Genoa, Italy. Porta Soprana.

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Old City


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 Aprile – is famed for its caruggi (narrow lanes). Looking up at the washing pegged on lines everywhere, it becomes obvious that these dark, cave-like laneways and blind alleys are still largely residential, although the number of fashionable bars, shops and cafes continues to grow.

Parts of the caruggi can feel somewhat unnerving, especially after dark. Although it's not particularly dangerous, do take care in the zone west of Via San Luca and south to Piazza Banchi, where most street prostitution and accompanying vice concentrates. East of the piazza is Via Orefici, where you'll find market stalls.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Genoa attractions

1. Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola

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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…

2. Primo Piano

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

3. Palazzo San Giorgio

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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. Palazzo Rosso

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5. Palazzo Bianco

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6. Porto Antico

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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…

7. Musei di Strada Nuova

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Skirting the northern edge of the old city limits, pedestrianised Via Garibaldi (formerly Strada Nuova) was planned by Galeazzo Alessi in the 16th century…

8. Palazzo Doria-Tursi

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This palace, one of three that together make up the Musei di Strada Nuova, features a small but absorbing collection of legendary violinist Niccolò…