Cavo. Prices are average, for a cappuccino and croissant you shouldn't spend more than € 4,00. From here, crossing the road and arriving on Corso Dogali (or taking bus n. 36) you will arrive at Castello d'Albertis, which houses the Museum of World Cultures. Once the home of Captain Enrico Alberto d'Albertis, who also oversaw its construction, it is one of the most famous and appreciated house-museums in Genoa. What distinguishes it is its architecture, made of a mixture of styles used for Valdostan and Florentine palaces, mainly inspired by the medieval style with neo-Gothic features.

2 - Commenda di Pre, Galata Museo del Mare and Museo di Palazzo Reale

Go back in the direction of Piazza Principe and, taking the Salita di S. Giovanni, you will arrive at Commenda of Pre. Originally a place of assistance for pilgrims and Crusaders, the Commenda di Pre dates back to 1180 and today includes a museum and two superimposed churches. Today this complex houses the museum theater di Genova: a multimedia exhibition that will take you back in time to the Middle Ages. From here continuing on Via Antonio Gramsci, on foot or with one of the numerous buses that pass on this road you will find the Galata Museum of the Sea, the largest maritime museum in the Mediterranean. The Galata stands in what was the ancient building of the Old Dock, the Arsenal of the Republic of Genoa. Visiting it you can admire 4 floors of exhibitions that address the relationship between man and sea, as well as a Oper Air Museum, whose main attraction is the Submarine S518 Nazario Sauro. Now take Vico Cuneo and then Vico della Pace until you reach the Museum of Palazzo Reale. Also known by the name of Stefano Balbi Palace, is one of the 42 buildings registered with Rolli of Genoa, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Palace includes the historic home of the Balbi family, a garden and the art gallery which is one of the largest in the city. Inside there are frescoes, furniture, sculptures and over two hundred paintings exhibited among which there are works by Tintoretto, Bassano, Luca Giornado and Guercino.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,6 km / 41 min
  • places visited: Castello d'Albertis (€ 6,00 approximately), Commenda di Pre (€ 5,00), Galata Museo del Mare (€ 10,00 approximately), Museum of the Royal Palace (€ 6,00)
  • Tour of the Rolli
  • where to have breakfast: Bar Cavo, via Balbi 169

One day itinerary in Genoa: Afternoon

1 - Palazzo Balbi Senarega and the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato

Leaving the royal palace you can have lunch at the Mentelocale Bar Bistrot. Prices are very cheap, around € 8,00 per person. At this point you can continue with your itinerary along via Balbi up to Balbi Senarega Palace, another of the Palazzi dei Rolli. The building, built at the beginning of the seventeenth century, has a very particular feature: built at the behest of two brothers, it consists of two exactly the same floors, one for each brother. Palazzo Balbi Senarega now houses some faculties of the University of Genoa. Unfortunately it is not always open to visitors but if you are lucky you can go inside and take a look. Not far from here stands the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, which inside contains paintings of 1600 made by Ansaldo. Characteristic are its columns made of red marble, the frescoed domes and the gold present everywhere.

2 - Aquarium of Genoa, Palazzo Ducale, Church of Gesù and of Santi Ambrogio and Andrea and Cathedral of San Lorenzo

The next destination is theGenova's aquarium. Reachable by NVB bus to Porto Antico / Pegli, it is certainly one of the most famous places in Genoa and in Italy in general. It is famous for being the largest Italian aquarium and the second in Europe after the one in Valencia. Inaugurated in 1992 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America, it was built on a project by Renzo Piano, while the interiors were curated by Peter Chermayeff. Inside there are cetaceans, morays, sharks, seals, manatees and dozens of other marine species. From here take the metro to "De Ferrari". You will then arrive at Piazza de Ferrari, with the Ducal Palace. Built at the end of the 1992th century after the victories against Pisa and Venice, it saw its rebirth in during the Colombiadi.
The upper floors host art exhibitions, conferences and events. A stone's throw from here, in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, the Church of the Gesù and of the Saints Ambrose and Andrew. The original nucleus of the church, remodeled several times over the centuries, dates back to 1552. Today you can admire inside frescoes by Giovanni Carlone, statues by Francesco Biggi, while the altar houses works by Rubens, Merano and Domenico Piola. Not far from here, in Piazza San Lorenzo, there is the Cathedral of San LorenzoDating back to the 1552th century, according to legend it would rise in the place where San Lorenzo and Pope Sixtus II stopped during a journey that would have led them to Spain. Outside, its three Gothic portals are noteworthy, made by French workers during the thirteenth century, made with alternating white and black marble. Its bell tower, completed in 60, is 7 meters high and contains bells.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2 km / 25 min
  • places visited: Palazzo Balbi Senarega (free), Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato (free), Aquarium of Genoa (€ 25,00), Palazzo Ducale (free), Church of Gesu e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea (free), Cathedral of San Lorenzo (free)
  • Genoa aquarium entrance ticket
  • where to have lunch: Mentelocale Bar Bistrot, Via Balbi 8A

One day itinerary in Genoa: Evening

Dinner and Porto Antico

Our itinerary has now arrived in the evening. Take some time to take a nice walk in the historic center of the city until you reach the del Porto Antico, reachable in a few minutes on foot. Along the way to get here, stop in Piazza San Cosimo (you can get there along Vicolo Sauli) for a dinner at the Trattoria delle Grazie. The costs are quite average (€ 30,00 per person approximately) and you can dine with typical Genoese dishes with even generous portions. Then go ahead for a walk among the lights of the coast, all for a Genoa like you've never seen it before.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,1 km / 14 min
  • places visited: Porto Antico (free)
  • Guided tour of the historic center
  • where to dine: Trattoria delle Grazie, via delle Grazie 48

Before leaving: useful tips

Genoa will also be within reach by train, but that doesn't mean you don't need some little advice for visiting the city. As for the climate, you won't have many problems, but keep in mind the humidity that is always present, as in any seaside town. For the rest, here are ours useful advice to visit Genoa.

  • Although the city is well served by By public transport, better to walk
  • It is advisable to book i Tickets for the Aquarium of Genoa well in advance
  • Genoa can be reached via the railway line and also via theairport International "Cristoforo Colombo"
  • If you decide to extend your visit, take a look at our offers for a hotel stay

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

Genoa may be small, but it is full of attractions and seeing them all in one day is practically impossible. Here you will find some of the attractions that are best missed if you don't have much time available.

  1. Basilica of Santa Maria di Castello: the church is only open at certain times during the day
  2. Civic Museum of Natural History: this museum is too far away to be included in the itinerary
  3. Via XX Settembre: needless to say, with all these things to see you won't have time for shopping.
  4. Boccadasse: this small village is too far from our itinerary
  5. National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola: if you want to visit it, book your ticket in advance or visit it on the first Sunday of the month, when admission is free.

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