Genoa, capital city of Liguria, Italy, “La Superba”, Genoa’s nickname for centuries meaning “the stand-offish, withdrawn, aloof one” probably because for a millennium since VIII AD, Genoa had its own way and kept its independence from major rulers, be it Popes, Emperors or Kings – it’s only Queen, Jesus’s mother Madonna.

A Maritime Republic like Venice, Pisa and Amalfi; a trading city ante litteram (before it’s time) where its banking system started, leading to branches in modern day’s Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, Israel and Crimea. Traders in wine (Spinola’s family, whose logo features a barrel pin hence its name), dry fruit (Brignole, dialect for plums), fabric, spices, sugar, and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Men made their fortune in Genoa and elevated their families to noble status. Hotels also started in Genoa: wealthy families would host Emperors, Kings and Popes in their palaces where artists like Rubens, Van Dyck and many other Italians portrayed and celebrated the owners and their family. The palaces were listed onto rolled paper – Rolli in Genoese-Italian and we refer to them even today, especially during Rolli Days when visitors are allowed into most of the palaces, and even private property.

In 1814 Genoa joined the House of Savoy which increased its trading and drive. Wars in first half of the 20th century made Genova into a large industrial hub and commercial port where previously, lay only beaches and resorts. Transatlantic ships left for New York and Argentina and today large cruise ships and ferries tour around the Mediterranean. Petrol tanks are slowly giving way to green renewable energies and Genova is now the largest seaport in Italy.


Smart-casual outfit for office meetings, and women can move around safely at all times but I would avoid  some narrow alleys in the old city at night.


Transport in Genoa in is provided by rail, buses, underground and airplanes for domestic, European and also Istanbul and Moscow destinations. Cars are also around but parking and traffic can be impossible and expensive in this hilly city: people rather ride scooters and bikes!

Taxis are mainly on call or at stands in several city places: they do not stop when signaled like in London or New York. Taxis charge for luggage in the boot too. Public transport at night is also available, mainly buses which will cover a longer distance than day time.

dining and bars

Eating out in Genoa old city is really lost for choice! Typical dishes are pasta trofie/croxetti & pesto sauce made with basil and pine kernels as main ingredients (BBC featured the “King of Pesto”, who makes pesto by mortar and pestle); quiche with wild herbs; “cappon magro” a terrine made with seafood and vegetables in a rich vinegar sauce. In the 1600s only wealthy people ate poultry / game leaving poorer workers to eat more seafood and deep fried vegetables.

There are plenty of restaurants ranging from €8 for aperativos to €200 for high-end restaurants, e.g Zeffirino – the restaurant who sent pesto to Frank Sinatra, as his mother was from Lumarzo village,  a suburb of east Genoa.


  • Hammam and Spas in the centre
  • Fitness centres by the sea
  • Many spas also offer manicures and pedicures


anna-marchettoI am from La Spezia, Liguria’s other town next to Tuscany, and moved to Genova some ten years ago when I returned from Singapore (where I ran my Italian gourmet shop and import business for four years). I also lived in London for five years soon after my college and Diploma exam. I was entrepreneur in Singapore thanks to my fluent English and in depth knowledge in logistics, import-export, clearance and financing combined with my passion for food. Singapore with its 5 million inhabitants is the shrine for food 24/7 all year around and in early 2000, Italian food was not completely explored yet.

I am currently a consultant for companies wishing to export their food and beverage products. I also do temping in administration positions as well as volunteering as a guide for Genova Academy of Belle Arti museum. Since starting volunteering, I’ve discovered more and more art and beauty around the old city thanks to the training provided by the museum and also to associations like Genova a piedi. They organize tours and seminars walking through the old city, main centre of Genova. Walking is also my hobby and my way to keep fit – at 50-something I manage to compensate my love for food (wine and beer) with long walks, especially at lunch time (autumn-winter).  During my wandering around I also discover and try scale-conscious Osterie – restaurants and cafeterias and make them a destination for a meal out with husband or friends.

If you have questions about your trip to Genoa you can contact me at

Networking: See who is networking in Genoa now