Thursday, May 14, 2015

Italy 2015: Genova Logistics

To be honest, the only reason we visited Genova is because we were flying out of the Genova airport. I didn't want to fill a day with trains and planes so instead, we took a little break from travel by taking a pause in Christopher Columbus's supposed birth city.

Genova is also the birthplace of pesto and it is well known for focaccia so the pause was definitely worth our while.
We stayed in a hotel right by the train station, which I booked on purpose for the convenience factor.

GETTING THERE
Genova has a small airport that is serviced by a bunch of low-cost airlines so flying in is really easy. If you're relatively nearby, train travel is also an easy option. There's a train that comes in from Nice, so if you're in France and you feel like having some pasta, take a quick jaunt. We took a train in and a plane out.
I personally haven't driven in Genoa, but honestly, I've never been keen on having a car in any major city. Worrying about parking and gas is not something I like to do on holiday. I rarely saw free parking spaces and even the Vespas were jammed together in tiny spots.

WHERE TO STAY
Genoa is a bustling city so there are an endless number of hotels. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Savoia, which was looked lovely and fancy but it was pretty affordable for $150/night.
GETTING AROUND
Public transportation is always my preferred method, along with walking. We opted to buy a day pass for the metro and buses which costs €4.50, which is a good deal because a single ride is €1.50. There's one main metro line, which was convenient for us because we had a stop right by our hotel. The main thing to remember (in general when traveling in Italy) is to validate your ticket prior to hopping on the train or bus. If you are caught with an unvalidated ticket, you will be fined.
Since the metro really only has one main route, the buses are a great option. Just read the posted signs at the stations to check out the stops and the times and frequencies at which the buses run.

There are also funiculars which will take you up the mountain. They are closed for a few months every five years for a safety audit, which unfortunately for us coincided with our visit. However, there are buses to make up the gap.

DO, SEE, & EAT
Genova is full of beautiful facades and maze-like alleyways. To be honest, I would not want to be caught in some of those alleys at night (my sister and I were calling some of the seedier ones "rape alleys") but during the day, it's fun to get lost.
Another popular activity is walking along the harbor and maybe visiting the Renzo Piano-designed aquarium.
Food wise, you'll never be disappointed here. This is the birthplace of pesto and it is seriously phenomenal. I don't know if it's the basil, the cheese, the delicious olive oil, or maybe it's all three, but the pesto is really bright, savory, and the garlic is present but subtle so that your breath isn't ruined. I really need to work on my own pesto recipe. Focaccia is also a specialty here and it's common for locals to grab a piece and eat it for breakfast on the go.
If possible, hit up a market. We happened to be in town for the Sapori Al Ducale market and it was fabulous. We got to sample pestos and cheeses and cookies. We actually bought a few small jars of pesto and brought them home with us. I thought we might give some out as gifts but I think we're going to be selfish and just keep them to ourselves.
Genova is a beautiful town. Go and enjoy it.

xoxo.

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