Genova, Italy: A City of Imperfections and Surprises – A Traveler’s Perspective Part 1

Genova, located about an hour and a half from Milan, is a bustling city with a unique charm. It is a historic port city in Northern Italy, with a rich history dating back to ancient times. It was once a powerful maritime republic in the Middle Ages and played a significant role in the development of trade and commerce in Europe. The city’s Old Town, known as the “Genova’s Hidden Gems” is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with narrow winding streets, colorful buildings, and historic landmarks. Genova was also a major center for the arts during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and it continues to be a cultural hub to this day. The city’s history is deeply ingrained in its architecture, culture, and daily life, making it an interesting destination for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.

Upon arriving by train on a Saturday night, the tight spaces and uneven roads of the city were immediately apparent. The streets were crowded and navigating through the subway station required dodging people left and right. The roads were in poor condition, making it easy to trip and lose balance. Despite the city’s rough exterior, it was clear that Genova was a popular destination for tourists and young people. However, it’s not a picture-perfect city and one should be aware of the presence of prostitutes in some of the narrow streets. It’s not a place to visit alone.

Piazza de Ferrari

Exploring Genova can feel like a labyrinth, with its winding streets and tight alleys. However, no matter how lost you may feel, you can always find your way back to the heart of the city: Piazza de Ferrari. This grand square serves as a central hub for locals and tourists alike, with its impressive fountain and grandiose architecture. The piazza is surrounded by historical buildings such as the Palazzo Ducale, the Teatro Carlo Felice and the Galleria Nazionale. It’s a bustling spot, with street performers and vendors selling souvenirs. The square is also a popular spot for locals to congregate, whether it’s for a quick coffee break or an evening stroll. It serves as a perfect starting point for any journey in Genova, and it’s a place that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.


I couldn’t visit Genova and not try their famous pesto dish. And, I was not disappointed. The pesto was rich, fragrant, and so flavorful. The pasta was cooked to perfection, and the sauce was well balanced with the right amount of garlic, basil, and Parmesan. It was a true taste of Genova, and it exceeded my expectations. I can see why it’s considered a local specialty. I highly recommend trying a pesto dish when you visit Genova, you won’t regret it.

Overall, Genova was a challenging city for me to visit, as it tested my patience on multiple occasions. From a frustrating lunchtime experience where my salad order was not fulfilled correctly, to a cheeseburger at McDonald’s that came with ketchup despite my request to leave it off. My frustration was compounded by my friend’s lack of planning which resulted in us having to wait for a later train than we had anticipated. This added to the feeling of discomfort and unfamiliarity that I felt in the city.

As I sat in the train station waiting for my friend to sort out our tickets, I was approached by a woman who spoke too fast for me to understand if she was speaking Italian or something else. Despite my inability to help her, I was reminded that these types of situations are just part of the travel experience.

In the end, my negative experience in Genova made me appreciate the decision to visit the city even more. It was a test of my resilience and adaptability, and it helped me gain a deeper understanding of the importance of being open-minded and embracing the unexpected. It was a valuable reminder that not every place will be perfect and that’s okay, as long as we learn from the experience.


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