Once the center of a medieval empire, the stunning port city of Genoa ruled the Mediterranean during the 12th and 13th centuries. Today the city is still home to the largest port in Italy, and boasts a diverse collection of sites and attractions that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else along the coast. A bustling modern city with an ancient old town at its heart, hotels in Genoa also offers the ideal base to explore the rest of the stunning Italian Riviera.
Located halfway between the French border and the Tuscan Coast, Genoa is the largest city on the Italian Riviera. Throughout the Early Modern period the city was known as the Most Serene Republic of Genoa. As a result, Genoa’s history is still very much alive within the boundaries of the city, with remnants of its glorious past found all over. A hotel in Genoa’s old town is one of the best places to explore Genoa’s medieval past. You will be greeted by a spider’s web of narrow streets, high walls and arched entrance ways which lead down to the port. Within the walls of the old town you will find many points of cultural interest, including Via Garibaldi – a UNESCO listed street of Renaissance palaces with ornate facades that was once home to Genoa’s wealthy merchants. Also along Via Garibaldi is the Palazzo Rosso, a former noble residence turned art gallery featuring works by the Old Masters. Genoa is also home to famous explorer Christopher Columbus, and you can visit his former home just south of the old town. Genoa’s port is the biggest in Italy, but the Genoa Aquarium located on the harbor is the largest in Europe – a perfect afternoon outing for families with hotels in Genoa. The city is also the birthplace of some of Italy’s most beloved foods, and is therefore one of the best places in the world to enjoy Pesto alla Genovese and Focaccia.
One of the benefits of a hotel in Genoa is the city’s access to the nooks and crannies of the Italian Riviera. Two of its most popular towns are located on a peninsular just east along the coast from Genoa – Rapallo and Portofino. Protected from the swells of the Med by a natural cove, Rapallo is a laid-back seaside resort bursting with charm. Palm-lined promenades wind along the port – a fantastic starting point for coastal excursions to other villages along the Italian Riviera such as Sestri Levante and La Spezia. The town is known for the resplendent Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro, which is located on a hill overlooking the ocean. It offers the chance to walk around the cloister and admire the views from the top. Just one hour from hotels in Genoa, further south along the coast is Portofino; a gorgeous fishing village surrounded by lush hills offering a host of unique attractions. One of the most surreal is Christ of the Abyss – a large underwater statue of Christ meters beneath the waves. The town also features a small beach and pretty harbor for afternoons on the sand and evenings strolling along the shore. You can’t beat a portion of fresh seafood linguine with Mediterranean views, both of which can be found at Ristorante Da I Gemelli.
Clinging to the cliff sides east of hotels in Genoa, the stunning Cinque Terre lures travelers with some of the most charming scenery in all of Italy. These five ancient villages seem to topple down into the ocean, strung together by a system of footpaths along the cliffs. The five villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – are UNESCO World Heritage sites, made famous by their colorful buildings, medieval fortresses and gorgeous rolling vineyards. From your hotel in Genoa, this stunning Italian site just over an hour away. Alternatively, you could also consider hotels in La Spezia for easy access to the area. On your way to the Cinque Terre, why not stop off in Chiavari, yet another stunning coastal town on the Ligurian Coast. This town is quintessentially Italian and lacks the tourism of the Italian Riviera’s more famous vacation spots, making Chiavari a hidden gem. Built up around the Entella River which empties into the Mediterranean, the lush surroundings, exceptional cuisine and medieval castles are well worth exploring. When you make stylish hotels in Genoa you’re home-away-from-home on the Italian Riviera, this stunning stretch of coastline is yours to explore at your own pace.