I knew long before going on holidays that I'd be heading to Italy this year. My last trip was in 2005, so a return trip was long overdue. I've been to Rome, Florence and Venice a few times before and Sicily but wanted to visit an area I'd not visited before. I thought about going to Matera. Then I thought about going to Molise but when I saw my brother's photos from Genoa and the Italian Riviera, I was sold and borrowed his Italian travel guide and planned my itinerary.

First destination was Genoa and from there down the Italian Riviera to Santa Margherita Ligure and Portovenere before heading across to Florence and Rome for some eating and shopping.

Genoa is a vibrant, noisy port city and my accommodation was down on the docks near the Maritime Museum.

I arrived about 6.30 the first night and went for a walk in the old town, which are filled with narrow laneways called caruggi.

I had 3 days in Genoa and bought a museum card so naturally I visited a few museums. Most museums are housed in palazzos and if you ever wondered the derivation of palatial, a walk through one of these mansions would confirm your suspicions.

 They are magnificent in all their frescoed glory.

The art gallery is housed in 3 palazzo, but most of the artwork is housed in the Palazzo Rosso and Bianco.

The Palazzo Rosso has a mirador from which you can view all of Genoa. I was taken up there by one of the museum attendants and it was a warm day so I didn't stay up there for too long. 

The church is guarded by a few of these lions.

Not far away is another church, the Gesu. 

Most of the churches are located in lively piazzas with cafes, focaccarias and gelataria.

Each alleyway morphed into another vibrant piazza. By the end of my stay I could navigate my way confidently around the caruggi. 

At the start I had to leave a trail of breadcrumbs so I could find my way home.

Before venturing into any more museums I took a ride in one of Genoa's elevators for a birds eye view of the city.

but I walked back down again.

I found all sorts of interesting things as I made my way around the city.

Most of the banks are located in palazzo on Via Garibaldi formerly known as Strada Nuova or new street. Many of these palaces were open to the public the weekend I was in town.

This vespa was parked around the corner from the Palazzo Spinola, my favourite palazzo.

The Palazzo houses an art gallery but it's real treasures are found in the family apartments.

Complete with a mirrored room, because every palazzo needs one as I was to discover.

I could see an imposing building from my apartment which I learned was the Palazzo Reale.

Dripping with artworks

and the obligatory hall of mirrors complete with chandeliers. Nothing says success like excess seems to have been their motto!

By my last day I was museumed out and as it was a Sunday, most of the shops weren't open. I'd planned to catch a ferry to Camogli but didn't have enough time to unload my shopping from Eataly and get back in time. 

Parking genovese style

I roamed around the closed shopping streets and walked around the dock area which was buzzing.

I hope you enjoyed my visit to Genoa, which was unexpectedly enjoyable. The city is a bit rough around the edges but it's filled to bursting with art treasures and the food was great. There are plenty of tourists in town but in manageable numbers unlike Florence. 

Next blog post will be about the Italian Riviera, so until then.

Bye for now,


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