View of the Bigo Elevator in the Port of Genoa, Italy
Housed in a ship-like structure, the Genoa Aquarium is home to diverse species of jellyfish, stingrays and colorful fish in aquatic ecosystem displays. After you're done, head to the Galata Museum, which has a moored submarine, original artifacts and ships. Hop on the Bigo lift to be elevated to a full-circle view of Genoa.
Close up of the décor of the Palace of St. George in Genoa, Italy
In Genoa's historic center, pause and admire the fresco of St. George at Palazzo San Giorgio, one of the first banks in Europe. Take a whiff of the wave of aromas coming from the typical botteghe and street stands as you wander to the majestic Gothic Cathedral San Lorenzo. Visit the Columbus Museum, make your way to the Palazzo Ducale, then go up to the Grimaldi Tower to savor a spectacular view of the city.
Close by, you can jump on the train to Monterosso and explore Cinque Terre (or the five cities). Adventure through these cliffside villages to find one of the very fine trattorie offering the freshest seafood accompanied by their local white wines.
Genoa is home to the world-famous basil-based condiment pesto. But walnut sauce is the region's other great invention — enjoy it atop gnocchi or pansotti, a ravioli stuffed with greens and herbs. Stop by a street vendor for freshly fried calamari and anchovies or farinata, a flatbread made from chickpea flour. Seek out stoccafisso, cod prepared with pine nuts, olives, tomatoes and potatoes.
The historic district's carrugi, or cobblestone alleyways, are the place to go for shopping in Genoa. Peek into the old-school workshops where you can see artisans craft leather shoes and bags, gold jewelry and hand-tailored clothing. Look for a mezzaro genovese, a decorative tapestry based on the ornate shawls that came into Genoa from India during 18th-century trade. Playful cat statues are also a distinctive Ligurian trinket — you can find them here and in nearby Cinque Terre.
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