What to See, What to Know, What to Do, in Genoa
To reach Genoa you have many different possibilities. Most people come to Genoa by car or by train, but there is obviously the possibility to come by ship and you can also come to Genoa by plane.
By car you can reach Genoa from France using the A10, from North using the A26, from Milan using the most ancient highway called A7 and from Rome using the A12. From Rome you can also reach Genoa by car using the SS (National Road without pay tolls) 1, a road that have a very long history. It is called Via Aurelia from the name of the Roman Emperor Aurelio and its history starts from Romans even if its track it is not exactly the same of the beginning.
Even people who come to Genoa by train can see a part of the history: Genoa Principe Railway Station is one of the most ancient railway stations in Italy and it was created in the 19th century with the first track in the northern part of Italy: the track from Turin to Genoa. Genoa Principe is one of two biggest and most important stations in Genoa (the other is Genoa Brignole, but there are more or less 20 railways stations in Genoa), and is very well connected: France is a quick train ride, with French TGV, and there are frequent connections with Turin, Milan, Rome and there are also trains that can bring you directly from and to the southern part of Italy and in Sicily.
But for a city like Genoa, for the city of Christopher Columbus, the most important door is obviously the port. even if now it is no longer the most important port of the Mediterranean, Genoa continues to be a very important port. From there you can go to Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, but also to Turkey or take a ship to a long visit to the Mediterranean.
By plane the most important international airport near Genoa is Milano Malpensa. But you don't need to go to Milan to arrive in Genoa by plane. The Christopher Columbus Airport of Genoa has lots of flights ready for you, both low budget (for example Ryan air with many many many connection to London) and first class airfare (Alitalia, Airfrance, Lufthansa). It has frequent flights, for example, with Paris, Milan, Rome and Munich.
SIGHTS OF GENOA
Most of people in the world know the aquarium of Genoa, but this is not the only attraction of the city. Truly the symbol of the city is the Lanterna, but it is not the only symbol. The city with the largest historical center in Europe is for sure important, big, and complicated, and with these characteristics, you cannot have only one symbol. The celebrations for Christopher Columbus in the 1992 gave to Genoa many many things and in particular a lift in the old port, a lift that allow tourists to see the city from the high by the seaside, and this is for sure another symbol of Genoa.
But also the De Ferrari fountain is well known from tourists. Even if Genoa technically has no center (because of hill near the sea that didn't permit a uniform development of the city), De Ferrari square is commonly known as the center of the city and the fountain in the middle of the square is the symbol of the center of the city.
No one can forget the Garibaldi's Monument in the Quarto Zone, where Garibaldi started his mission with 1,000 men to make the Italy united. Perhaps many other things can be mentioned like Genovese symbol, even in food (Pasta with pesto first of all), but we can end this paragraph here. We have mentioned many symbols and people will understand for sure how many things there are to see in Genoa.
IMPORTANT PEOPLE FROM GENOA
Who discovered America? Probably Christopher Columbus, even if some one tells you that America was already discovered before 1492. And where was he born? For sure in Genoa or near there even if Spanish people say that he was Spanish. We sincerely don't know if he was born in Genoa or in a town near here, but what we do know that he, when he was young, lived in Genoa with his parents and his brother and that his uncle was the guardian in the Lanterna. He was not the only important person in Genoa for Italy and the world. I don't mind to mention Napoleon (who was born in Corsica just one month after that Genoa gave the island to the France), but I cannot forget other people. Especially two: Giuseppe Mazzini who organized the project to make the united Italy and the great Genovese singer Fabrizio De Andre¨ whose songs where translated in many languages.
In Genoa was born also the Pope Benedict XV who in Genoa studied law. And in Genoa was Archbishop the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Genoa had also a great dialect actor: Gilberto Govi. He is not so famous in Italy and abroad as Antonio De Curtis (Toto, from Naples), but may be he was even better than Toto. With his capacity to make you smile with words but very moving.
Genoa is also a city that gave to the history and to the Catholicism many saints. We can mention Santa Caterina da Genoa, Santa Virgina Centurione Bracelli, San Tommaso Reggio, and Sant'Agostino Roscelli. In the Hebraism was very important Riccardo Pacifici. During the Second World War Genoa was had one of the largest Judean communities in Italy and this community had Riccardo Pacifici as Rabbi. Riccardo Pacifici accepted bravely his destiny in Auschwitz, and sadly he never came back from there, back to his community.
Going around in the most important cemetery of the city you can meet also another important person who was not Genovese but who spent very much time in Genoa: the wife of Oscar Wilde.
DIFFERENT TOWNS IN ONE CITY
When you move to Genoa you should visit the building where work the Major: Palazzo Doria Tursi in Via Garibaldi. In this building you can see stones with the name of many zones of Genoa. Why is this? Because until 1929 these zones of Genoa where different towns and the became one city in 1929.
This is also the reason because in Genoa there are two monuments to Giuseppe Garibaldi: one in the "town" of Quarto where he stated his mission and one in the center of the city.
TRADITIONS OF GENOA
Genoa has great traditions. First of all the tradition of celebrating San Giovanni Battista on June 24th with the archbishop who bless the sea during a procession with people who bring very big crucified with a weight of more or less 150kg. A kind of procession we can find even in other moments of the year (for example during the celebration at Acquasanta church or at Nostra Signora della Guardia).
But this is not the only tradition. Genoa has many market especially during the catholic days of party: Santa Zita, San Pietro and Sant' Agata are the most famous market.
A part from these kind of tradition, Genoa every year has the Salone Nautico Internazionale that call to Genoa many people from all over the world for a great exposition of ships as, every 5 years, many people from all over the world comes to see one of the greatest expositions of flowers and plants: Euroflora.
A tradition not so well known is the Confuoco: the president of the "A Compagna" association go to a public greating to the major as in the middle age happened every year between bishop and doge (the president of the genovese republic). In this occasion the major and the president of "A compagna" set in fire some peaces of Laurus Nobilis to try to understand if the new year will be good or not.
By Francesco Ristori