Genova is a delight for the culinary inclined. Ubiquitous local specialities beyond pesto include focaccia and farinata (chickpea flour pancakes), torta pasqualina (spinach, artichoke ricotta and egg tart), polpettone (a gratined potato and egg slice, rather than meatballs), pansotti (a filled pasta of wild, wilted greens with a creamy walnut sauce) and Russian salad. And of course, the freshly caught seafood is also unmissable.

Pesto Genovese

It would be criminal to come to Genoa and not try pesto genovese. The city's famous pasta sauce – a pounded mix of basil, pine nuts, olive oil and sometimes garlic – really does taste, and look, better here than anywhere else, a result of the basil that's used (the leaves of very young plants are plucked daily from hothouses on city hillsides), as well as techniques honed through generations.