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Introducing Savona

Behind Savona's sprawling port facilities, the city's unexpectedly graceful medieval centre is well worth getting off the train to check out. Among the old-town treasures to survive destruction by Genoese forces in the 16th century are the baroque Cattedrale di Nostra Signora Assunta and the lumbering Fortezza del Priamàr. This imposing fortress guards a couple of sculpture museums and the Civico Museo Storico Archeologico, which displays archaeological finds.

Art aficionados won't want to miss the Pinacoteca Civica Savona, which has an important collection of religious paintings, including a Madonna and child by Taddeo di Bartolo, dating from the 14th to the 15th centuries, and two Picassos.

Six- to seven-hour whale-watching trips depart Savona at 10am from July to September.