Skip menu

For the latest information on COVID-19 travel restrictions in Italy. Click here.

Genoa is one of the most fascinating, unique and beautiful European cities, nestled between the Ligurian mountains and the azure blue sea

Not everyone knows that Genoa boasts the largest historic centre in Europe. It is enchanting to get lost among its maze of alleyways, and quite the workout with the hills. Then there are the monumental streets built by noble families of times gone by and the bustling, kilometre-long promenade, not to mention the unforgettable food.

  • Highlights
  • Sites
Leisure
Filicudi

The Genoa Aquarium

The Genoa Aquarium and 3 adventures not to be missed This is the very definition of an immersive experience; an unmissable chance to learn more about the seabed and the species that inhabit it. The Aquarium of Genoa, the city that has built its greatness on the sea, located in the Old Port, is a treasure trove of the richest aquatic biodiversity in Europe. Its path unfolds in more than 70 spaces and contains around 12,000 specimens of 600 species from all the seas of the world. The Aquarium also offers the opportunity to engage in other thrilling experiences. A dip where the water is bluest The tour immediately envelops visitors in the fascination of the Blue Planet: a video map shows the water distribution on Earth and raises awareness of the crucial role it plays in life, from antiquity to the present day. The adventure begins in the Moray Eel Cave, where the fearsome creatures camouflage themselves, crouching among the rocks of a tall cylindrical pool resembling a seashell. Not far away swim seahorses and octopus. Igniting all imaginations is the Mermaid Lagoon, where manatees, the herbivorous aquatic mammals said to have given rise to the myth of the mermaids, dart around. The Aquarium of Genoa is the only one in Italy where this endangered species can still be admired. Face to face with dolphins From the call of the mermaids to the breathtaking Bay of Sharks: several species of sea predators are represented here, and two specimens of sawfish with serrated rostrum also frolic on the seabed. A footbridge passes over Seal Island, but the most thrilling experience is in the Cetacean Pavilion, where a close encounter with dolphins takes place: four open-air tanks house a small community of coastal specimens. Thanks to a two-level structure, they can be observed both on the surface and from an underwater perspective. All-round biodiversity Emerging from the water, the route winds its way inside the large Blue Ship, in the Biodiversity Pavilion. With due caution, you can caress the mantle of stingrays, and without leaving the Tropics you can dive back into a coral lagoon inhabited by puffer fish, napoleon fish and zebra sharks. The Tropics route continues on the surface, as visitors enter the Tropical Forest, one of the most biodiverse environments, and home to more than half of the animal and plant species on Earth. The dance of the jellyfish There are rooms that, in addition to satisfying biological or naturalistic interest, are a real feast for the eyes, such as the one animated by the hypnotic, fluctuating movement of jellyfish: nine tanks with species from the various seas of the world. A pyrotechnic display of colours can also be witnessed in the coral reef area, one of the most endangered marine ecosystems: here, under lights simulating that of a full moon evening, one can admire the fluorescence of the corals, while clownfish and cardinal fish swim alongside. Nighttime adventure with sharks If they have extra time, children aged 7 to 11 can try the daredevil experience of a night with the sharks, sleeping on camp beds in front of their tank to witness their nocturnal behaviour and discover how the Aquarium is transformed when night falls. The adventure starts at 9pm and includes a guided night tour of the Aquarium, entertainment activities and an overnight stay in a sleeping bag. Tropical forest adventure A drop of glass and steel overlooking the sea: Biosfera is the name of the scenic techno-sphere designed by architect Renzo Piano in the Porto Antico. Stepping inside its dense and mysterious vegetation is an opportunity to learn about the fauna and flora of tropical forests, fragile ecosystems that human exploitation has brought under control. High-altitude adventure on the panoramic lift Another project by Renzo Piano, who is responsible for the redevelopment of the entire Porto Antico area, is Bigo, the name of the cranes formerly used to move goods, from which it takes its inspiration. It indicates the structure intended to support the marquee in Piazza delle Feste, where events and exhibitions are held. One of its arms also supports the panoramic lift, which reaches a height of 40 metres in a few seconds, affording passengers a spectacular view of the port and the network of carruggi, meaning “alleyways”. Tailor-made entrance packages The discoveries don't end here: a visit to the Aquarium alone takes two to three hours, but the tour offers a variety of in-depth insights. During the course of the day you can stop and have lunch or a snack at the Tender Café or lunch at the Gusto a Bordo restaurant, located inside the Aquarium. The entrance packages and itineraries are quite varied, so we recommend finding the one that suits you directly on the website, where you can benefit from a wide variety of prices.
Nature
The Abbey of San Fruttuoso is a medieval Catholic abbey on the coast near Portofino, Liguria, Italy. The bay of Capodimonte is a famous travel spot for the tourist visiting Italy.

Bay of San Fruttuoso

The Bay of San Fruttuoso amid nature, sea and religion It's a small beach of white pebbles dominated by an ancient abbey, and all around is the dense Mediterranean scrub of Liguria. We are between Camogli and Portofino, on the Riviera di Levante. Emerald green waters mirror the vegetation amid the cliffs. The Bay of San Fruttuoso is tucked away in an impervious place, which has helped it to preserve its unspoilt beauty. A gem among the Ligurian Mountains Typically, one arrives at San Fruttuoso Bay by boat, embarking from nearby places or from Genoa. The moment you catch sight of the cove is marvellous. The water is crystal-clear, allowing glimpses of the pebbles, and gently laps the shore. The greenery behind shimmers; the abbey adds a sacred and solemn atmosphere to this sanctuary of nature. We are in the Portofino Regional Natural Park, in a protected marine area. Here, you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas while on the beach, or walk on the nearby rocks and linger. Take a dip, or make arrangements for snorkelling. The pleasures of the table and a special stay There is a small bar perched on the rocks, where a sunset aperitif is a marvellous experience. There is also a restaurant offering refreshments, which is open for lunch and dinner, right next to the church. Tables overlook the sea, enhancing the pleasure of a plate of trofie al pesto, the region's most famous recipe, or spaghetti with seafood. A few rooms allow you to stay for several nights, from May until October. The Abbey and the Monastery The difficult access, as well as the presence of a freshwater spring, made the site suitable for the foundation of a sacred building in the 8th century. The church and monastery have undergone a series of restorations since then, and today are owned by FAI, the Italian Environmental Fund. The complex is well worth a visit, especially the cloisters and the tombs of the Doria family, a very powerful Genoese lineage. Stop to admire the archaeological finds, then take a stroll through the tiny village. You will not find shops and boutiques, but only a handful of houses, in an authentic atmosphere. A statue anchored to the seabed The sea of San Fruttuoso Bay conceals a surprise in its depths: the Christ of the Abyss. 300 metres from the beach and 15 metres deep, the statue was laid, or rather sunk, in 1954. 2.50 metres high and the work of sculptor Guido Galletti, it depicts Christ with his arms pointing upwards. Diving to admire it up close is also suitable for those of average experience, given the shallow depth, but can only be undertaken under the supervision of certified guides. If you are an experienced swimmer, you can also swim there, but be careful of the boats navigating the sea. The water is crystal clear and the view is also clear even just from the surface. An alternative? Reaching the work of art by kayak or paddle-board. Scenic trekking San Fruttuoso Bay can also be reached via numerous paths, starting from San Rocco or Portofino, in about two hours. But you will fall in love with the landscape, set between mountains and sea, to the point that you will want to continue exploring. We are in Portofino Park, a protected area with 80 kilometres of trails, perfect for an amazing nature trek. As the coast opens up to you from above, revealing the intricate geography of gulfs, inlets, bays, harbours and promontories, you will wander through chestnut and olive trees, pine and holm-oak forests, orchards and citrus groves. Step by step, you will breathe in the clear air and the scent of heather, strawberry trees, mastic trees, euphorbia and myrtle. You are likely to encounter hedgehogs and squirrels that dwell peacefully here. If you decide to leave for Portofino, stop to visit the whole village. The small harbour is one of the most famous in the world and is teeming with luxurious yachts. You can follow them from the shore, sitting in one of the many elegant restaurants. Then head upwards, where the villas hidden among the greenery are legendary and the walk along the path between maritime pines and dry stone walls is a real pleasure. You can also walk to Camogli, a typical seaside village with colourful houses lining the beautiful, short promenade.
Art & Culture
Luxury holidays in Ligurian riviera Portofino town, Italy

Portofino

A seaside village on the Ligurian Riviera today an icon of elegance and fine Italian living. “A small village, Portofino, stretches crescent-shaped along the edge of this calm bay.” Thus wrote Guy de Maupassant when describing Portofino, tiny sea village on the Italian Riviera circumscribed by the green of the Natural Regional Park and Marine Reserve. This splendid sea resort with its lux, Mediterranean personality, also boasts an ancient marine culture, and of course is another one of those spots beloved by artists, famous personages and writers that have long sung its praises. The “Piazzetta,” meeting-up point for the international jet-set, is the symbol of Portofino, while the port, with its characteristic, brightly-colored houses, is the icon of this borgo’s maritime traditions, whose inhabitants were called delfini (“dolphins”) by the Greeks and Romans, so apt were they at sea navigation. The charm of these places, the fine cuisine of the Ligurian Region, and the innumerable cultural and nature itineraries make this corner of the Gulf of Tigullio an ideal destination any time of year. Nonetheless, tourists most appreciate Portofino during the summer months, when the flora is at its most lush, and the warm seawater transports visitors beyond paradise. Travelers will not be able to see everything here, so many are the historic, cultural and natural attractions. Still, make a little room in your schedule to see the Church of Portofino’s Patron Saint, San Giorgio, a construction from the 12th Century; inside are relics brought back by sailors after the Crusades, as well as a breathtaking panorama from the parvis (churchyard). Nearby, the Brown Castle (Castello Brown) is a fortress smack-dab in the middle of a hanging-garden, and characterized by partitions with lovely bas-reliefs, and architectonic embellishments in marble and slate. The lighthouse is accessible from here, and is situated on Punta del Capo (aka Punta Portofino), imposing itself over the entire bay. Equally-interesting is the Gothic Oratory of the Brotherhood of Mary Assumed (Oratorio della Confraternita dell’Assunta), preserving various artworks inside, including a 12th-Century wooden statue of the Assumption of the Virgin. Those curious about the local traditions can stroll the streets of Portofino’s borgo, visiting the artisan workshops where the town’s women sophisticatedly work elegant patterns of bobbin lace. Prefer a little adventure out in the open? Take an excursion up to Monte di Portofino for a slight adrenaline rush, or navigate the Gulf of Tigullio in a boat, for close contact with the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Special events also take place rather frequently during Portofino’s summer season – everything from international regattas to glitzy evening engagements and religious celebrations - for instance the Feast Day for San Giorgio (April 23rd), with a procession and final bonfire illuminating the Piazzetta. Finally, if fine wining-and-dining is your thing (and it usually is), get ready for some prime sea-based dishes, served in restaurants throughout Portofino. Here the typical recipe is “Lasagna di Portofino,” delectable primo based on, what else, pesto. But before dinner, make sure you do as the locals do: head back to the Piazzetta for 7 o’ clock aperitivo, where you can snack on Genoese foccaccia and sip some Giancu de Purtufin, a wine that combines several of the territory’s grapes and that is only produced locally. A visit to Genoa just 18.6 miles away, or to the Cinque Terre (31 mi); after all, Portofino is perfect as a hub close to countless intriguing destinations on the Riviera. A trip to the evocative Medieval Abbey of San Fruttuoso, just a few miles inland from the coast and surrounded by lush vegetation. According to legend, five Spanish monks fleeing from Arab-invaded Tarragon built the Abbey. The monks, after a long and dangerous journey, brought with them the relics of Bishop Fruttuoso. A visit to the little theatre (the teatrino, Teatro Perla del Tigullio) of Portofino, a favorite place for artists and intellectuals, where periodic conferences and events both national and international are held.
City

A maritime city with a glorious history

Genoa sits in a prime location, framed by the Ligurian Apennines, which encompass the waterfront, centre and port. This city has always been a place of exchange, gatherings, trade and invention, and it is among the most musical Italian cities in terms of the number of musicians and singer-songwriters born and bred there. It offers an endless array of gastronomic specialities, imitated all around the world.

Learn more
1600X1600_piazza_de_ferraris_genova

Nearby

Explore surroundings