What to see in Genoa on a Monday?

For me Genoa is like a sleeping beauty: sleeping due to its obvious disinterest in tourists and a beauty because it has much to offer. Let me introduce you to the things you can do in Genoa on a Monday, the day you are usually discouraged from visiting this Italian city on, as most of its attractions and museums are closed. But things happen, and if you can’t reschedule your visit, you might as well try and make the most of it.

Genova more than this thesanetravel.com 1060077So you are in Genoa on a Monday. I hope you have arrived by train like me, and we can start our little sightseeing trip from the railway station. A quick reminder just in case: the main railway station of Genoa is called Genoa Piazza Principe (lit. ‘Square of the Prince’). Nobody is waiting for you, there’s no single tourist information centre around. You can buy a map at the bookshop nearby if you need one. To most of your questions about sightseeing you’ll get the evasive “I don’t know”. Pay no mind and don’t despair – I am here to help you out.
So you have arrived in Genoa by train, bought your map at the bookstore and... come on, leave that railway station already! There you are, with Christopher Columbus’s statue greeting you as you go out – as you probably know, the great Italian explorer and colonizer was a famous citizen of the Republic of Genoa.

Statue of Columbus Genova thesanetravel.com 1060326

Admire the monument, then take time and consult your new map to head down Via Balbi (Balbi Street), a bit to the left from the station. In the 1600s the establishment of the street was sponsored by the Balbi family who built the Jesuit College and their residential palaces here. Some of the palaces were designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Bianco and sketched by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. By today the University of Genoa has replaced the Jesuit College, and former Balbi palaces house a state museum and university facilities. Let us stop at Via Balbi 5, the University’s principal building. It’s located to your left and it’s open, come on in!

University Genova thesanetravel.com 1060026

Examine the present and the past of learning here, take the stairs, get a view from the top, and... We continue to explore Via Balbi. In a while you’ll reach a square with a basilica to the left, go up the stairs and get in. It’s just unexpected and breathtaking, the Basilica della Annunziata. Linger here to get the feel of it. Gorgeous, right?

Basilica della Annunziata Genova thesanetravel.com 1060036

Take some pictures and continue to the Garibaldi tunnel.
The tunnel is quite long, just go ahead and shortly after you get through, look to your left to see a humble entrance to another tunnel. It leads to the lift for a nice view over all of the Genoa, confirmed by the letters above the doors: “Panorama Della Citta”.

Genova panorama della citta thesanetravel.com 1060124

Just remember to buy your ticket, return, and now you see all of it. Genoa has a peculiar colour, don’t you think? A bit sand-like and a little magical.

Genova panorama thesanetravel.com 1060153

Now let’s go back! Mind your steps at the exit, cross the street and after a short while turn right to Via Garibaldi. Looks quite presumptuous, doesn’t it? But of course it has a reason to.

Via Garibaldi Genova thesanetravel.com 1060110Via Garibaldi is home to 42 palaces, completely restored, being the very first European example of urban planning realized in cooperation with citizens, which accounts for the consistent design that meets specific organizing, representative and diplomatic needs. The street was put onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2006, including the Strade Nuove (“New Roads”) with its magnificent “Palazzi dei Rolli,” a series of noble Renaissance and Baroque abodes built in the 16th 18th centuries. Even though most of the buildings are now occupied by banks, municipal offices and such, you can still marvel at the facades and the courtyards. Don’t rush and savour it.

Palace courtyard Via Garibaldi Genova thesanetravel.com 1060057Moving on, go back to the main square of Genoa, Piazza De Ferrari, and admire its buildings and the water fountain.

genova piazza de ferrari thesanetravel.com 1060159

The Doge’s Palace is just next door too, and guess what, its exhibitions do work on Mondays. Just go in and see what they offer. I attended Mucha and Art Nouveau Atmospheres exhibition. What will be your choice?

genova alfons mucha thesanetravel.com 1060166After the visit, leave out the main entrance and find yourself in another square. To your left there’s the Gesu church, open every day from 15.30 to 18.00. I hope you are there at about that time.

genova gesu church thesanetravel.com 1060186

At the main altar you’ll see the oil on canvas painting called “The Circumcision of Jesus” by Peter Paul Rubens, dated 1605.

genova gesu church interior thesanetravel.com 1060189

Let’s get going though as there’s another sight to enjoy in a few minutes from here: Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Different again, and beautiful, with lions guarding the entrance.

genova cathedral san lorenzo thesanetravel.com 1060259


The interior is just magnificent.

genova cathedral san lorenzo interior thesanetravel.com 1060225OK, now head to the port area, home to Acquario di Genova, one of the largest aquariums in Europe. The latest admission time on weekdays in May is 6.pm., so you may be late... Don’t worry; you can always decide to stay for one more day.

genova port area thesanetravel.com 1060289

Tired? You bet you are! Sneak a glance at the galleon Neptune, built for Roman Polanski’s “Pirates” film.

genova galleon neptune thesanetravel.com 1060299

Then try to find an open cafe or a restaurant nearby as you deserve a bracing dinner. Bon appetite!

If you stay overnight in Genoa I would recommend Grand Hotel Savoia. There are great places all around Italy, one of my bucket list places is Lake Garda

  • Published by Anita on May 19, 2016
  • Visited May 2016

    Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


    Great tips for an off the beaten path place! Also, stunning photos :)
    Each photo is more stunning than the one before. If this is Genoa on a Monday, I would love to see it for an entire week!
    Wow, your pictures are impressive. What a beautiful city. It is incredible that only street has 42 palaces. How enthralling. Would love to visit in the future. Thank you for the wonderful visual introduction to the city.
    Great post! I've actually been to Genoa and this article would've been so helpful before I went!
    Wow, such vibrant photos! I always love strolling around Italian cities at my own pace, stopping in a few churches, munching on some gelato and stopping for un macciato.
    What a fantastic post Anita. I have driven around Genoa but sadly we didn't stop. I am very much regretting that decision now. I am sure my husband who is a keen sailor would love the galleon. I am fascinated by the colours of the city too. I really picked that up on your wonderful Instagram feed
    Genoa is very beautiful. It sounds like I'd enjoy it. I can't believe that Via Garibaldi has 42 palaces!
    Garibaldi tunnel looks amazing!!!!
    These shots are beautiful! Genoa is on my bucket list now! :)
    Great post! Now Genoa is on my summer wandering list :)
    Wow! I was actually blown away by how beautiful Genoa looks in your photos. I have never visited nor heard much about the city. I think this is a great guide for anyone visiting (even if it isn't a Monday!).
    Genoa looks like an interesting city to say the least. Love all the architecture there. I'll have to schedule a visit sometime!
    Those pictures are amazing. I would love to go to Genoa. You made my mouth water to see this amazing place :)
    Had a pretty scary experience in Genoa (in a motorhome) many years ago and so generally now we just drive through it. Nice to see there are some other things to do here.
    looks like an amazing city like most in Italy. Seems there is a treasure to find around each corner and your pictures have captured this city extremely well
    I love your writing style; it feels like you are speaking to me personally. This is a great step by step guide and I am book-marking it for future use. I know I'll probably end up in Genoa one day. Thanks for sharing all the detailed information.
    Our kids loved visiting the Neptune! It was their favorite thing in Genoa.

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