6 Things to Do/See in Genoa, Italy

Genoa definitely isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you think about Italy. Although it doesn’t have the curb appeal that Rome, Venice and Florence may have, Genoa has its perks that many people don’t know about.

I spent 4 days in Genoa, which was the perfect amount of time to see the sights and get a good feel for the people and culture the city has to offer.

It’s a really relaxing city, with few tourists and great weather in October. I’ve thought of the 6 main things I loved in Genoa, each one being an activity I would recommend for anyone planning a trip in the future!


1. Aperitivos | Appetizers 

“Hmm… you’re recommending that I eat appetizers while in Genoa, Italy? Original…” – Yes!

Aperitivos are no plain jane appetizer, they’re more than that. Between the times of 6-8 pm, you can sit down at a restaurant and ONLY order a drink (alcohol of choice), and *magic* a plate of food is brought to the table free of charge.

Each restaurant has its own assortment of food, some a small amount and some a pretty big amount. My favorite aperitivo was arranged by GloGlo, a tiny bistro with excellent outdoor seating, located in a small piazza, tucked away in the back streets of Genoa’s long twisty alleyways.



They had garlic bread, small squares of pizza, corn bread, veggies, and a few dipping sauces – all of which was incredible. They bring out enough to serve the amount of people present, as a family of 8 next to us had an array of 4 plates on the table. This bistro in particular had a wide range of people here; from families with babies, to teenagers, to old couples.

Aperitivos are awesome, to say the least. Who doesn’t like free food?

IMG_2531|Oh & their beer is huge for only 4 Euros|

2. Food 

Speaking of food, lets take a minute to appreciate what Italians are doing here (not just because I’m Italian, myself). I mean come on, I have never heard of anyone not loving pasta!

In case you didn’t know, Genoa is famous for their pesto, and let me be the one to say that this title is well deserved. I’ve never been a fan of pesto on, well, anything. This was until I tried FRESH pesto (whatever that means). But really, it’s better here.



I also tried my hand at some fresh calamari, caught locally from the Mediterranean. They had tentacles and all, eek!



And of course, pizza.


IMG_2538|A sad attempt at “cheering” pizza|

And some amazing deserts!




 Cheers to all my fellow food lovers out there.

3. Walk XX September & See the Fountain 

Twenty September is the main shopping street in Genoa. It’s a huge strip with an array of brand-named designer stores and general stores we folks on a tight budget can manage. The entire length of the street is lined by huge Romanesc pillars, huge marble buildings, and mosaic lined sidewalks. I felt like a celebrity (without the monetary funds) just walking up and down this magnificent street.

Why aren’t all outdoor shopping strips like this?

IMG_2565I wish I would have taken more pictures of the actual street itself, but it definitely has something to offer every type of tourist. I recommend taking a few hours out of your trip in Genoa to relax and shop!

After you start from the bottom of the street and make your way up, you will find yourself at Genoa’s famous fountain on Piazza de Ferrari.






My roommate and I found ourselves just sitting along the edge of the fountain talking, people watching, and planning our days here. Bring some bread for the pigeons, and have a nice relaxing afternoon thinking about how you’re in Italy!

4. Funicular

I was also recommended by my hostel manager to take the funicular to the top of Genoa’s mountain to see an overlook of the city. The city is built into the mountainside, overlooking the harbor and the gorgeous colors of the Mediterranean. For a mere 1.6 Euros, you take a tiny train 15 minutes up the mountain to get some rather amazing views.







Unfortunately, we decided to go up on a day with overcast skies and light rain fall. The view was sill incredible, but I can only imagine how beautiful it is on a clear day!

5. Walk The Harbor 

The harbor of Genoa is beautiful in its own way. It’s definitely not a sandy beach, but it’s the more modern and industrial side of Genoa that reminds you how Europe is a combination of old and new. Genoa truly is a city of old architecture and industrialization, but that’s what makes it unique and special and not your typical European city.

The harbor has a huge market that’s set up every day with assortments of scarves, magnets, food, soaps, paintings, clothes, bags, and more. It’s right along the sea-side, so the ambiance is one of a kind.




6. Get Lost

Honestly, my one recommendation to anyone visiting Genoa (or any European city) is to get lost.

Just walk around and be an adventurer! My roommate and I got lost for an hour – not on purpose – but we ended up finding some incredible stores, gelato, and forming some unforgettable memories. I felt like I was a local.

Who says you must have a plan every day during travel? Wander, explore, live life.








IMG_2591|Christopher Columbus’s house|

Genoa is a beautiful city that is often overlooked when visiting Italy. It’s not a place for museums and sight-seeing, but to relax, feel like a local, and eat some amazing food. My roommate and I had an incredible four days here, and I would definitely come back in a heartbeat!

>>Address for GloGlo Bistro: Piazza Lavagna, 16123 Genoa, Italy  <<