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.