Get to know “la Superba” in a few hours is almost impossible, but at least you can try to learn her main chapter.
Ready, set, via Balbi 38: home.
Ostello Bello Genova, a stone’s throw from Principe train station and few steps from the old town, is your starting point. Get out of the hostel, take the right and proceed to the city center.
In via Balbi, “Strada delli Signori Balbi”, there are tons of astonishing buildings. First of all Museo di Palazzo Reale: 1700, totally frescoed and stuccoed, full of statues and paintings, it still preserves its original design. If you are a Princess Sissi’s fan you’ll get crazy for such an amount of Barocco!
Just before the unification of Italy, the building was bought by Savoia, who contributed to making it more eclectic and astonishing and then donating in 1919 to the State Property.
Tips: have your eyes to the sky, ceilings are just WOW
Via Balbi is not finished yet and you are ready to get inside another sensational place: Palazzo Balbi Senarega.
If you have any doubt about their identity, you should know that Balbi is to Genova as Medici is to Florence. The building is huge, so big that one part has become the headquarter of a humanistic university.
Don’t miss: il Giardino e la Grotta del Ninfeo, la Galleria del Ratto di Persefone e la Sala del Carro del Tempo.
Keep going towards the port, walk through via delle Fontane and Porta Vacca.
If you come from this way, you’ll find the sea in front of you and everything you’d love to see by the sea: seagulls, fish, wind and more.
In 500 meters you can find the Ancient Port, Neptune Vessel, Aquarium, and the Bigo. If the weather is nice take some time to enjoy the sea breeze and a coffee on the dock.
Coming back from the city and passing under the Monumental Bridge, you’ll end up in front of Palazzo San Giorgio: very easy to recognize since it doesn’t exist anything so colorful in the surroundings. It’s one of the oldest in town, it was built in the mid-thirteenth century to host the civil power, very well distinguished from the religious one.
Let’s walk now towards Chiesa di Santa Maria di Castello.
The entrance is free and a kind seniors’ group is available to show you every strange thing in this ancient church. Built on a hill, this church is one of the first places of worship in the entire city.
The compound has been an important cultural center and over the years artists and philosophers, who studied here, changed the features many times. On the sides of the aisle, there are now many rich and different chapels dedicated to the most important Genova’s family.
On the inside, it’s plenty of secret doors, what’s behind them?
Going through one of these doors, hidden in a normal wardrobe, you get access to a corridor and to the stairs that bring to three cloisters. Once you get here, get ready to cry because what you’ll see is just beyond description.
After all the commotion, you surely deserve a coffee: go towards Giardini Luzzati, buy some focaccia and have a seat over the ancient Roman amphitheater.
Here’s the map that guides you from Ostello Bello Genova to a great and deserved Genovese focaccia: