Cosmopolitan par excellence, with the largest port in Italy, is closely linked to its tradition of the ancient seafaring republic, whose testimonies are a constant presence among the city streets, especially in its famous old town where you can still Breathe the medieval air of the ancient artisan shops, some of which are still in business.
Starting from Hotel De Ville You can immediately admire the porticos of Sottoripa, the oldest in Italy (built starting from 1100) and UNESCO World Heritage site that is develop on a total length of 900 meters. Since in the Middle Ages were the landing and the shelter of the commercial boats, it is no wonder that they are still one of the pulsating hearts of the Genoese trade, with its bazaars and ethnic premises in an atmosphere of spicy fragrance.
Proceeding towards the east is Palazzo San Giorgio, one of the most important and representative historical buildings in Genoa dating back to the XIII century. Particularly imposing and scenographic, it stands out for the two facades in different styles: on the side facing the old town, it shows its medieval appearance in red bricks on sight, while what overlooks the ancient port is a composition that alternates marbles and imposing sixteenth-century frescoes.
Continuing towards the heart of the city, a few steps from Palazzo San Giorgio, you reach via San Lorenzo, a spacious pedestrian path that offers a parade of five palaces of the Rolli. Climbing along the road, the first to appear is Palazzo Centurione-Gavotti, located at number 5, while shortly after, at number 8, is Palazzo Durazzo-Zoagli. Just a few steps away you can admire the imposing Palazzo Bendinelli-Sauli, at number 12, whose neo-Renaissance facade overlooks the cathedral of San Lorenzo. At number 17 you will find Palazzo Sinibaldo-Fieschi, easily recognizable from the lining with typical Genoese bicrome bands. The last resting place of the circuit of the Rolli in this street is Palazzo Orazio and Gio Francesco De Franceschi, at number 19, opposite the side of the cathedral.
Walking in this part of the city is impossible not to stop to admire the majestic Cathedral of San Lorenzo, whose construction dates back to 1098 and then be consecrated by Pope Gelasio II in 1118. From the imposing white and black stripes façade, in the Genoese aristocratic iconographic style, to the three Gothic portals, to the bas-reliefs and the high relief, the cathedral contains an infinity of details that art lovers and not only can easily Appreciate also visiting the interiors.
A few steps from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo you reach Piazza Matteotti, where the eye is immediately kidnapped by the prestigious neoclassical façade of Palazzo Ducale, one of the main historical-cultural points of interest in the city. Composed by the aggregation of several medieval buildings, it has many peculiarities: besides having an irregular plant, it distinguishes itself for the facades in different styles that vary considerably moving from one side to the other.
In front of the Hotel De Ville is one of the main attractions of the city, the Aquarium of Genoa, the largest in Italy and the first for animal species as well as a fascinating point of interest for young and old. From here you can undertake a particularly interesting route for those visiting the first time, walking through the famous alleys (called "Caruggi") that allow you to understand the true essence of the city more closely.
Reaching the porticoes of Sottoripa from the aquarium, you enter the old town entering via Al Ponte Reale: Just a few steps away is Piazza Banchi, the beating heart of florid Genoese trade in medieval times, between merchants and money changers behind of the harbor. It is here that the term "bankruptcy" has been coined throughout the world, resulting from the punishment for those who proposed dishonest business. After ascertaining the cheating, the halberardiers proceeded with the rupture of the bench on which the exchange operations were annotated, destroying it with a stroke of axe, prejudicing its use in the future (literally broken-Bank).
Also in Piazza Banchi you can admire the Loggia della Mercanzia, one of the most important buildings in the city consisting of glass arches and bas-reliefs.
Continuing on Via San Luca, and then turn into Vico della Torre di San Luca, you reach Piazza di Pellicceria where you can admire the Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria, belonging to the circuit of the palaces of the Rolli. Built in 1593, it houses the National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola with frescoes, seventeenth-century furnishings and numerous works of art in a Baroque Genoese setting.
From Via della Maddalena, located just beyond Palazzo Spinola, continuing along Vico del Tempo Buono with a slight ascent, you reach Piazza della Meridiana, where you will find Palazzo Gerolamo Grimaldi, also belonging to the circuit of the Rolli.
On the right you enter via Garibaldi, built in 1550 as a way of representation because along its path are the most important and fascinating Genoese noble palaces. Via Garibaldi is the pulsating heart of the Rolli system, counting 13 noble buildings that follow one another.
Starting from number 1, you will find:
Thanks to the strategic location of Hotel De Ville You can immediately access the area of the Porto Antico, a popular area of the city thanks to the many attractions.
In addition to the Aquarium of Genoa, which is the largest in Italy and the first for animal species is a mandatory destination, another attraction is not to be missed is the Biosphere. Made by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano, it is a glass sphere that houses a part of tropical rainforest with 150 species of plant and animal organisms.
Another point of interest in this area, irresistible for tourists but also for locals, is the Bigo: a panoramic lift that reaches 40 meters high offering a sensational view of the city and the sea.
Moving towards the piers where numerous boats are moated, you reach Porta Siberia which, as the name implies, represented one of the gates of access to Genoa in medieval times, being an integral part of the city walls. In addition to the historical-cultural value, Porta Siberia represents an important point of interest as it houses the Emanuele Luzzati Museum, dedicated to the illustrious Genoese artist.
Walking in the surroundings you reach the area of the warehouses of cotton, an imposing structure that in 800 was used for the storage of goods in transit to the port. Today the complex has been modernized with a strong tourist imprint, offering a varied proposal for the Movida between discos, cocktail bars, restaurants, ice-cream parlours and a multiplex cinema.