Genoa (pop. 640,000), city of grit and grandeur, has little in common with its resort neighbors. A Ligurian will tell you, Si deve conosceria per amaria” (you have to know her to love her). While lacking the intimacy of a small-town resort, Genoa more than makes up for it in its rich cultural history and extravagant sights. Since falling into decline in the 18th century, modem Genoa has turned its attention from industry and trade to the restoration of its bygone splendor, and is once again claiming its position among Italy’s most important cultural centers.
TRANSPORTATION. Columbo Internazionale airport (GOA), in Sesti Ponente, services European destinations. Take Volabus #100 from Stazione Brignole to the airport (every 30min. ‚2) and get off at Aeroporto. Most visitors arrive at one of Genoa’s two train stations: Stazione Principe, in P. Acquaverde, or Stazione Brignole,
Verdi. Trains go to Rome (5hr. 9 per day, ‚33) and Turin (2hr. 19 per day, ‚9). AMT buses (010 558 24 14) run throughout the city. One-way tickets (‚1) are valid for IMihr.; all-day passes cost ‚3. Ferries depart from the Ponte Assereto arm of the port; buy tickets at Stazione Marittlma in the port.
ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION. To get to the center of town, Piazza de Ferrari, from Stazione Principe, take Via Balbi to Via Cairoii, which becomes Via Garibaldi, and turn right on Via XXV Aprile at P. delle Fontane Marose. From Stazione Brignole, turn right onto Via Hume, and right onto Via XX Settembre. Or, take bus #19, 20, 30, 32, 35, or 41 from Stazione Principe or bus #19 or 40 from Stazione Brignole to P. de Ferrari in the center of town. The centre storico (historic center) contains many of Genoa’s monuments. The tourist office is on Porto Antico, in Palazzina S. Maria. From the aquarium, walk toward the complex of buildings to the left. ( 010 24 87 11; www.genovatouristboard.net. Open M-Sa 9am-lpm and 2- 6pm.) Log on to the Internet at APCA, V. Colombo 35r. (fax 010 58 13 41. ‚5.40 per hr. Open M-F 9am-noon.) Postal Code: 16121.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD. Ostello per la Giovent(HI) O, V. Cos- tanzi 120, has a cafeteria, TV, and a view of the city far below. From Stazione Principe, take bus #35 to V. Napoli and transfer to #40, which runs to the hostel. From Stazione Brignole, pick up bus #40 (every 15min.) and ask to be let off at the osteUo. (fax 010 242 24 57. Breakfast included. Reception 7-llam and 3:30pm- 12:30am. No curfew. HI members only. Dorms ‚13.) Hotel Balbi , V. Balbi 213, offers large, ornate rooms. (fax 010 25 23 62. Breakfast ‚4. Singles ‚30, with bath ‚45; doubles ‚5570; triples ‚7585. AmExMCV.) Camping is popular; check the tourist office for availability, or try Genova Est on V. Marcon Loc Cassa. Take the train from Stazione Brignole to the suburb of Bogliasco (lOmin. 6 per day, ‚ 1); a free bus (5min. every 2hr. 8:10am-6pm) will take you from Bogliasco to the campsite. (010 347 20 53. Electricity ‚1.80 per day. Laundry ‚3.50 per load. ‚4.70 per person, ‚9.60 per tent.) iiTrattoria da Maria , V. Testa d’Oro 14r, off V. XXV Aprile, has new selections every day, with a three-course menu for ‚8. (010 58 10 80. Open Su-F noon-2:30pm and 7-9:30pm.)
SIGHTS AND ENTERTAINMENT. Genoa boasts a multitude of palazzi built by its famous merchant families. These are best seen along Via Garibaldi, on the edge of centro storico, and Via Balbi, in the heart of the university quarter. The 17th-century Palazzo Reale, V. Balbi 10, lOmin. west of V. Garibaldi, is filled with Rococo rooms bathed in gold and upholstered in red velvet. (Open Su and Th-Sa 9am-7pm, Tu-W 9am-l:30pm. ‚4, ages 18-25 ‚2, under-18 and seniors free.) Follow V. Balbi through P. della Nunziata and continue to L. Zecca, where V. Cairoleads to Via Garibaldi, the most impressive street in Genoa, bedecked with elegant palazzi that once earned it the names Golden Street and Street of Kings. The Galleria di Palazzo Bianco, V. Garibaldi 11, exhibits Ligurian, Dutch, and Flemish paintings. Across the street, the 17th-century Galleria Palazzo Rosso, V. Garibaldi
18, has magnificent furnishings in a lavishly frescoed interior. (Both open Su 10am-6pm, Tu-Sa 9am-7pm. ‚3.10 each, ‚5.20 for both. Su free.) The Vilietta Di Negro, on the hill further down V. Garibaldi, contains waterfalls, grottoes, and terraced gardens. From P. de Ferrari, take V. Boetto to P. Matteotti for the ornate Chiesa di Gesu. (Open daily 7:15am-12:30pm and 4-7:30pm.) Head past the Chiesa di
Gesu down V. di Porta Soprana to V. Ravecca to reach the medieval twin-towered Porta Soprana, the supposed boyhood home of Christopher Columbus. Off V.S. Lorenzo lies the San Lorenzo Duomo, a church in existence since the 9th century, which boasts a striped Gothic facade with a copiously decorated main entrance and 9th-century carved lions. (Open M-Sa 8am-7pm, Su 7am-7pm.) The centro storico, the eerie and beautiful historical center bordered by the port, V. Garibaldi, and P. Ferrari, is a mass of winding and confusing streets containing some of Genoa’s most memorable monuments, including the duomo and the medieval Torre Embraici. However, a dangerous night scene makes visiting the centro storico best confined to weekdays when stores are open. From P. Matteotti, go down V.S. Lorenzo toward the water, turn left on V. Chiabrera and left on V. di Mascherona to reach the ISChiesa S. Maria di Castello, a labyrinth of chapels, courtyards, cloisters, and crucifixes. (Open daily 9am-noon and 3-6pm.) Kids and ocean-lovers will adore the massive aquarium on Porto Antico to the right of the APT tourist office. (Open July-Aug. daily 9:30am-llpm; Sept.-June reduced hours. ‚12.)
A beachside plaque proclaims the town of Finale Ligure (pop. 15,000) the place for II riposo del popolo (the people’s rest). From bodysurfing in choppy waves to browsing through chic boutiques to scaling the 15th-century ruins of Castello di San Giovanni, riposo takes many forms in Finale Ligure. The city is divided into three sections: Finalpia to the east, Finalmarina in the center, and Finalborgo further inland. The train station and most sights are in Finalmarina. Skip the packed beaches in town and walk east along V. Aurelia through the first tunnel, turning right for a less populated free beach. Climb the tough trail to the ruins of Castel Govone for a spectacular view. Enclosed within ancient walls, Finalborgo, the historic quarter of Finale Ligure proper, is a 1km walk or short ACTS bus ride up V. Bruneghi from the station. Pilade, V. Garibaldi 67, features live jazz on Friday nights. (019 69 22 20. Open daily 10am-2am.) The towns near Finale Ligure are also worth exploring. SAR buses run from the train station to Borgo Verezzi (lOmin. every 15min. ‚1.50).
Trains leave from P. Vittorio Veneto for Genoa (lhr. every hr. ‚3.80). The LAT tourist office, V.S. Pietro 14, gives out free maps. (019 68 10 19; fax 019 68 18 04. Open M-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 3:30-6:30pm, Su 9am-noon.) Check email at Net Village Internet Cafe, near the train station. (019 681 62 83. Open daily 8:15am-mid- night. ‚5.50 per hr.) HCastello Wuillerman (HI) O, on V. Generate Caviglia, is well worth the hike. From the train station, cross the street and turn left onto V. Rai- mondo Pertica, then left onto V. Rossi. After passing a church on the left, take a left onto V. Alonzo, and trudge up the daunting steps to a red-brick castle with a stunning view of the sea. (019 69 05 15; email@example.com. Breakfast and sheets included. Internet access ‚4.50 per hr. Reception daily 7-10am and 5- 10pm. Curfew 11:30pm. Email reservations. HI members only. Dorms ‚11.) Albergo San Marco , V. della Concezione 22, has spotless rooms, many with balconies. From train station, walk straight ahead down V. Saccone, and turn left on V. della Concezione. (019 69 25 33; fax 681 6187. Open Easter-late Sept. Singles ‚33-39; doubles ‚45-57. Extra bed ‚10. AmExDCMCV.) Camping Del Mulino O, on V. Castelli, has a restaurant and mini-market on the premises. Take the Calvisio bus from the station to the Boncardo Hotel and follow the brown-and-yellow signs to the campsite entrance. ( 019 60 16 69. Reception Apr.-Sept. 8am-8pm. ‚4.50-6 per person, ‚5-7 per tent.) Cheap restaurants lie along Via Rossi, Via Roma, and Via
Garibaldi. Fill up on huge portions of delicious pasta at Spaghetteria It Posto 0, V. Porro 21. The Coop supermarket is at V. Dante Alighieri 7. (Open M-Sa 8:30am- 7:30pm, Su 9am-lpm. MCV.) Postal Code: 17024.
RIVIERA DI LEVANTE
CAMOGLI. Postcard-perfect Camogli shimmers with color. Sun-faded peach houses crowd the hilltop, red and turquoise boats bob in the water, piles of fishing nets cover the docks, and bright umbrellas dot the dark stone beaches. Trains run on the Genoa-La Spezia line to Genoa (40min. 38 per day, ‚1.50) and La Spezia (VAhr. 24 per day, ‚3.50). Golfo Paradiso ferries, V. Scalo 3 (0185 77 20 91; www.golfoparadiso.it), near P. Colombo, go to Portofmo (round-trip ‚16) and Cinque Terre (round-trip ‚20). Buy tickets on the dock, call ahead for the schedule. Turn right from the station to find the tourist office, V. XX Settembre 33, which helps find rooms. ( 0185 77 10 66. Open M-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 3:30-7pm, Su 9am- lpm.) Exit the train station, walk down the stairway to the right, and look for the blue sign for the GiAlbergo La CamoglieseO, V. Garibaldi 55, near the beach. (0185 77 14 02; fax 77 40 24. Internet access ‚1 per 30min. Singles ‚51-59; doubles ‚69- 80.10% Let’s Go discount with cash payment. AmExMCV.) Postal Code: 16032.
SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE. Santa Margherita Ligure was a calm fishing village until the early 20th century, when it fell into favor with Hollywood stars. Today, glamour and glitz paint the shore, but the serenity of the town’s early days still lingers. If ocean waves don’t invigorate your spirit, try the holy water in sea- shell basins at the Basilica di Santa Margherita, at P. Caprera. Trains along the Pisa- Genoa line go from P. Federico Raoul Nobili, at the top of V. Roma, to Genoa (40min. 2-4 per hr. ‚2.10) and La Spezia (1 ahr. 2 per hr. ‚4). Tigullio buses (0185 28 88 34) go from P.V. Veneto to Camogli (30min. 1-2 per hr. ‚1.20) and Portofino (20min. 3 per hr. ‚1.50). Tigullio ferries, V. Palestro 8lb (-s-0185 28 46 70), have tours to Cinque Terre (July-Sept. W, Th and Sa, daily, ‚20) and Portofmo (every hr. ‚3.50). Turn right from the train station on V. Roma, left on C. Rai- nusso, turn left and take a hard right onto V. XXV Aprile from Largo Giusti to find the tourist office, V. XXV Aprile 2b, which arranges lodging. I 0185 28 74 85; fax 28 30 34. Open M-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 3-7:30pm, Su 9:30am-12:30pm and 4:30- 7:30pm.) EiHotel Terminus O, P. Nobili 4, is to left as you exit station. The spacious rooms in this 18th-century building give breathtaking view of sea. (Singles ‚50, with bath ‚65; doubles with bath ‚85; triples ‚105; quads ‚116. AmExMCV.) Trattoria Baicin , V. Algeria 9, has the best pesto in town. ( 0185 28 67 63. Open Su and Tu-Sa noon-3pm and 7pm-midnight. AmExMCV.) Postal Code: 16032.
PORTOFINO. As long as you don’t buy anything, princes and paupers alike can enjoy the curved shores and tiny bay of Portofino. A lhr. walk along the ocean road offers the chance to scout out small rocky beaches. The area’s only sandy beach, Paraggi (where the bus stops), is only a small strip. In town, follow the signs uphill from the bay to escape to the cool interior of the Chiesa di San Giorgio. A few minutes up the road toward the castle is a serene garden with sea views. (Open daily 10am-7pm, off-season reduced hours. ‚3.50.) To get to town, take the bus to Portofino Mare (not Portofmo Vetta). From P. Martiri della Liberta, Tigullio buses go to Santa Margherita (3 per hr. ‚1.50); buy tickets at the green kiosk. Ferries also go to Camogli (2 per day, ‚7) and Santa Margherita (every hr. 10:30am-4pm, ‚3.50). The tourist office, V. Roma 35, is on the way to the waterfront from the bus stop. ( 0185 26 90 24. Open daily 10:30am-l:30pm and 2-7:30pm.)
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