Genoa has a long story of beauty and style, since the Middle Ages, when Genoese merchants imported in Europe beautiful silks and precious spices; or in the Baroque times, when Pieter Paul Rubens indicated the sumptuous dwellings of the Genoese aristocracy as a model for every European gentleman (today, those palaces are UNESCO Heritage). And contemporary Genoa shines with the elegant plays of light and wind created by one of its most famous citizens, Renzo Piano.
It is still possible to breathe the same air as Rubens, relaxing in the refined mix of contemporary design and 16th-century frescoed architecture at Hotel Palazzo Grillo (part of the UNESCO site); enjoying an exclusive shopping experience at Via Garibaldi 12 lifestyle store, where the most interesting pieces of contemporary interior design from all over the world wait for you inside a gorgeous building located in Via Garibaldi, the ancient Golden Road of Genoa which is an astonishing open-air museum of architecture; and leave for a gourmet journey into the modern reinterpretation of Mediterranean taste at the Michelin-starred The Cook restaurant, under the frescoes of the most important baroque Genoese painter.
If you prefer to move a step ahead in time, you can dive into the Liberty atmosphere of Bristol Hotel (its staircase is an Instagram star!), or in the severe Rationalist architecture of Melià Hotel, a five-star hotel situated in the former seat of an important iron and steel factory; while Hotel Savoia, another luxury hotel close to Principe railway station, offers an exotic adventure through time and continents.
The Liguria Gourmet network, the brand which gathers many of the most interesting restaurants in the region, can give you other good advice to taste Genoese cuisine at its highlights: innovative, as at Il Marin, in the Ancient Port area designed by Renzo Piano; or based on great fresh fish, facing the sea as at Santa Monica, along the elegant Corso Italia, the sea promenade of the Genoese. The list of Liguria Gourmet restaurants will present you also some cheaper, simpler, authentically local trattorie, for a light lunch during your exploration of Genoa!
If you are generally interested in the Italian style, strolling through Galleria Mazzini and via Roma you will find the most important Italian and international griffes.
But if you want to go shopping like a Genoese, and if you want to take home with you something absolutely chic and local, the network of historic shops will be a good guide to explore the old town and to find also books, jewels, shoes and other fancy things! Genoeses don’t like to show off richness or exclusivity: they have a sober, almost British taste, reflected in their love for blue, and for good quality fabrics and wools.
Maybe you could choose one of the elegant packages used for the precious, rare confectionery (candies, candied fruits, chocolate), covered in blue (of course!) paper; or the Mezeri, the colourful cotton furnishing fabric, printed with vegetal and animal themes. Or you could choose a men’s tailored shirt, or a silk tie at Finollo.
Lead image: Palazzo Tobia Pallavicino | Photo credit: Studio Leoni