JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH LUCY WILLIAMS FROM GENOA, ITALY!
Lucy Williams is a travel blogger from the blog Lucy Williams Global – The Travelling Wife Cruising Around the World. She spends most of her life on the ocean cruising around the world on a cruise ship, hence her tagline. She is from the UK, but has been living in between travelling in Genoa, Italy for the last ten years. Her husband is from Genoa and thats how she ended up calling Genoa her home.
Genoa is located in the north west of Italy in the region of Liguria. This city beside the sea has a rich maritime history and is the sixth largest city in Italy. Genoa is the most important Italian port. There is a lot to see in Genoa and its neighbouring towns along the Ligurian coast line.
Rome to Genoa by train is a five hour journey and is one of Italy’s busiest routes. It has some splendid sea and coast views passing through Follonica, Pisa and the Cinque Terre. Plan your entire trip here.
What is the best time to visit Genoa?
The best month to visit Genoa is in May/June if you would like to visit in the summer. At this time of year, it is warming up and not too hot to enjoy visiting the sights.
The winter months can be nice to visit too, as in November, December and January as it can still be sunny and dry, just colder.
Which is the most convenient and favored transport of Genoa?
The best way to see the city is by walking, but we have a small metro system in the city centre and buses that go all over. The most popular mode of transport is a scooter or motorbike for the locals, but I would not suggest hiring one unless you are used to driving one and are used to a lot traffic.
The train is very good for getting to neighbouring towns. For more updated information on public transports and passes, visit here.
From the airport there is a bus service called Volabus that goes to several stops in the city centre. There is no train station at the airport, so it is either a taxi or the airport bus. A taxi costs one way to the city centre approx. between €20 – €30 and the bus costs approx. one way €6 and return €12.
What are the top three must visit places in Genoa?
Piazza de Ferrari is a square in the city centre with a big water fountain in the middle. The piazza has a bustling centre and an exciting atmosphere. It is surrounded by cafes, shops, museums, a theatre and leads to the main shopping district. The buildings like Palace of the Doges, the Carlo Felice Theatre, the Genoa stock exchange and the Palace of the Duke of Galleria are all near the famous fountain.
Via Garibaldi is a street full of palaces and banks it is a beautiful street to walk and takes you back to how Genoa was long ago. Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco are some of the palaces that are open to the public and worth taking a look inside as they are stunning.
Most of the banks you can peek in the entrances that have painted ceiling and grand chandeliers.
Porto Antico is the old harbour that has been turned into a vibrant marina. It is a lovely area to walk around and there is an aquarium, an old ship to visit, museums and there are many restaurants, bars and cafes to sit and watch the world go by.
This is the place to get a boat to coastal towns close by and there are whale watching tours departing from here too.
In this area there are a lot of events gong on throughout the year, depending when you visit, you may see concerts, markets, ice skating, and more.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Genoa?
Genoa is close to many fantastic places to visit; Milan and Lake Como are two hours away. The Ligurian coast has lots of lovely small towns to visit that that are picturesque.
Camogli is a hidden gem that not many people know about, as everyone has heard of Portofino and go there. Camogli is a beautiful little fishing village that has colourful buildings, a beach and a harbour. It is full of little shops, bars and restaurants. It also has the best gelato in a booth under the arch you can’t miss it when you to go Camogli. It takes around 30 minutes to drive to Camogli and 50 minutes on the train.
Clinique Terre means five lands is famous for its beautiful little villages with colourful houses and glorious scenery. The five lands are called Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza.
Genoa is 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car or train or boat, you can hike to see all the five lands, but that does not give you much time in each village. It is best to pick one or two villages you would like to see in one day, so you can enjoy your time taking in the scenery, have some delicious food and drink a glass of wine or two!
Santa Margherita is an hour away from Genoa by car or train. Santa Margherita is a beautiful town with colourful building along the seaside with fabulous restaurants, bars and designer shops. It is a place for the rich and famous and in the summer months there are mega yachts at anchor in the bay. It is a lovely place to go for lunch, but expect to pay a little more than Genoa.
Which is the most happening area in Genoa? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
The Porto Antico area is a large square overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It gets quite busy in the evening as it is a marina and there are lots of bars and restaurants and it is a pedestrian zone. There are a lot of alleys to explore and plethora of eateries to try. Discover more about the Porto – Antico area here.
For traditional Genovese food I Tre Merli is a great restaurant. It is also a part of the Genoa Gourmet consortium. You will find authentic Ligurian dishes with the popular Genoa pesto here. To know more about the offers and locations, cilck here.
For Italian food Eataly is very good and very good value. Eataly is a fresh produce supermarket and restaurants combined into one. It displays over 6,000 products for sale, a good percentage of which is home grown in Liguria. They also organise events and courses for children. adults and retired people. Know more about them here.
Yes, in Genoa you can find lots of Italian vegetarian dishes.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Genoa?
Every region of Italy has different cuisines and Genoa is known for Pesto with pasta(this is where it comes from). Pesto alla genovese is a sauce originating in Genoa. The term pesto means to pound or crush and hence the ingredients are crushed in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Since garlic was a staple in the nutrition of Ligurians and basil took the strongest root in the regions of Liguria, pesto became famous in Genoa. So much so that Genoa’s airport let travellers take maximum 500g of pesto in their carry-on luggage. This exempts them from the 100ml rule for liquids.
Focaccia is the local bread, either plain, with onions, tomatoes, cheese or olives. Focaccia col Formaggio; this is a cheese pie, but the size of a pizza and thinness and made of very thin pastry with melted soft cheese inside. Farinata is again the size of a pizza with thinness of a pizza made of chickpea flour. It can be plain or with onion, cheese, sausage on top.
Genoa is by the sea and fish is always on the menu and it is fresh. Anchovies, octopus, mussels, clams and white fish are very good in Genoa.
It is hard to find a bad restaurant in Genoa, they are mainly locally owned, and everything is freshly prepared. The local dishes are available is most restaurants, just check the menu before going in to eat.
Where to get the best exchange rates in Genoa?
Best to change your money to Euros before you come over or use the ATM machines. Most places take credits cards, but also a lot of bars, restaurants and small shops only except cash.
Where to head for affordable shopping?
The main shopping district is in Via XX Settembre in the city centre, you will find high street and high-end shops here. There is a Via XX Settembre (20 September Street) in every Italian town since this date has a special significance in the history of Italy. Via XX Settembre is one of the most famed streets in Genoa. It starts in Piazza della Vittoria and ends in Piazza de Ferrari. This is also where the locals shop for fresh produce. It’s popular for its red mosaic flooring and exquisite ceilings.
In Via Roma and Via 25 Aprile you will find designer shops, these streets are very close to Via XX Settembre and Piazza de Ferrari. Via Roma can be reached if you walk down from Piazza de Ferrari to Piazza Corvetto. In Via Roma check out Finollo which has dressed all generations of Genoese while in Via 25 Aprile check out Pissimbono clothing.
Genoa has succeeded in preserving the charm of its typical historic shops. Make a tour of these shops in the typical Genoese narrow streets and small squares. Find more about them on Botteghe Storiche website which features shops that have been operating for atleast 70 years in the city.
Would you recommend any local apps for transport in Genoa?
The app I recommend for the train is Trenitalia – you can buy tickets and check timetables and it is available in English.
AMT Bus for bus timetables and to buy tickets – this is in Italian though.
The Genova Official Guide app is tourist information in an app great good for sightseeing and it is available in English.
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