A giant glass ball housing a humid mini-ecosystem with tropical plants, butterflies and birds, the Biosphere is an innovative addition to the port, although its assorted greenery probably won't delay you more than 15 minutes. The ambient temperature inside is controlled by computers. It was designed by Renzo Piano in 2001, and is known locally as la bolla (the bubble).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Genoa attractions

1. Acquario

0.03 MILES

Genoa's much-vaunted aquarium is one of the largest in Europe, with more than 600 species of sea creatures, including sharks. Moored at the end of a…

2. Porto Antico

0.12 MILES

The port that once controlled a small empire is now one of the most popular places to enjoy a passeggiata (evening stroll). Superyacht lovers are…

3. Palazzo San Giorgio

0.16 MILES

One of the most famous monuments on Genoa's waterfront is this mural-covered building constructed in 1260. St George is one of Genoa's patron saints, and…

4. Old City

0.22 MILES

The heart of medieval Genoa – bounded by ancient city gates Porta dei Vacca and Porta Soprana, and the streets of Via Cairoli, Via Garibaldi and Via XXV…

5. Porta dei Vacca

0.24 MILES

This monumental gate was one of three built from 1155 as part of a defensive wall system. It's characteristic circular towers are shared by the other…

6. Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola

0.25 MILES

This gallery's paintings are wonderfully displayed over four floors of the 16th-century Palazzo Spinola, once owned by the Spinola family, one of Genoa's…

7. Primo Piano

0.28 MILES

A beautiful historical space that runs a program of modern and contemporary shows along interesting curatorial themes. The focus is often on photography…

8. Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

0.32 MILES

Genoa's zebra-striped Gothic–Romanesque cathedral owes its continued existence to the poor quality of a British WWII bomb that failed to ignite here in…