Day Trips From Pisa: Genoa
|January 22, 2014||Posted by under Places|
If you’re planning a holiday in Tuscany and are thinking of basing yourself in Pisa then you’ll have made a fine choice, as this charming city is not only stunning and fascinating in equal measure, but is also perfectly located to allow you to visit other nearby destinations. Florence and Siena are among the most popular cities in the region, but it’s certainly worth travelling a little further to discover the somewhat underrated charm of Genoa.
Genoa can be reached in around an hour and 45 minutes from Pisa by taking the A12 toll road, which hugs the coastline of the Italian Riviera. You’ll notice the landscape becoming increasingly dramatic as you pass from Tuscany into Liguria, with Genoa itself nestled between the sea and the Ligurian hills. Centred around its port, the town is a real jumble of old streets that are just bursting with an archaic charm, and while much of the historic centre was previously run-down, it has now been restored to its former glory thanks to a large-scale clean-up operation launched when the location was named European City of Culture in 2004.
One of the great things about visiting Genoa is that it really does feel like stepping back in time to the city’s golden age, when world-famous explorers – including the likes of Christopher Columbus, who was born here – could be found strolling around the port, displaying exotic artefacts and trophies from their conquests overseas. These days, fortunately, getting around the world is a little easier, and a great way to reach Genoa is to hire a car at Pisa airport – which you can find out more about by clicking here.
So, let’s take a look at some of Genoa’s top attractions.
Museo delle Culture del Mondo
As previously mentioned, Genoa was once a major hub of global exploration, with many great pioneers setting out from the port and discovering previously untouched continents. The Museo delle Culture del Mondo is the perfect place to learn more about this fascinating history and heritage, and sits on the site of a former castle dedicated to the great navigator Capitano Enrico D’Albertis.
Artefacts on show here include a fragment of the Great Wall of China, a stuffed platypus and a handful of sand from San Salvador – brought back by D’Albertis after he successfully recreated the voyage undertaken by Columbus himself in 1492.
If you’d like to see the house that is believed to have been the birthplace of Columbus, meanwhile, you can do so by heading to the Piazza Dante.
Sitting in the Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, the Palazzo Ducale was once home to the Dukes of Genoa, and these days houses a number of small yet fascinating museums. Among these is the Museo del Jazz, which gives a wonderful insight into the development of the musical genre around the world.
The Palazzo Ducale also regularly hosts high-profile art exhibitions by some of Italy’s top painters, sculptors and other creators, so it’s always worth checking what’s on here.
The old harbour, known as Porto Antico, is the beating heart of Genoa, with the city having developed around it. A maze of narrow, winding streets called caruggi radiate outwards from this point, and are full of cafes, shops, museums and palaces – some of which are so tucked away that you may end up walking straight past them without even realising they are there.
Nearby, you’ll find one of the world’s largest aquariums, which is home to more than 5,000 creatures from the deep.