Being married to an Italian woman means that I get to travel to Italy more frequently nowadays. Every time we travel back to visit la famiglia we try to visit a new Italian city. This time we visited Genova, the home of Christopher Columbus and one of the Italian Maritime Republics.
It is a vibrant port city where the hills meet the sea. It is also the home of Italian pesto. The atmosphere is very open thanks to its long history as trading port - exposing the city to various cultures around the world.
You can visit the house of Columbus, a tiny house located at the edge of the historical city. My tips, don't get in and pay the 2 Euros. It has nothing special inside but the garden surrounding the house is lovely and can be visited for free. There is also a nearby tower which should be skipped. We paid 5 Euros each for some mediocre views of the city. Go up to the hills instead to get breathtaking views of Genoa.
In some part of the historic city, you see prostitutes operate in day light, chatting and fixing their makeup while waiting for customers. The historic city narrow alleys make perfect location for this type of business.
The city is also home of Genova University so there is a large presence of young people on the street with all the life facilities around there.
The historic city can be explored in one day. The atmosphere of the city is relaxed. You can interrupt your walk by stopping by in the small cafes and bistros for an aperitif or quick lunch.
There are plenty of palaces and museums to visit (we visited none) if you have some extra time. I can't really recommend the Genova Aquarium - it is nice enough but pale in comparison to the ones you can visit in Singapore or other places in the world. Its 25 Euros adult entry price is also a bit too much.
Genoa is interesting. It is has the shady aura of a major trading port and the charm of a small hilltop Italian city. It has no famous landmarks or monuments - it just has plenty of beautiful bites of pleasures.
Bottom line: if you are visiting Italy, make this one of your stop.