A city of art and a metropolis facing the sea, Genoa grew around the port, a natural inlet that has always been a place of thriving traffic and business exchanges. Its antique heart, the largest medieval historical centre in Europe, is crossed by a tight network of lanes, where the multicultural soul that has always characterised the city history gathers. A visit to the Palazzi dei Rolli, on the Unesco World Heritage List, cannot be missed: sumptuous dwellings that bring back a little of the atmosphere that existed in Genoa between the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Modern life is just a few steps away, in the places that were restored and renovated - the Expo with the Aquarium, via San Lorenzo, Palazzo Ducale, and the splendid via Garibaldi that is full of museums. The fascination of the city can also be found from Nervi to Voltri, independent municipalities from the Twenties, where you can find villas surrounded by Nineteenth century parks, suggestive sea walks, small and large museums.
The small villages and large centres that face the Golfo Paradiso, with a sea front that is recognised throughout the world because of its extraordinary beauty, are intense and multiform blotches of colour clinging to the rocks. The narrow, high and very colourful fishermen's houses make the coastline unique. Along this stretch of coast small beaches alternate with rocks covered by trees and maquis shrubland. A great marine tradition is continued in the areas facing the coastline, above all in Camogli: its characteristic port contains numerous Gozzi (small fishing boats) with their nets spread out under the sun, and you will find the Marine museum in its centre.
The valleys around the great Genoa, which from the sea reach the Apennines along the rivers Scrivia, Bisagno, Polcevera, Stura and Leira, are dotted with villas and noble dwellings built during the past centuries by the most influential noble and bourgeois families of the city, who loved to pass their holidays here. Even today the peacefulness of the small centres, the mild climate of the high ground and the beauty of the countryside draw a large number of holidaymakers: there are many places that are perfect for long walks, horse riding or bike rides and food and wine routes.
The small villages are full of history that can be seen in the age-old abbeys (Tiglieto abbey is famous) and turreted castles that display the estates of Doria, Fieschi, Malaspina and Spinola, for example Casella and Campo Ligure, famous also for filigree work. Castello della Pietra in Vobbia is a different story, because of the aura of mystery that surrounds it: it is an exceptionally important example of cohesion between the work of man and the natural environment, constructive economy and military techniques.
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