Genoa was once a maritime powerhouse, ruler of the Mediterranean during the 12th and 13th Centuries and birthplace of Christopher Columbus. It's still a great port, but great ports are places of busy industry, so Genoa isn't one of the most elegant of Italian cities. Some of the best places to stay in Genoa are also some of the most reasonable places to stay on the Italian Riviera.
What Genoa is is a vibrant, living place, ageing with style, with a gritty ancient maze of narrow streets at its heart, a reputation for excellent cuisine and some very well done regeneration work - including one of Europe's largest aquariums.
Genoa also makes an excellent base for exploring the whole region, including jewels like Portofino and the Cinque Terre.
Genoa's historic centre is one of the largest old towns in Europe, a sprawling maze made up of the caruggi, tiny streets and alleys which run all the way down to the old port. Behind these alleyways are the facades of grand old palaces and Mediterranean stye houses with their red roofs. There are plenty of charming squares, overflowing with seating from cafes and bars, and tucked away in some of the quirky little alleys you'll find boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
Don't be too worried about getting around, yes, this city has some steep sections, but it also has its own municipal lifts to help you get from one pitched street to another.
You'll also find the house where Christopher Columbus was born, the Lanterna, Europe's oldest lighthouse, and a number of palazzos, churches, plazas, museums and art galleries. In 2004, Genoa was the European Capital of Culture, and this cultural and financial boost helped to polish up some of the existing attractions, and inject some new ones. This is when the aquarium and maritime museum were built and the port regeneration took place.
Genoa also has several of those impressive, striped Ligurian churches, including the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, which was built to house the relics of John the Baptist.
The Italian Riviera is backed by mountains, giving it a microclimate protected from the northerly winds, so it's quite pleasant from late winter/early spring.
A delightful, historic guesthouse in the heart of Genoa. Its ornately decorated rooms embody the rich artistic culture associated with the city. The bespoke family suites provide families with the perfect opportunity to come and explore the historic mercantile city. An excellent value option.
A beautiful traditional townhouse in central Genoa and not far from the beach. Wonderful Renaissance architecture. Contemporary sleek rooms, suites and family suites, some with mezzanine levels. Murals and frescoes on the ceilings as well as marble floors. City style with the old and new.
Unique hotel in city centre. Behind the 18th century facade, large rooms are blend of contemporary and traditional, with big bathrooms and French windows. Apartments have full kitchens and living areas. Sensational decor, central location and chic atmosphere. Very family friendly.
Chic B&B on the top floor of a historic building in Genoa's city centre. Here the sleek, contemporary rooms are whitewashed and furnished with minimalist decor. With Genoa's charming UNESCO heritage old town on the doorstep, it's perfect for exploring the city's rich culinary and artistic culture.