Most cruise ships would dock at Stazione Maritima de Genova in Genoa, and in case all terminals are occupied, at the nearby Ponte Andrea Doria. Both locations are very close to the central station of Genoa – Principe in the city centre. Despite of it central location, the main terminal is off a highway, in an industrial site. It is possible to walk to town only if you have no luggage and it would take about 20 minutes. Principe station is 5 min walking distance and so is the nearest bus stop. There are parking facilities available, as well as plenty of taxis. The Airport of Genoa is only 15 min away by car, 6 km away.
The local currency is Euros – EUR. Exchanging money would be quite easy, just bear in mind that ATMs are not as reliable, as they would be in the UK and most of the smaller shops would not accept Credit cards. Look at the card symbols at their windows. The Exchange rates at banks and exchange bureaus tend to be less favourable and they would also charge commission. The cheapest way seems to be to withdraw cash from an ATM from your Debit card or pay with your card directly. Do make sure the local ATM of a specific bank is compatible with your card and notify your bank and credit card issuer that you would be abroad. Make sure you are aware of the fees they would charge when you withdraw or pay in Euros. Many banks and card companies now offer fees free service for travellers. Never exchange money with anyone that approaches you on the street and protect your PIN number at ATMs.
Opening hours – the banks and post offices in Genoa are normally open from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm with various opening hours in the afternoon during weekdays. Some of them would also work Saturday mornings. Most museums and attractions would be closed on Mondays. Some shops and stores would be closed Monday mornings. Many shops close for a couple of hours middays, although now more and more shops are staying open, especially in the city centre. The shopping malls would stay open all day. Traditionally Easter and Christmas are bank holidays in Genoa, as well as other national and religious holidays. Do make yourself aware of those before you travel.
Tipping in Genoa – Tipping is generally not expected but appreciated. Check your restaurant and hotel bills for any service charges before you decide to tip. Bellhops and housekeepers would appreciate a 1-2 euros tip, and you may round up the fares for taxis and tour guides if you are happy with the service.
Genoese speak Italian. English language is spoken mainly among the younger generation and people that work in the tourist industry. A few Italian words could take you a long way.
The local time in Genoa is GMT + 1 and the International dialling code is 00 39 010.
Things To Do
Via Garibaldi, also known as the Golden Street in the historical centre of Genoa is famous for the number of ancient palaces, built by the wealthiest family of Genoa, some of them dating back as far as mid-16th century. Today the 14 buildings are homes to major banks, cultural groups, antiques dealers, shops and offices. Some of the most famous ones are the trio of palaces – Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi. All three of them form an impressive complex of art galleries and museums, displaying art from the private collections of the families that once lived there. The exhibition has been enriched massively over time and now features work by Genoese, Flemish, French and Spanish painters. The third building – Palazzo Doria Tursi, hosts the city’s Town Hall, as well as a collection of Niccolo Paganini’s musical instruments and other personal belongings.
Piazza De Ferrari is the buzzing heart of the city, renowned for the tall fountain in the centre, as well as the beautiful ancient palaces that surround it. This is where the financial centre of Genoa was established in the 19th century, along with the stock exchange and the Bank of Italy. Some of the buildings to look at, are Palazzo della Borsa, Regione Liguria, Palazzo Ducale and the Opera House Carlo Felice. The streets that start from the Piazza, form the most popular shopping streets of Genoa.
Another more recent attraction is the Aquarium of Genoa, the largest in Europe. The unusual design of the building resembles a ship, ready to sail away, and it’s a home to 15,000 animals of 600 species on an area of 27,000 sqm. Now there is also an actual ship, connected to the main building by a walkway. The concept of the exhibition is to showcase the flora and fauna of the Ligurian Sea, the North Atlantic and the Caribbean reefs. The aquarium is visited by 1.2 million people every year. To celebrate it’s 25th anniversary, the Aquarium now has a new look and there are new exciting immersive experiences added to its programme for visitors of any age, such as the VR Abyss Room and the Fish Making Room.
The Old Port of Genoa (Porto Antico di Genoa) is a large square overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, more than a thousand years old, but now buzzing with life. This is now a cultural, recreational, shopping and dining spot, where you can enjoy some lovely views of the city and harbour. This is where the Aquarium of Genoa and the Galata Sea Museum – the largest maritime museum of the Mediterranean are located.
There is still more history to see in Genoa and we are struggling to narrow the list down! Time permitting, take a stroll around the Old Town of Genoa – thought to be the largest medieval city in Europe. Locked between the ancient city gates Porta dei Vacca and Porta Soprana (near the birth place of Christopher Columbus) is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets, mostly residential, but with a growing number of trendy bars and cafes.
Admire the architecture of the olden days at the Doge’s Palace – the former home of the Doges of Genoa, dating back to 1339, now an important cultural centre; see the Royal Palace – built in the 17th century, now a National Museum; don’t miss the Genoa Cathedral of San Lorenzo, built around 1098 and now the heart of the city and the seat of the archbishop of Genoa.
If you would like to spend some time breathing the fresh sea breeze and admire the waves, take the Passeggiata (the Italian word for a ‘walk’) Anita Garibaldi a Nervi – the wonderful 1.2 miles sea walk, named after Guiseppe Garibaldi’s wife. Or take the funicular to Parco Urbano - The Park of the City Walls, where within a few stops of the city centre you are suddenly surrounded by nature and history – the New City walls of the 18th century, built in a magnificent, protected landscape.
There are a few options to admire the splendid views of Genoa – go to Spaniata Castelletto – a balcony, suspended over the Historic Centre with 360 degrees views of Genoa; take the futuristic, crane inspired Bigo lift for the best views of the port of Genoa, or climb all the way up to the Lighthouse of Genoa (called Lanterna by locals), for some panoramic pictures.
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