If you like to combine Tourism, Heritage and Spirituality like me, take a chance to visit the modern and historical Genoa (Genova), the capital of Liguria, Italy's great seaport and birthplace of Christopher Colombus. Its mild climate makes it an excellent destination for an out-of-town trip or Easter Holiday, a great occasion to explore this gem city.
The Holy Week and its tradition
The Holy week is characterised by religious traditions, that date back to the Middle Ages. Probably the oldest and most solemn celebration of the liturgical calendar. This tradition consists in decorating the altars of churches called “Sepolcri” (Sepulchres) with flowers and fabrics, vases of wheat and blades of grass harvested from the blessed grains seeded on the feast of St. Blaise.
Famous Sepulchres of Holy Week
The most visited Sepulchres are those in Cathedral, one the most famous is Chapel of St John the Baptist, decorated with a silver parament and Corpus Christi chest from 1612. Although, are in the Chiesa di Gesù (Church of Jesus) international representation of the Genoese Baroque, the most famous and magnificent flower bouquet. So beautiful those are, that the experiences of this sacred celebration were described in the poem “Holy Week at Genoa'' by Oscar Wilde in 1881.
Cathedral of San Lorenzo and The Museum of the Treasury
Catedrale di San Lorenzo or Cathedral of Saint Lawrence is the most important church in Genoa and considered one of the symbols of the city, built in a Genovese style with a splendid black and white Gothic façade and the interiors made in Baroque and Gothic style. Also, where is located the entrance to the Museo del Tesoro (Museum of the Treasury) that shows the richness of the Catholic church: treasured crucifixes, gold crowns, silver sculptures and one of the most important valuable artefacts preserved in Italy, the “Genoese Holy Grail,” also known as the Holy Chalice.
Blue di Genova – Museo Diocesano
Close to Cathedral, almost a hidden gem, is located the Museo Diocesano, exhibiting 2000 years of Genoa history. It houses medieval cloisters of the 12th century and a rich collection of archaeological artefacts, silver ornaments, sculptures and art as the illustration the Mystery of the Passion in Blue Canvas, a fabric dubbed “Genoa blue,” symbol of the city. It's marvellous!
The Maundy Procession
Complete the celebration following the afternoon liturgy on the Maundy Procession, in the heart of Genoa's historic centre, the parade dated back to the 16th century, where the union of confraternities permeated through the streets, to visit the seven oldest churches of the centre.
Top things to do in Genoa
This historic Porto was attractively restructured to the tourism; with marina, bar, restaurants, entertainment, shopping and culture. Also, where is located the famous aquarium and The Bigo, a panoramic lift designed by Renzo Piano in a circular cabin going up 40 meters higher and offering a full view of the harbour and city. I consider this an unmissable attraction, ideal place for nice shoots.
Acquario of Genoa
Located in the old harbour area of Genoa, is the largest aquarium in Italy. The exhibition gallery consists of over 70 displays and 600 species including dolphins, sharks and penguins! The Aquarium structure is awesome, and I do recommend this attraction for sure, are two levels of rich aquatic nature, so, expect to spend at least 2, 3 hours in there. Wear comfortable shoes!
Pallazi di Rolly Via Garibaldi
Here you need a lot of time to explore it. Pallazi di Rolly is a prestigious and essential attraction in Genoa, located at Via Garibaldi, is declared UNESCO World Heritage in 2006, homes a series of luxury palaces that once belonged to nobles and prominent families from the late 15th and 17th century, to welcome popes, princes, emperors, ambassadors and foreign sovereigns. The most visited palaces are Palazzo Rosso, magnificent architecture and hold a great collection of paintings by Veronese, Dürer and Van Dyck, a and where you can have a great view of the city from the mirador on the rooftop. There is also Palazzo Bianco, it houses a gallery with works by Caravaggio, Veronese, Rubens and Van Dyck; Palazzo Tursi, the seat of city government, and Palazzo Lomellino, the only one with a garden and the visit is open to the public on certain weekends.
The National Gallery of Art – Palazzo Spinola di Pelliceira
If you like to appreciate Art, move to the Piazza di Pellicceria, fabulous! It housed the residence of the Genoese aristocracy and currently is the home of the National Gallery of Art. Illustrating an interior design preserved since the 16th century is decorated with many frescoes, and boasts a luxurious Golden Gallery with paintings by Luca Cambiasi, Bernardo Castello and Bernardo Strozzi.
Historical places to eat in Genoa
As you find your way to explore Genova through the narrow streets, houses and buildings side by side, there are rare historical workshops that deserve your paladar attention. An example is the chocolate factory Romeo Viganotti, which has been in business since 1866 and using the original machinery, famous for its pralines stuffed with cherry, yummy! Then go on to discover the “Confettieri” (sugar candies) and fines desserts by Pietro Romanengo, has been open since 1780. Then, do not forget to stop at Antica Sciamadda, nearly two hundred years old, is famous for baking the delicious vegetable pie and the unmissable “Farinata.”
Extending the tour: The Villa Pallaviccini di Pegli
Not too far from the centre of Genoa and connected by railway and bus, is Villa Pallaviccini di Pegli, where is located the Museum of Ligurian Archaeology, and the romantic English-style botanical garden opened to visitors since 1846. Well-known as one of the most beautiful parks in Italy, it is a perfect tour to appreciate walking through paths surrounded by impressive architecture, statues, palm-trees, exotic plants, varied species of flowers including Italy's oldest collection of Cammelias and the legendary grotto. All those listed are some of the top places that I would recommend to explore in the hearts of the city. Genoa is an awe-inspiring city and welcomes everyone's; there's everything; the sea, the mountains nearby, heritage, entertainment, art and culture. This city is a hidden gem, and you be pleasantly surprised. Buon Viaggio!