If there’s something pleasant about living in Nice, in addition to evolve in an entertaining city, it’s the neighbouring ones. Genoa is definitely one of those I’ve explored the most. Being one of the most important industrial cities of Italy and having a big harbour, it is a hub for North Africans who want to go from the South of France to Tunisia or Algeria by boat, because boat tickets are far cheaper than plane ones, especially departing from Genoa. The city is quite dynamic, albeit the architecture and infrastructure are far from being modern. But that’s what I like when it comes to Italy : the traditional aspect. You would rarely tall buildings, and it’s even rarer to notice a skyscraper. It’s very different from most industrial and financially dynamic Western countries and if you want a break from these staples of capitalism, go to Italy ; of course you will still be in the West but the historical weight is so crucial that you would feel disorientated – in a good way.
Most tourists visit Genoa while on a cruise. That’s something one has to do at least once in their lifetime : a Mediterranean cruise to discover Greece, Italy, Spain and Tunisia! It truly is another conception of traveling: spending one day in each country while sleeping/swimming/eating/having fun/mingling with fellow travellers at night on the boat is clearly different from spending the whole week in the same city and heading back to the hotel every night. When it comes to air travel, Genoa has an international airport, easily reachable from the biggest European cities, albeit you might have to stop for a layover before reaching your final destination. The train network is also pretty interesting and affordable. If you’re traveling within Italy, especially if you have an Interrail ticket, the train remains useful. If you’re not interrailing, make sure to book your train ticket on Thello! You can even get your trip Milan – Genoa for 10€ if you do so in advance! Blablacar is also a solution. Don’t hesitate to look at their website and contact the drivers!
Going there from Nice was probably one of the easiest things I’ve done so far. I had to book a 9€ Ouibus ticket for a one-way trip, 17€ for the return one. The trip lasted only three hours and the bus was really comfortable, contained plugs and provided us travelers with free wifi and WC (although the internet network wasn’t that great). It is also possible to travel with Flixbus, which prices vary from one trip and date to another, while those of the Ouibus are almost always the same, regardless of the date.
The city being a hub, you would see plenty of migrants newly arrived from Africa. They head to Italy illegally, are most of the times rescued in Catane, Sicily if they haven’t found death in the Mediterranean sea, are rescued and end up in Genova spending days, weeks or months in a migration centre before trying to go to France. That’s what they usually do : trying to move to France, so you’ll see numerous migrants being arrested for that at the Italian-French border. I will write an article about this later. But if you plan to explore Genova, don’t forget that you can witness some tensions between the local police and these migrants.
It should be a sin to talk about Italy while not describing its absolutely succulent food. Genoa, being a unique and traditional Italian city, is the place to be if you are fond of Italian dishes. Street food is indescribably tasty, cheap – excuse the phrase – as hell and here’s a friendly advice : try to always eat in the Genovese old town and enjoy the amazing atmosphere and delicious, dream-like Italian food!
Take the time to explore the astonishing Via Balbi. Visit the absolutely stunning Palazzo Reale, and enjoy the 17th century, gorgeous, Savoy-related historic architecture of this royal palace, as well as its breathtaking garden and museum. Another historic staple of this city is the Palazzi dei Rolli, inserted within the world heritage listing of UNESCO. Located in Via Garibaldi, this beautiful site gathers varied administrations within the fourteen palaces composing the Palazzi dei Rolli system. If you are keen on cultural events, especially plays, and have an understanding of the Italian language, the Teatro Carlo Felice is clearly waiting for you.