Genoa, capital of Liguria, it's all about the palate. Of those who testify to the past prosperity of the city, and of the one who feasts on local street food on every street corner. In the Middle Ages, the crusaders and navigators – including Christopher Columbus – established Genoa as a stronghold of European trade. Its prosperity increased with the development of banks, so much so that in the 16th century, the Republic of Genoa built a luxury district to accommodate its distinguished guests. The great Genoese families then built the Palaces of the Rolli, Baroque or Renaissance buildings competing in magnificence, of which more than forty are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While walking via Garibaldi, one admires these magnificent marble facades, adorned with stucco, colonnades or caryatids, one discovers their grandiose vestibules and their gardens decorated with fountains and nymphs. Among the palaces that have become museums, do not miss the Palazzo Reale. Sumptuously furnished and decorated, this small Genoese Versailles even has its Hall of Mirrors.
Focaccia, pesto and canistrelli
Your wanderings under the high arcades of Via XX Settembre paved with mosaics, or in the maze of cheerful alleys near the port, will be punctuated by gourmet temptations: do not resist! Taste an artisanal ice cream while contemplating the historiated facade of the San Lorenzo church, devour a still hot focaccia on the port refurbished by the architect Renzo Piano, and bite into a canistrelli with an espresso served on the terrace in a small square in the historic center … In the oriental mercato, a covered market full of all the good Italian products, ask to taste the pesto made by hand, in the mortar. This is the ultimate Genoese specialty, to be enjoyed with pasta, of course.
The pearls of the Genoese Riviera
Going towards the Levant, the rocky coast is home to charming fishing villages, whose colorful houses wrap around a pebble beach. At the gates of Genoa, first comes Boccadasse, a small amphitheater which offers the popular spectacle of the simple joy of bathing in the sea every evening. A little further, Nervi is appreciated for its elegant and flowery park. As for Portofino, hidden behind a rocky cape, it is no longer "a small port that stretches like a half-moon around a silent basin" as Maupassant wrote. Because this jewel attracts many jet-setters, and their huge yachts distort the postcard … But following the coastline on foot to Santa Margherita, where you can visit the castello di Paraggi, you will find idyllic coves to take a dip in the turquoise water of the Mediterranean.
- 2 hours by car from Nice, 1 hour 30 minutes by train from Milan.
- In Genoa. Bristol Palace. From 155 € per room. double in B & B (hotelbristolpalace.it).
- In Santa Margherita. Hotel Helios, located on the beach, from € 220 per room. double in B & B (hotelhelios.com).
- In Genoa. Il Genovese (ilge novese.com); Al Veliero (alvelieroge nova.com); Glacier Antica Vaccheria (anticavaccheria.it).
- In Portofino. Lo Stella (lostellaporto fino.com).
- In Santa Margherita. Seghezzo (tel: +39 0185 287172); Beppe Achilli (tel: +39 0185 286516).
To bring back
- Genoese fabrics from Rivara 1802 in Genoa. rivara1802.it.
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