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Top Rated Attractions in Genoa

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Spianata Castelletto

Sometimes called Belvedere Montaldo, this is the best picture-postcard view of Genoa to be had. This extraordinary vantage point 80 meters above ground is situated in the elegant Castelletto area. From this ruin of the "castelletto" which was demolished in the middle of the last century one can have a view over the rooftops, the bell towers, the hanging gardens, the old port and the Lanterna. The best way to reach it is via the public lift in piazza Portale, which was described as the best route "verso il Paradiso" - to heaven- by the poet G. Caproni. The lift's terminal is an elegant Art-Nouveau tower, which is one of the loveliest examples of this style in the city. It is a little known fact that the old reservoirs, which collected the water deriving from the ancient aqueduct crossing the Valbisagno, can be found underneath this ruin.

Piazza Banchi

This has always been a meeting place for Genovese merchants. It was first the salt market, which then became the heart of the city's business and trade. The piazza owes its current appearance to sixteenth century modifications, from which time many of the buildings date: the Chiesa di S.Pietro in Banchi, located directly above the stalls, the Loggia dei Mercanti o di Banchi, the former site of the Market Exchange, the interior of which boasts imposing statues representing the high-achievers of the republic (aristocrats, businessmen who carried out public works). The piazza is still busy with traders, animated by second hand book and record sellers, as well as by the many tourists who cross through to reach the Area del Porto Antico and the Acquario di Genova.

Piazza De Ferrari

Located on the edges of the old city, this is historically the first large square to have been built in Genoa, in the period between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. For the citizens, it represents the real city center, where you meet to go shopping, to have a drink, to attend civic events, or to take a quick dip in the bronze fountain to take the edge off the summer heat, or to celebrate sporting triumphs. Buildings which face onto the square include the Palazzo Ducale with its frescoed facade, the Teatro Carlo Felice, the Palazzo dell'Accademia, the Palazzo della Nuova Borsa and the Via XX Settembre, main artery of the city for both traffic and pedestrians, also leads off the square.

Galata Museo del Mare

Genoa was Christopher Columbus' hometown, and it maintained a reputation as a major port for those traveling across the seas and to the New World. Housed in one of the oldest buildings that still survives from the Genoa Republic, the Galata Museo del Mare focuses primarily on the theme of the sea voyage and examines the methods of transportation and life of sailors aboard historic vessels. Right next to Genoa's aquarium and overlooking the sea, Galata is spread out on four levels and in more than twenty rooms.

Via Giuseppe Garibaldi

Designed by Bernadino Cantone in the 1550s, Via Garibaldi is one of Genoa's most picturesque avenues, and has been used model for subsequent expansions throughout the city. The street spans the distance been Piazza Fontane Marose and Piazza della Meridiana, lined with palazzi built between the 16th and 18th Centuries for some of the city's most wealthy families. In true Genoese style, the palazzi are all richly decorated within, and face onto leafy courtyards, enhanced by lily ponds, frescoed walls and terraces. Several of these are now public buildings that are open to visitors, while others have been preserved as museums. Via Garibaldi is also renowned for its many restaurants, gelaterias and bookstores.

Galleria di Palazzo Bianco

Palazzo Bianco was built in the first part of the 16th century by the Grimaldi noble family on the Strada Nuova, now called Via Garibaldi. It was then given to Brignole Sale who gave it a sumptuous appearance. Finally the building was donated to the Comune of the Duchess of Galliera. It was intended that it should become a civic museum. After post-war restoration, the paintings were displayed according to their period and painting school which they came to be knows as Galleria di Palazzo Bianco. There is a significant amount of works by the Flemish and Dutch masters and some important Italian artists. The Spanish school is represented by some paintings by Murillo and Zurbaran.

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