If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the Liguria region of northern Italy, also called the Italian Riviera. This sliver of land lies on the Ligurian Sea, not far from Monaco and the French Riviera. While Liguria is hardly undiscovered territory, its crowds are definitely smaller than those next door. The region hosts many little towns or villages, and an international port city almost smack dab in the center of the coast. Be sure to read the other articles in this series: eastern Liguria, western Liguria, and Cinque Terre, five little seaside villages that just might steal your heart.
Given its excellent location and great harbor, the city of Genoa has been around for thousands of years. Genoa was often destroyed and rebuilt. Genoa played an important role in the Crusades, and established colonies in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily, and Northern Africa.
Caruggi, Genoa’s medieval center, is the largest such district in all Europe. You’ll find its tiny cobblestoned streets a-maze-ing. You’ll enjoy walking them for hours. A nearby sight is the Sixteenth Century Loggia dei Mercanti o di Banchi (Merchants and Bankers Row) that contains shops selling a variety of goods. It was the site of the first Italian Stock Exchange.
South of Caruggi there are many great churches to visit including the Twelfth Century San Matteo Church which contains the tomb of Andrea Doria, Genoa’s second most famous sailor from the area’s ruling family. According to local legend Christopher Columbus’s father was a gatekeeper at the Twelfth Century twin towers known as Porta Soprana. Don’t miss the the Nineteenth Century Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa’s opera house.
North of Caruggi is Via Garibaldi, home to over a dozen palaces. The largest of them, the Sixteenth Century Palazzo Doria Tursi, is now the town hall. You’ll also want to see the Palazzo Bianco (White Palace) and the Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace) that are now art museums. Other palaces further out include the Palazzo dell’Università, home to one of Italy’s oldest universities, the Galleria Nazionale (National Gallery), and the Museo d’Arte Orientale Chiossone (Chiossone Oriental Art Museum) that displays one of Europe’s best collections of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai art.
Even if you are not into visiting ports, you really should see Genoa’s harbor, Italy’s largest. Don’t wander around deserted areas at night. October’s boat show is the biggest in Europe. Make sure to see Il Bigo, a monument built for the 1992 Columbus commemoration. The Acquario de Genova (Genoa Aquarium) is the second largest in the world. Make sure to visit the Galata Museo del Mare (Galata Sea Museum) which shows the evolution of the port and the city over the centuries.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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