Genoa is one of these fascinating Italian cities that remain off the tourist radar: world famous as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, yet relatively unknown to the millions of tourists who visit Italy every year.
Dubbed La Superba by Petrarca, Genoa was one of Italy’s two largest maritime republics (together with Venice) that enjoyed enormous power and prestige as early as the Middle Ages. Multi-faceted and in perpetual mutation, the city ranges from the most luxurious aristocratic palaces in the Strade Nuove district – admired even by Rubens who wanted to apply some of the concepts to Antwerp –, to the Kasbah-like, narrow streets (caruggi) in the historic center.
The “Vertical Town” – forced to “climb up” the Sarzano hill as it extended from the sea –, is a surprising and startling city, where you enter in some buildings from the top floor, move around town using lifts, and where even the corridors inside the homes can be sloped and winding. There is also a unique church built above shops, an unusual elevator, the only one in the world that moves first horizontally then vertically and impressive fortified walls, the longest defensive city walls in Italy. Not to mention the pesto, focaccia, freshest fish and delicious confectionery. The whole city is just an amazing combination of strong colors and flavors, contrasts and curiosities, giving many reasons to visit Genoa next time you are in Italy.