The sea and city of Genoa
From Via del Campo to Boccadasse, discovering the heart and soul of Genoa.
Over the centuries, Genoa has produced many of the world's greatest seafarers, but also one of Italy's finest singer-songwriters. Deeply tied to his home city, Fabrizio De Andrè wrote a great number of songs about its streets and the people who inhabited them, and it is in Via del Campo, after which one of De Andrè's most famous songs is named, that we commence our exploration of Genoa.
Via del Campo lies in the heart of the carruggi, a maze of narrow roads which, from the center, leads all the way to the sea. Once a particularly degraded area, and home to the city's brothels, today the district is a major tourist attraction, brimming with little shops and bars where to purchase a slice of delicious hot fugassa. Giuseppe Mazzini, champion of Italian Unification once lived here and his house has been transformed in Museo del Risorgimento.
It was after the 1992 Colombiadi that the old port of Genoa received its dramatic facelift. Proudly announcing the port's fabulous new look, we find the gigantic rotating elevator known by the name of Bigo, from the summit of which a 360° view of the city can be observed. Just a few meters away lies Genoa's famous aquarium which, with over 70 tanks and 600 animal species, is one of the largest in Europe. The nearby Museo dell'Antartide is also quite unique in its genre. Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano's glass "Bolla", sits suspended on the water, thanks to an ingenius system of sails. From the port, visitors can join a boat tour during which to observe Genoa from the sea.
Once more on the streets which lead to the center of Genoa, we pass through the Porta Soprana, one of the oldest gateways to the city and stop to admire the magnificent Church of San Lorenzo, the city's cathedral and the Palazzo Ducale, this latter now an important exhibition center. From here, we are just moments away from the House of Cristoforo Colombo, childhood home of the legendary explorer who discovered America. At this stage we head to the Lanterna, the old lighthouse of Genoa, and much loved symbol of the city. From the top of one of the 117m tall lighthouse's two towers, a breathtaking view awaits all those prepared to make the 365 step ascent.
The five kilometer long Corso d'Italia leads to one of the most exclsuive areas of Genoa. Here, from the seafront promenade linking Fiera del Mare with Boccadasse, a succession of bathing establishments and aristocratic villas can be seen. The road culminates in the picturesque seaside village of Boccadasse, still inhabited almost exclusively by fishermen and their families.