If you haven’t taken a train in Italy, you are missing out! I love riding on passenger trains. Virtually every town has a train station that connects to the entire country.
While staying in Liguria, we frequently take the train to Genoa; Genova (pronounced Jay-No-Va) in Italian. Genoa has a population of over 580,000 and is a major port city for northern Italy. It is a prosperous commercial hub that doesn’t seem to be super popular with U.S tourists. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and the tiny house where he was born is open to the public.
When taking the train to Genoa, we generally get off at the Genova Brignole station and walk into the more commercial part of the city from there. I can never remember the exact route, but fortunately my husband has it down pat.
On our way to the main square, we pass my favorite bakery for brioche marmalata. We also swing into the Mercato Orientale so my husband can take pictures of the produce and fish for sale. When we return home, we often print the pictures and hang them in our kitchen as wonderful reminders.
The main square in the heart of the city, Piazza Ferrari, is massive! We have seen great art exhibits at the Palazzo Ducale. The San Lorenzo cathedral is around the corner from the piazza and the entrance is guarded by two marble lions. Lions are a familiar symbol in much of Liguria.
Just off the Piazza are a warren of small streets with small shops and restaurants that lead to the Porto Antico. It is easy to get lost there and wander into some dodgy areas.
Genoa has two popular Italian department stores, COIN and La Rinascente. I usually swing through each, particularly COIN. I also love Kiko Milano cosmetic stores and one of my favorite branches in is Genoa.
Another favorite stop is Caffe Mangini. Located in Piazza Corvetto at the end of one of the most elegant streets of Genova, Via Roma, it was founded in 1876.
Genoa is one of my favorite haunts for scoping out Italian street fashion. Genoans dress well and more formally than on the rest of the Italian Riviera. It is a treat to see them in action.
Here’s hoping a train takes us back to Genoa in spring 2021!