Getting from Milan to Genoa was a breeze by train. For accommodation, we had booked a night at the Mini Hotel (54 Euro, incl breakfast), convenient because it was within walking distance of the train station. We hadn’t anticipated being in Genoa at the same time as Becky’s parents (who were in town to catch their repositioning cruise from Genoa to Miami on MSC Divina) but lo and behold, we managed to run into them in this city of half a million. Sightseeing was put on hold because we wanted to hang out with them for a few hours over drinks and dinner.
The next morning after breakfast we received a frantic phone call from Becky’s folks stating that they had too much alcohol and would we help relieve them of some of it? No brainer! After our short detour to their hotel to pick up several bottles of wine, we stopped by the train station to buy tickets from Genoa to Cinque Terre. The next direct train was at 12:14 so we booked it, giving us only a few short hours to see beautiful Genoa. First we had to head back to Mini Hotel to check out and store our bags in the reception area. Thankfully, the Mini Hotel is centrally located in the historical center, so it didn’t take us long to make our way to Via Garibaldi, the most famous historic street in the city center known for its ornate palaces. This street dates back to 1550 and was originally named “Strada Nuova” (New Street). Even though Via Garibaldi is only 250 meters in length, there are at least a dozen impressive baroque buildings that once belonged to the richest Italians of the Renaissance. Today, many of these buildings are free to enter as they have since been converted into the Town Hall, a bank, private offices, etc. From Via Garibaldi, we made our way to Genoa’s main square, the Piazza De Ferrari (whose beautiful fountain is surrounded by old buildings). Our last stop of the morning was a visit to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, famous for its black and white striped façade (marble and slate). We spent as much time as we could admiring this beautiful cathedral before running out of time. Even though we had allotted about half an hour for us to retrieve our bags and hoof it to the train station, we barely made it to the station on time. Our fatal mistake was rushing off to the wrong platform. By the time we figured out where our train was supposed to be, we had missed it by mere seconds! Luckily, a helpful train station employee cheerfully changed our ticket to a later departure and we had to wait less than an hour for the next train towards Cinque Terre (not a direct one but no biggie). The tiny glimpse of Genoa that we got to see left us wanting more. This is absolutely a city we’d love to come back to and explore some more.