|Must see tourist attractions
|Genoa historic city centre
|Savona city centre
|Savona Priamar Fortress
The Cruise Terminals of Genoa are located in the heart of the Old Port, a model of modernity which blends perfectly with the architectural elements from the different periods of the city’s fascinating maritime past. Genoa’s waterfront was the focus of a highly successful ambitious redevelopment scheme on the part of the Genoese Renzo Piano, one of the most influential architects in the world, to host the Expo 1992 events, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by the Genoa-born explorer Christopher Columbus. The formerly gritty port area was also spruced up for Genoa’s City of Culture status in 2004 and is now a destination in its own right, boasting bars, gelaterie, shops and restaurants. Whilst the whole are area regularly hosts festivals, concerts and cultural events.
Europe’s largest state-of-the-art Aquarium, situated along the waterfront, is Genoa’s top attraction. Its display tanks stretch out into the harbour: dolphins, sharks, piranhas, penguins, seals are amongst the over 500 species which can be viewed close up, underwater or from walkways above the tanks.
Nearby is the Galata Maritime Museum, celebrating Genoa’s prodigious seafaring past and which offers great views of the old port and town. There are also superb views of Genoa from Renzo Piano’s Il Bigo structure, its lift resembling a ship’s crane that whizzes above the port. Whilst children can learn about science and technology whilst having fun at the Città dei Bambini e Ragazzi featuring over 90 interactive and multimedia exhibits.
The city’s heart is the eclectic labyrinth of medieval cobblestone lanes, the urban fabric of one of the largest historic centres in Europe. Genoa’s past, as one of the Mediterranean’s leading maritime powers and as cradle of the modern banking system, is reflected in the wealth of sumptuous marble landmarks which characterise the vast pedestrianised old town. The caruggiand piazzas are a living treasure trove of the past where highlights include the 13thcentury monumental Palazzo Ducale– the former residence of the Genoese Doges – now an arts venue which regularly features highly acclaimed international photographic and art retrospectives. Or the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo with its distinctive black slate and white marble facade and priceless collection of sacred treasures, and the resplendent 16thcentury Palazzo del Principe with artwork by Old Masters and other hidden treasures against the backdrop of its attractive gardens. Much of the former Republic of Genoa’s mercantile wealth had been invested in churches. For instance the Church of Gesù, with outstanding works of art by Rubens, or the 12thcentury Church and Cloister of San Matteo, nestled in the graceful Piazza San Matteo alongside the magnificent palazzi of the Admiral and Prince Andrea Doria who was at the helm of the Golden Age of the Republic of Genoa during the 16th century.
- UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The sumptuous marble Renaissance palazzi lining Via Garibaldi, the former magnificent homes of the noble families of the Republic of Genoa, were listed on the Palazzi dei Rolli – a register of dwellings offering hospitality to royalty on State visits during the 16thcentury. Rubens found the elegance of the buildings mesmerising, and was inspired to publish a collection of documents and detailed drawings of the palazzi. A staggering 42 of the 163 palazzi dei rollilocated in Genoa’s historic centre have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Spinola are art galleries with Italian, Flemish, Dutch and Spanish masterpieces on display.
FROM THE SEA TO THE HILLS
Stretching along a 30-km coastline, Genoa offers great beaches within easy reach of the cruise port.
A leisurely walk along the Corso Italia leads to pretty Boccadasse, a small sheltered fishing village where you can sample to perfect ice cream and indulge in sublime aperitivi in the numerous bars overlooking the sea. Whilst Nervi, to the east of Genoa, nestled between the hills and the sea, where grand villas and lush gardens once owned by Italian nobles now provide stunning backdrops to art displays and events, offers the terrific opportunity for a stroll along the dramatic 2-km Anita Garibaldi Promenade which runs along the Cliffside.
The hills which encompass Genoa are dotted with are dotted with a myriad of perfectly preserved hamlets and villages where visitors can savour a taste of history, tradition, handmade crafts and, naturally, gastronomic delights. One of the most pleasant ways of travelling inland from Genoa is by the Casella Railway, on a narrow gauge train in refurbished carriages dating from 1929, which offers breathtaking views as it cut its way into the heart of the Apennines.
GET OUT OF TOWN
You are spoilt for choice! A bus-ride or boat trip from the Cruise Terminal along a spectacular rugged coastline, described by Yeats as a “thin line of broken mother of pearl”, and in 40 minutes the top exclusive resorts of Portofino, Santa Margherita and Camogli of the renowned Italian Riviera can be viewed against a backdrop of lush Mediterranean vegetation.
Camogli, a charming sun-drenched fishing village, is characterised by lofty yellow and orange houses along the tiny harbour where the pine-green cliffs plunge into the turquoise sea. The myriad of coffee shops and bars which line the passeggiataare a great place from which to enjoy the fine views overGolfo Paradisoand Monte Portofino. Boats link Camogli to the adjacent 12th-century Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte, nestled in a tiny hamlet in a picturesque bay.
From Camogli, one of the most scenic routes in Italy leads to Santa Margherita Ligure, the elegant coastal town where the waterfront bars and cafés fill up with young vacationers in the summer, whilst the resort simultaneously preserves the charm of the brightly-coloured houses that recall its fishing village past. Here designer shopping is a must as the town abounds with boutiques galore!
Finally, the headland and little bay of Portofino, whose tall, narrow, pastel-coloured houses frame oand trattorias overlooking the harbour against the backdrop of the porticoes. On the promontory stands the Castle of San Giorgio, a medieval fortress refurbished in 1870 as the private residence of the British consul in Genoa which is open to the public and boasts spectacular views of the coastline from its lush gardens. An easy scenic trail leads to the Lighthouse at Punta del Capo.
Savona combines the charm of its medieval centre with the modernity of the new buildings of the port area, designed by leading international architects.
Cruise ships arriving in Savona are welcomed by the ancient Leon Pancaldo Tower, which monitors the safe mooring at the dock of the port. Once disembarked, passengers can easily reach the old town across the pedestrian bridge in the marina and stroll along the fascinating alleys of the medieval centre. Here cruise passengers can pay a visit to the Cathedral with Julius II’ s intarsia choir and the Sixtine Chapel, commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV as a mausoleum for his parents. Our Lady of the Castle’s Oratory with the monumental polyptych by V. Foppa and L. Brea and the Town Gallery with the works of art commissioned by the Della Rovere family are certainly worth a visit.
Art lovers can enjoy a visit to the Art Museum of Palazzo Gavotti, with theMunicipal Art Collectionon display, an exciting crossroads of ancient, modern and contemporary art, and the new Ceramics Museum, a marvellous voyage across different eras and styles. From Renaissance to the 20th century, from Futurism to contemporary design, over a thousand artworks narrate the strong bond between a land and its artistic traditions.
The ramparts of the sixteenth-century Priamar Fortress, dominating the sea and the old town, offer breathtaking views of the picturesque Ligurian coastline, from La Spezia to Capo Mele. In the summer, the Fortress hosts a spectacular open-air festival with a full programme of opera, concerts and plays.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Just a short way from Savona cruise passengers can discover enchanting villages which have maintained their medieval appearance almost unaltered.
Noli, known as the “fifth maritime republic”, with its picturesque cobblestone streets surrounded by imposing defensive walls and dominated by the Ursino Castle.
Finalborgo, the capital of the Del Carretto’s Marquisate, hides fascinating private and religious buildings inside its fifteenth-century defensive walls, protected by several fortresses;
Varigotti, a bunch of colourful small Saracens’ houses rising from the sandy beach.
Albenga, a small town which features a well-preserved historic centre with medieval towers and magnificent palazzi. Remnants of Roman times can be found along the Via Julia Augusta (13 b.C.), a pleasant walk around the remains of Roman Empire tombs, or in the Roman Naval Museum, with cargo and everyday objects, recovered from the relict of a Roman merchant ship sunk in front of the town, on display.
- SAVONA’S CHINOTTO: A DELICACY OF THE LIGURIAN TERRITORY
A long-lasting history, a great tradition and a unique sensorial experience to be discovered: this is Chinotto, a small citrus fruit representing one of the most authentic symbols of Savonawhich is now known as “the town of Chinotto”.
This plant is evergreen and even though it is not large, it develops an amazing quantity of fruits and it is also used as mere decoration.
During the harvest between September and November, you can see among the leaves a lot of bunches of the green Chinotto that become yellow and orange; its perfume is strong and long-lasting; however, as the flavour is too bitter, Chinotto has to be transformed to become a spectacular delight.
Although the studies are still at the beginning, the CeRSAA got some preliminary results.
They have done some laboratory tests on the varieties of chinotto, which showed that the chinotto of Savona has different genetic characteristics and distinct from other varieties, both chemical and organoleptic.
The chinotto of Savona has particular nutritional and chemical properties which make it good both for food, wellness and cosmetics. In addition, the chinotto is rich in vitamin C, stimulates the digestive functions and the flowers have anti-insomnia effects.
In February 2019, as a part of European Project “a sea of citrus fruits” Savona inaugurated the “Giardino dei chinotti” in the Priamar Fortress.