Things to Do in Piedmont & Liguria - page 3
Genoa has been known for its connection to the water for centuries, and one of the best views of the Mediterranean Sea can be found along the Corso Italia promenade. The 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) stretch of sidewalk curves around the coastline with ample space for walking, jogging, and even sunbathing on the beaches along the route.
Genoa’s Palazzo Rosso, or Red Palace, was built in the 1670s as a private home for the wealthy Brignole-Sale family. Donated to the city 200 years later, it was turned into an art museum featuring works by Veronese, Strozzi, and van Dyck. The palace is located in the heart of Genoa’s historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A large square located just behind Old Port (Porto Antico), Piazza Caricamento is the entryway to Genoa’s historic city center. This waterfront plaza is generally less crowded than Porto Antico and features ample space to people-watch. The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is the main must-see landmark in the plaza.
A busy Mediterranean naval port in northern Italy, the La Spezia Cruise Port (La Spezia Terminal Crociere) offers cruisers easy access to three of the country’s top destinations—Pisa, Florence, and the Cinque Terre. Cruise passengers also use La Spezia as a jumping-off point for other highlights in Piedmont and Liguria or stick around to enjoy the town's own modest but beautiful attractions.
Built in the 1530s for the Grimaldi family, Palazzo Bianco stands in the historical heart of Genoa. The mansion later came into the possession of the wealthy Brignole-Sale family, owners of nearby Palazzo Rosso. Today both homes are part of the Strada Nuova Museums, with Palazzo Bianco featuring European paintings from the 12th to 18th century.
Nineteenth-century Italian painter Edoardo Chiossone spent more than 20 years in Japan, where he amassed a significant collection of Japanese art. Bequeathed to the Ligurian Academy of Fine Arts, his collection formed the basis of the Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art (Museo d'Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone).
Via San Lorenzo is a historic street that runs from the Porto Antico to the stately San Lorenzo Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) in Genoa’s city center. The lovely street is named for the 12th-century black-and-white striped cathedral of the same name, which is home to holy relics and a beautifully frescoed interior.
Perhaps you didn't plan to go to Genoa to visit a cemetery, but you might want to change those plans. One of Europe's largest cemeteries, Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, sits just outside Genoa and is well worth a visit.
Staglieno is called a “Monumental Cemetery,” and can rightly be seen as an outdoor museum of sculptural work as well as a cemetery. The cemetery was opened in 1851, and covers more than a square kilometer (roughly 0.38 square miles).
There are some smaller cemeteries within Staglieno – an English cemetery, a Protestant cemetery, and a Jewish cemetery. At the center is a statue of Faith standing in front of a copy of the Pantheon (the original is in Rome). Among those buried at Staglieno is Oscar Wilde's wife, Italian singer Fabrizio De Andre, and Italian soldiers and politicians. Sculptors whose work is featured on tombs include Leonardo Bistolfi, Augusto Rivalta, and Giulio Monteverde.
The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato was begun in the 16th century, but most of the work on the interior was done roughly 100 years later – which explains the profusion of Baroque decoration inside.
The facade of the church is its newest feature, dating from the mid-1800s. The clean white exterior gives no indication of the explosion of color and ornamentation you'll find when you walk inside. When the interior of the basilica was being completed in the 17th century, the top Baroque studios were employed to do the job – and it looks the part.
It's the ceiling and dome that may leave you breathless – everywhere you look is gold, with enormous frescoes stretched across the arch of the nave's ceiling. The artist responsible for much of the dome is also the one who was overseeing the entire interior project. So although there were multiple artists and studios at work, the interior still looks well-planned.
Riomaggiore is photogenic from every angle, thanks to its jumble of multicolored buildings cocooned between dramatic sea cliffs and fronted by an expanse of blue ocean. The largest and southernmost of northern Italy’s five Cinque Terre villages, Riomaggiore is the place for romantic promenades, sipping coffee in traditional cafés, and bird watching along the rocky shores.
More Things to Do in Piedmont & Liguria
Zoom Torino is a zoological park in Cumiana, Turin. Opened in 2007, it covers an area of 180,000 square meters and is themed on the continents of Asia and Africa. The animals at Zoom Torino live in environments that simulate their natural habitats, and include hippos, rhinos, lemurs, giraffes, and many more.
The creator of the zoo spent a lot of time in Africa and aimed to create an immersive experience where different animals share the same areas, just as in nature. There are no bars or cages here; instead natural barriers create an open environment for the animals and an exciting experience for visitors.
Zoom only houses animals born in other EAZA (European Associations of Zoos and Aquaria) zoological structures, and supports and promotes various conservation projects. There are numerous educational activities and talks at the park so that visitors can learn about the different animals and their ecosystems.
With its square keep and imposing towers perched on the hilltop above Serralunga village, theSerralunga d'Alba Castle (Castello di Serralunga d'Alba) commands attention and it boasts an idyllic location, looking out over the UNESCO-listed Barolo vineyards. Built in the 14th-century, the castle never saw battle and remains in remarkable condition with much of the original medieval fortress still intact.
Visitors can explore inside the castle on a guided tour and learn about its unique architecture, which resembles a French donjon rather than an Italian castle; admire the coffered ceiling and magnificent frescoes of the Salone dei Valvassori (Great Hall); and stroll through the Palacium. Don’t forget to take in the views from the ramparts – the castle’s high vantage point affords stunning views over Piedmont and the surrounding vineyards.
Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, Valentino Castle (Castello del Valentino) is one of Turin’s most noteworthy landmarks. Situated in the Parco del Valentino and a former House of Savoy royal residence, the castle is today used by the local university and is occasionally open to the public.
Turin’s Turin Duomo (Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista)contains the Holy Shroud of Turin (Sacra Sindone), one of the world’s most famous and debated religious relics. Faithful and curious visitors from around the globe come to view this linen cloth believed by some to have been laid over Jesus’ body after his crucifixion.
Set next to the aquarium on Genoa’s revitalized historic port, La Biosfera is a small futuristic glass-and-steel sphere that houses a tiny self-contained microclimate. Populated by a chatty parrot, fish, and reptiles, the miniature tropical botanical garden is a delightful refuge from the bustle of the crowded port.
Challenge your senses and test your perception as you wander through a series of interactive exhibits in complete darkness. A full contrast to the kaleidoscope of colors in the nearby aquarium, Genoa’s Dialogue in the Dark Exhibition (Dialogo nel Buio) is a fascinating experience for visitors of all ages.
Alba is best known for its UNESCO-listed countryside and its precious white truffles, but this town in Piedmont has a history that dates back to ancient Rome. Explore this past by heading deep below the town center to admire Roman ruins—including a temple, forum, theater, and domus—as well as medieval tower foundations.
Some of the most popular churches in Italy are clad in marble from Ornavasso, found deep inside the mountains near Lake Maggiore. The Antica Cava di Ornavasso offers a glimpse into the history of quarrying marble, from open-air trenches to massive modern tunnels.
As the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, it's fitting that Genoa (Genova) is home to the second-largest port in Europe. A popular stop for cruise liners, Genoa Cruise Port serves as a jumping-off point for shore excursions to Liguria's pretty coastal villages, as well as offers easy access to historic Genoa proper.
The Port of Savona—one of Italy's largest—is a modern cruise port located in Savona’s historic center. While there's little to do in Savona proper, the port serves as the ideal jumping-off point from which to explore the Italian Riviera’s coastal towns and Mediterranean beaches, including the nearby city of Genoa.
- Things to do in Genoa
- Things to do in Turin
- Things to do in Langhe-Roero and Monferrato
- Things to do in Lombardy
- Things to do in French Riviera
- Things to do in Emilia-Romagna
- Things to do in Milan
- Things to do in Monte-Carlo
- Things to do in Ferno
- Things to do in Parma
- Things to do in Tuscany
- Things to do in Swiss Alps
- Things to do in Rhône-Alpes
- Things to do in Provence
- Things to do in Lake Geneva