Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The historic home of Columbus

The port city of Genoa in North-West Italy has many claims to fame. Birthplace of Christopher Columbus, legendary politician Genoa Giuseppe Mazzini (who helped unify Italy) and Goffredo Mameli, writer of the Italian national anthem, the city has always attracted attention. But more than just home to so many great Italian figures, Genoa has a beguiling charm that makes it a popular tourist destination.

The picture-postcard medieval architecture is nestled among rolling woodland hills, creating a stunning backdrop. It’s a joy to explore on foot. Winding back alleys and cobbled streets meander through the stonework, linking bustling open plazas, which offer a great place to stop for an espresso break. Being a port city, the fresh sea breeze offers relief in summertime, and a bounty of fresh seafood makes its way to the plates and dining tables of Genoa’s varied eateries, along with one of the city’s best-known culinary inventions – pesto.

Being a trade city, the business of Genoa has taken its toll somewhat on the buildings, but for many people, the slight feeling of decay and past glory helps build an authenticity you wouldn’t find in the more polished, less ‘lived-in’ streets of say Venice or Florence. A great base to explore the Italian Riviera, with a strong focus on water and sailing, it’s easy to see how Christopher Columbus got his taste for adventure and love of the ocean here.