Location: Genoa, Liguria, Italy
When I and my boyfriend, Luke, found ourselves travelling around Italy, Venice and Rome were the two destinations top of our list. But after that, we weren't really sure where to go next. To kill a weekend, we decided to head to Pisa to eat our body weight in ice cream and take pictures of each other pretending to push over the Leaning Tower (the two fundamental activities for any tourist that finds themselves in Pisa). Luke asked me where else I wanted to visit in Italy, and since we'd seen a lot of cities, my only desire was to go somewhere where I could swim in the sea, and so we headed to a city situated on the coast: Genoa.
Now, Genoa can also be spelled "Genova" and so when I first heard about the place I got it confused with the country Genovia, which is the place from Disney's The Princess Diaries. Totally NOT the same thing however as Genovia is fictional. Damn you Disney. Anyway, Genoa IS however where the famous Christopher Columbus was born, so it still turned out to be a notable place. The buildings are a spectrum of bright colours and there's loads of little ice cream shops by the port which is lined with hundreds of boats. Genoa really is a quaint Italian gem and one of my favourite places I've ever visited - which isn't bad considering I only wanted to go there to swim in the sea.
You can easily enough jump on a train and travel down the coast, which we did, to visit the different beaches. Grab a map from your hostel/hotel and if unsure, ask someone where you're staying what's the nearest beach and where is best for your needs. Bear in mind that many of the beaches are stony and craggy as pictured above, but with a couple of beers and the sun shining, who can complain? (Please do not drink and swim!)
It's lucky for us that we fell in love with Genoa so easily, as we didn't get to swim every day due to the stormy weather. However, with plenty of restaurants and nightlife down at the port, the beautiful city, and its port Aquarium, there was plenty to do to entertain ourselves. I will admit the weather also made for some dramatic photography, which I really enjoyed capturing!
Acquario de Genova is Italy's largest aquarium, not to mention one of the biggest in Europe. It's situated on the harbour and is connected to a ship which you can stand on and take in the breathtaking views of the port. We visited late afternoon and witnessed the sun setting before heading for dinner - the aquarium is open until 8pm (9pm on weekends) which makes it the perfect evening activity. The aquarium has so much to see and explore: a really relaxing place to go and a must-see for all tourists.
Nights in Genoa were a dream. Dusty pink skies bleeding into the blue of daylight would begin each evening, and it was heavenly to watch the moon settle on the calm waters every night. Some nights we would cook in our hostel and head down to the water, other nights we'd treat ourselves to dinner and drinks and watch the sun go down and the city lights turn on. We even spent one evening watching the cruise ships sail in and out and shared a pack of beers (we're AVID beer drinkers). One thing is certain: that nights in Genoa are not for sitting inside.
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