In the heart of the Italian Riviera, the medieval port town of Genoa is famous not only as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, but also for its regal heritage. Here are our picks for the city’s must-see palaces.
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato was begun in the 16th century, but most of the work on the interior was done roughly 100 years later – which explains the profusion of Baroque decoration inside.
The facade of the church is its newest feature, dating from the mid-1800s. The clean white exterior gives no indication of the explosion of color and ornamentation you'll find when you walk inside. When the interior of the basilica was being completed in the 17th century, the top Baroque studios were employed to do the job – and it looks the part.
It's the ceiling and dome that may leave you breathless – everywhere you look is gold, with enormous frescoes stretched across the arch of the nave's ceiling. The artist responsible for much of the dome is also the one who was overseeing the entire interior project. So although there were multiple artists and studios at work, the interior still looks well-planned.
Piazza della Nunziata, Genoa, Italy
The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato is on Via della Nunziata. It was originally built outside the existing city walls, though today it's close to the historic center. Entry to the church is free, and donations are always welcome. Guide books are available for €6, and guided tours are offered each Sunday morning (or by appointment) at 11:30am for €3 per person (a minimum of five people is required).
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- Royal Palace Museum (Museo di Palazzo Reale)
- Dialogue in the Dark Exhibition (Dialogo nel Buio)
- Piazza Caricamento
- Spianata Castelletto
- Palazzo Bianco
- Palazzo Rosso
- Aquarium of Genoa
- Palazzi dei Rolli
- La Biosfera
- Genoa Via Garibaldi (Via Giuseppe Garibaldi)
- Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art (Museo d'Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone)
- Via San Lorenzo
- Genoa Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo)
- Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)