Noted by Gustav Flaubert for having a "beauty that tears the soul", Genoa has remained a secret gateway to the Italian Riviera with streets that mingle old-world glamour with new-world charm.
Home of Italy's largest seaport with a rich history dating from the 12th century, Genoa serves as a charming reminder of pre- and post-modern Italy. Narrow, twisting lanes lead you from the surprisingly intact old city to decadent gold-leaf designs of the Enlightenment. Far from stuck in the past, modern buildings skirt the edges of the old city, combining centuries in mere steps.
When to go
Who to take with you
A significant other. The architecture and seaside views set the perfect backdrop for a romantic Italian getaway.
Most likely to bump into
The city's signature dish: pesto trofie pasta. The pesto, made from Ligurian basil, is the base ingredient of Genoa's most well-known culinary export and it is not to be missed.
An essential to bring with you
A camera to capture the surprising architecture and Mediterranean landscape.
How to get there
An easy day trip from Milan, take a train into Genova Brignole station or fly directly into Genoa airport and take a taxi into the city.