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What to see in Genoa in one day

Genoa was defined La Superba by Francesco Petrarca in the fourteen century. This city has been the birthplace of many famous people like Cristoforo Colombo, Mazzini and Renzo Piano and its beauty attracted travellers from all over the world like Oscar Wilde.

The county seat of Liguria still today fascinates the most attentive tourist who decides to be enchanted by the contrasts of this city between sea and mountains, glory and hard work, past and present.

For years, this city has been visited only for its famous Aquarium, but today Genoa reborn thanks to its beauties. Even if Genoa is usually crossed to go directly to Cinque Terre, increasingly tourists decide to stop in the city for visiting it better.

It takes long time to really appreciate the city, but here are some suggestions for what to see in Genoa in one day.


Villa del Principe

The tour we suggest you starts from the Train Station of Genoa Piazza Principe, the reference point for those who arrive by train or for those who arrive in Genoa by car (nearby you will find toll parking like that of the Station or that of Di Negro or that of the Aquarium).

The first stop we suggest you is Villa del Principe, old residence of the admiral prince Andrea Doria. Once the building was located outside the city walls. From his “royal palace” the admiral could keep his influence by staying outside from the Doge’s Palace, the real centre of the power.

Today its rooms can be visited thanks to a very interesting tour among the private rooms that once belonged to Andrea Doria. There’s a ticket for entering the Palace but the entrance for the gardens is free. Highly recommended!

Via Balbi

Now you can enter the old town through Via Balbi, a street realized by Stefano Balbi, a rich banker who in this street decided to build his majestic residence which today is called Royal Palace. Inside the Royal Palace there’s one of the most beautiful Genoese museum with many vintage furnitures and important works of art among which paintings of Van Dyck and Strozzi.

By the end of the street there’s Piazza della Nunziata. Don’t forget to enter the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato; the magnificence of its baroque style will leave you speechless.

The Old Port and the Aquarium

Our itinerary continues through the Old Port, the area designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano whose works ended in 1992 giving a new look to the city.

Here you will find the famous Aquarium of Genoa which today hosts almost 12.000 samples of 600 different species: a tour for everybody: adults and children. Remember that the tour lasts some hours: if you want to visit it you have to give up something else.

genova old port


The caruggi

The old town of Genoa is a place rich of splendour and you can’t miss it.

From Sottoripa return back to Piazza De Ferrari towards the small Genoese streets. The caruggi have a medieval origin and from here goods passed from the port to the small shops or the noble houses. Once even the Saracen who tried to raid the city were stuck into the labyrinth of the streets of Genoa!

genoa in one day

Cathedral of Saint Lawrence (Genoa Cathedral)

The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence is located near the caruggi (the Genovese streets). It has a beautiful façade and its black and white bands, symbol of nobility, reminds the past from the old Republic.

The Cathedral was built near 1098 upon another church and throughout the centuries it has changed. Inside there are the ashes of Saint John the Baptist which has been brought to the church at the end of the First Crusade and an unexploded bombs from the Second World War.

genoa in one day

Doge’s Palace and Piazza De Ferrari

Near the Cathedral you will find the Doge’s Palace which is the headquarters of the Doge’s reign. Today inside the Palace exhibitions take place and conferences are organized.

Near the Palace there’s a beautiful Church: the Chiesa del Gesù. Don’t forget to enter in this church: here you will find beautiful works of Rubens and Guido Reni.

Once outside, you can go to Piazza De Ferrari, the main square of the city and the perfect meeting point for the inhabitants.

If you have time you can also walk along Via XX Settembre, the street for shopping.

genoa on one day

Via Garibaldi and the Palaces of the Lists (Palazzi dei Rolli)

We are almost by the end of our day in Genoa. Before coming back to the Station in Piazza Principe, our suggest is to go to Via Garibaldi, also known as “Strada Nuova” (New Street).

The street was built during the second part of the XVI century, when the main palaces across the street were built. This “Strada Nuova” has been studied by Pieter Paul Rubens who, through his drawings, helped to export the renaissance style in the North Europe.

In Via Garibaldi there is a beautiful museum way, the “Museum of Strada Nuova”: inside Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi there are works of Van Dyck, Rubens, Caravaggio and Canova. We really suggest you this visit: you will discover beautiful rooms in Palazzi dei Rolli, which hosted to kings, popes, princes and consuls who came in Genoa during the epoch of its Republic.

Via Garibaldi and Palazzo dei Rolli of Genoa are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What to eat in Genoa during a one day visit

During your one day visit in Genoa, you will try the best traditional food: pasta with pesto, focaccia, farinata, anchovies and stockfish are some of the most famous dishes.

If you want to discover them all, without wasting time, why don’t you take part into one of our food tour in Genoa? There is something for everyone: from the traditional food tour, to one for street food lovers, or you can take part to a cooking class with final tasting!

Taking part into one of our food tour means not only discovering the city and its most beautiful corners, but also trying some of the tastiest traditional dishes. We are waiting for you!

genoa street food tour

We hope that our suggestions about what to see in Genoa in one day have intrigued you and have been useful for organizing your visit in the city.