Ok, let me start by being completely honest — I didn’t love Genoa. I like the history and the idea of Genoa, but the actual city doesn’t exactly have loads of charm. There are cute little corners here and there, fashionable cafes popping up ad hoc, and some gorgeous historical architecture, but like many port cities, Genoa tends to be a bit rough around the edges.
While a bit brusque today, the Serene Republic of Genoa ruled the Mediterranean Sea from the 11th to the 13th centuries. The city’s power and prestige peaked in the middle ages, which explains why today the city is famous for its elaborate and maze-like medieval quarter. The “old city” as it is known is a web of narrow medieval roads that snake their way through the city. Emily and I wandered these streets until we stumbled on the gorgeous striped churches of San Pietro in Banchi and the city’s cathedral, San Lorenzo.
Also worth visiting are two of the city’s royal palaces – the Palazzo Reale and the Villa del Principe. Both are stunning Renaissance structures, and the latter is stilled used by the Doria Pamphilj princess when she is in town.
In addition to sightseeing, it is really important that while in Genoa you eat pesto. No, I am serious. This is the region that invented pesto and focaccia and they are incredible. I grabbed a piece of pesto pizza while walking around the city and it about changed my life.
After eating and wandering our way through Genoa, Emily and I headed the colorful seaside fishing village of Boccadesse for the evening. It was a welcome respite from the city and the perfect way to spend the afternoon and evening. Plus, it was a much better match for our aesthetic.