The best restaurants in Italy, including address and telephone numbers.
Hotel Information of Italy with description and contact details.
There are lots to do in Italy. Here you can find a detailed guide.
The best beaches of Liguria, Italy
By 500 BC, a number of peoples of different ethnicity and origin shared Italy. Small Greek colonies dotted the southern coast and the island of Sicily. Gauls, ancestors of today's modern French, roamed the mountainous north. While the Etruscans, a group originally hailing from somewhere in western Turkey, settled in central Italy, establishing a number of city-states, including what is now modern-day Bologna. Little is known about the Etruscans except that they thrived for a time, creating a civilization that would pass down a fondness for bold architecture (stone arches, paved streets, aqueducts, sewers) to its successor, Rome.
According to legend, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who claimed to be sons of the war god Mars and to have been raised as infants by a she-wolf. Romulus saw himself as a descendant of the defeated army of Troy, and wanted Rome to inherit the mantle of that ancient city, if not surpass it. When Remus laughed at the notion, Romulus killed his brother and declared himself the first king of Rome.
Rome went through seven kings until 509 BC when the last king was overthrown and the Roman Republic was formed. Rome then came to be ruled by two elected officials (known as consuls), a Senate made up of wealthy aristocrats (known as patricians), and a lower assembly that represented the common people (plebeians) and had limited power. This format of government worked well at first, but as Rome expanded beyond a mere city-state to take over territory not just in Italy, but overseas as well, the system of government came under severe strain.
By the First Century BC, Rome was in crisis. Spartacus, a slave, led the common people in a revolt against the rule of the aristocratic patricians. Rome was able to put down the rebellion, but at great cost, as the Republic dissolved into a series of military dictatorships that ended with the assassination of Julius Caesar.
In 29 BC, after a long power struggle, Julius Caesar's nephew, Octavius, seized power and declared himself Emperor Augustus. The Roman Empire was born. For the next two hundred years, Rome thrived, ruling over a vast territory stretching from Britain and the Atlantic coast of Europe in the north and west to North Africa and the Middle East in the south and east.
This Pax Romana, a time of peace, ended in 180 AD with the death of Marcus Aurelius. A combination of economic problems, barbarian invasions, domestic instability, and territorial rebellions, combined with a lack of strong leadership, resulted in the slow and gradual decline of Rome. In 380 AD, after three hundred years of persecution, Christianity became the one and only official religion. By the end of the Fourth Century AD, the Roman Empire split into two. The East, based out of the newly-built capital of Constantinople, in what is now Turkey, thrived, eventually becoming the long-lasting Byzantine Empire. Rome, capital of the West, continued to decline.
In 410 AD, Rome itself was sacked by barbarian hordes. The Eastern Empire invaded but failed to restore order and had to withdraw. The Roman Empire in the West completely collapsed by the end of the 5th AD century. For the next thousand years, Italy once again became apatchwork of city-states, with Rome, home to the Catholic Church, being the most powerful. This long period of quiet stagnation was known as the Dark Ages.
Prosperity did not return to Italy again until the 14th Century, when city-states such as Florence, Milan, Pisa, Genoa, and Venice became centers of trade. The influx of wealth and increased trade contact with foreign lands, transformed Italy into Europe's premier center of culture. Funded by wealthy patrons, figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, and Galileo, among others, revolutionized the fields of art, literature, politics, and science. Italian explorers, such as Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, introduced Italy and Europe to the rest of the world.
Italy remained a center of power until the 16th century, when trade routes shifted away from the Mediterranean and the Protestant Reformation resulted in the Catholic Church, which was based in Rome, losing influence over much of Northern Europe. Weakened, the various Italian city-states became vulnerable to conquest by Spain, France, and Austria. Italy remained a patchwork of principalities controlled through proxy by various European powers until the 19th century, when the French leader Napoleon supported the unification of Italy as a way of creating a buffer state against his many enemies. With the backing of France, Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi led a popular movement that took over much of Italy in 1861 and would be ending in 1870 with the fall of Rome and complete unification of the country.
Plagued by internal political divisions and with an economy devastated by war, the new Kingdom of Italy was no Roman Empire. In 1919, frustrated that Italy had received few gains despite having been a victor in the First World War, a politician named Benito Mussolini launched a movement that called for the restoration of Italy as a great power. In 1922, impatient with electoral politics, Mussolini led his supporters, known as Fascists, on a march on Rome to seize power directly through a coup. Spooked, the Italian king did not put up a fight and allowed Mussolini to become supreme ruler of Italy.
Mussolini spent the next twenty years consolidating power and building up the Italian economy, but he never gave up on the idea of restoring Italy as a great power. Calling himself "Il Duce" (meaning Leader), Mussolini dreamed of leading a new Roman Empire. In the 1930s, he indulged his dreams of conquest, by invading Ethiopia and Albania. When the Second World War broke out, Italy remained neutral at first. However, once it appeared through the Fall of France that Germany would win, Mussolini eagerly joined Hitler, a fellow Fascist and longtime ally, in the war effort and rushed to invade Greece, the Balkans, and North Africa. Overextended and unprepared for such a large-scale effort, Italy quickly found that it could not maintain its military position and had to ask Germany for help. Before long, Mussolini saw himself losing control of North Africa, the Mediterranean, and eventually his very own country to the Allies. Fleeing Rome, Mussolini tried to set up a puppet state in Northern Italy but failed. Abandoned by a disgusted Hitler, Il Duce and his mistress were captured and executed by Italian partisans.
In the 1930s Italy suffered from the worldwide depression. The Fascists responded by increasing public spending. New public buildings were erected. Roads and other public works were created. Nevertheless southern Italy remained very poor. Crime also remained rife although the south's problems were covered up by the Fascist regime. From 1925 Mussolini also campaigned to make Italy self sufficient in grain. The so-called battle of the grain did succeed in increasing grain production. However much Italian land was not well suited to growing wheat. It was better suited to growing other crops such as olives or grapes. Nevertheless some of it was used to grow wheat, which made no economic sense.
When the Second World War began in 1939 Italy stayed neutral. However in 1940 Germany overran Norway, Holland and Belgium and invaded France. Like a vulture Mussolini declared war on Britain and France on 10 June 1940, hoping to gain overseas territory from them. However when Italian forces attacked France the French army easily held them at bay.
However in May 1941 the British liberated Ethiopia from the Italians. Meanwhile in November 1940 the British utterly defeated the Italian navy at Taranto. Italy had proven to be a broken reed. The ordinary Italian soldiers were not interested in Mussolini's foolish dream of a 'new Roman Empire'. Worse from 1940 Italy suffered air raids. By 1943 60% of Italy's industrial production was destroyed by bombing.
Italy surrendered on 8 September 1943. On 9 September the allies landed at Salerno. The Germans then poured troops into Italy. On 11 September they captured Rome. They also kidnapped Mussolini and made him puppet ruler of northern and central Italy, which they called the Salo Republic.
The allies were in control of southern Italy but they advanced slowly. They captured the monastery of Monte Cassino in May 1944 and they entered Rome on 4 June 1944. Meanwhile the Germans retreated to the north. As well as the allied army the Germans were faced with a force of Italian partisans acting behind their lines. In 1945 the partisans liberated Milan, Turin and Genoa. They also captured Mussolini and shot him on 28 April 1945. The German army in north Italy surrendered on 2 May 1945.
The task of reconstruction then began. In May 1946 the king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel, abdicated in favor of his son. However on 2 June 1946 a referendum was held and the majority of Italians voted for a republic. On the same day elections were held for a constituent assembly to draw up a new constitution. It came into effect on 1 January 1948. The first president of Italy was Luigi Einaudi.
From 1949 to 1953 Italy was helped by Marshall Aid from the USA. Furthermore in the 1950s and early 1960s Italy experienced an 'economic miracle'. Italian industry boomed and living standards rose sharply. However there was still acute poverty in the south of Italy and many southern Italians migrated to the north in search of jobs. During the rest of the 1960s living standards continued to rise. Nevertheless at the end of the decade unrest began in Italy. In 1967-68 there were demonstrations and sit-ins in Italian universities. Then in 1968-69 labor unrest began in the north and there were many strikes.
However labor unrest in Italy declined in the early 1970s as wages grew rapidly and the government introduced some reforms. (In 1965 less than 50% of households had a TV. By 1975 the figure was 92%). Furthermore some reforms were introduced in Italy. In 1970 a new law allowed divorce. (The measure was approved by a referendum in 1974).
Unfortunately in the 1970s Italy suffered from terrorism both right and left wing. In 1978 left wing terrorists kidnapped and murdered the leader of the Christian Democrats, Aldo Moro. In 1980 a bomb planted by fascists killed 84 people in Bologna railway station. Fortunately in the early 1980s terrorism declined. In the early 1980s Italy, like the rest of the world, suffered a recession. However by 1983 it was over and the decade was one of prosperity for most (not all) Italians. Poverty persisted in the south.
Today the north of Italy is highly industrialized but the south is still relatively poor. Italy also has an important fishing industry. Wine is also an important export. However in recent years service industries such as tourism, education and finance have become the most important ones in Italy. Today the population of Italy is 61 million.
Given its long boot-like shape and varied geography, the weather in Italy varies considerably from north to south. In the alpine north of the country, cold, harsh winters with heavy snowfall are typical between December and March, while summers are sunny and fresh. Around the northern Italian lakes, however, a mild microclimate prevails, benefitting the olive groves and tropical gardens that surround the lake, most of which come into spectacular bloom between April and June.
In central Italy, beyond the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, the climate is milder and wetter with a less pronounced difference between summer and winter temperatures. Summer lingers longer and city centres, such as Florence, Siena and Rome can experience stifling humidity especially during July and August.
In the south, summers are far hotter and drier and temperatures more akin to those in North Africa prevail, often reaching above 30°C. Snow is rare and winter is especially mild, making the southern tip of the peninsula and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia ideal late season destinations..
Northern Italy is generally colder and wetter than the areas further south and visitors should always pack and plan accordingly.
The southern part of the Alps forms the major portion of Northern Italy. This is also the region where Italy borders with countries like Switzerland, France, Slovenia, and Austria. Though the northern parts of Italy experience cooler weather compared to their central and southern counterparts, Summer months generally tend to be warm and enjoyable. The sirocco wind that blows through these parts is instrumental in bringing humidity and warmth to the usually icy climes of the Italian Alps. If you are travelling to the North and looking for a swim in the sea, temperatures tend to be quite warm starting from the middle of May until October. Before mid-May, days may be warm and sunny, but waters have not heated up yet, meaning quite frigid temperatures and very uncomfortable swimming conditions.
The Italian Alps rise to more than 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet above sea level. The climate in this area is reminiscent of the Alpine regions in Austria and Switzerland, however, the amount of rain, snow and other forms of precipitation is much greater in the Italian Alps compared to other Alpine areas. The valleys and the lower slopes of the Alps tend to have warmer temperatures both in Winter and Summer months.
Summer months in the northern parts of Italy tend to be the rainiest in the country. Visitors are also likely to see thunderstorms during Spring, Summer and Autumn. The sunniest Summers and mildest Winters are usually found around the lakes, such as Garda, Comoand Maggiore. In the Summer, there is an average of nine hour of sunshine per day. If you are lucky, you will find a föhn wind running through the region during your visit. This type of wind, found in mountain ranges, reduces humidity and increases temperatures on the whole.
On the whole, the weather in the northern part of Italy compared to the areas further south is cooler with intermittent rain showers in the Spring and Summer months. During the Winter you'll snow, rain and even hailstorms. Summers are much warmer, but nowhere as hot as southern places like Sicily. For those looking for snow and wonderful skiing, the Winter climate of Northern Italy is absolutely perfect and not to be missed.
Sardinia boasts a beautifully warm Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and coastal temperatures averaging 28.5 degrees (83F) in July and August. A vacation in Sardinia is worthwhile at any time of the year. Its island climate is influenced by the western Mediterranean, creating hot, dry summers and short, mild winters. The first warm rays of sun announce spring in Sardinia already in March. An early summer begins in May with the arrival of the swimming season. From June through September, it is a summer paradise in Sardinia. The golden autumn begins in October with late summer warmth and the remaining warm water swims. In November winter slowly begins to appear in Sardinia, but only for a brief and mild Mediterranean season.
Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family, architecture, music and food. Home of the Roman Empire and a major center of the Renaissance, culture on the Italian peninsula has flourished for centuries. Here is a brief overview of Italian customs and traditions.
Population of Italy
About 96 percent of the population of Italy is Italian, though there are many other ethnicities that live in this country. North African Arab, Italo-Albanian, Albanian, German, Austrian and some other European groups fill out the remainder of the population. Bordering countries of France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north have influenced Italian culture, as have the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Sicily and Sardinia.
Languages of Italy
The official language of the country is Italian. About 93 percent of the Italian population speaks Italian as native language, according to the BBC. There are a number of dialects of the language spoken in the country, including Sardinian, Friulian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Ligurian, Piedmontese, Venetian and Calabrian. Milanese is also spoken in Milan. Other languages spoken by native Italians include Albanian, Bavarian, Catalan, Cimbrian, Corsican, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Slovenian and Walser.
Family life in Italy
"Family is an extremely important value within the Italian culture," Talia Wagner, a Los Angeles based marriage and family therapist, told Live Science. Their family solidarity is focused on extended family rather than the west's idea of "the nuclear family" of just a mom, dad and kids, Wagner explained.
Italians have frequent family gatherings and enjoy spending time with those in their family. "Children are reared to remain close to the family upon adulthood and incorporate their future family into the larger network," said Wagner.
Religion in Italy
The major religion in Italy is Roman Catholicism. This is not surprising, as Vatican City, located in the heart of Rome, is the hub of Roman Catholicism and where the Pope resides. Roman Catholics make up 90 percent of the population, though only one-third of those are practicing Catholics, while the other 10 percent is composed of Protestant, Jewish and a growing Muslim immigrant community, according to the University of Michigan.
- The primary religion in Italy is Roman Catholic.
- There are more Catholic churches per capita in Italy than in any other country.
- Although church attendance is relatively low, the influence of the church is still high.
- Many office buildings will have a cross or a religious statue in the lobby.
- Each day of the year has at least one patron saint associated with it.
- Children are named for a particular saint and celebrate their saint's day as if it were their own birthday.
- Each trade and profession has a patron saint.
- The church promulgates hierarchy, which can be seen in all Italian relationships.
- They respect and defer to those who are older, those who have achieved a level of business success, and those who come from well-connected families.
Art and architecture in Italy
Italy has given rise to a number of architectural styles, including classical Roman, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical. Italy is home to some of the most famous structures in the world, including Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The concept of a basilica — which was originally used to describe an open public court building and evolved to mean a Catholic pilgrimage site — was born in Italy. The word, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is derived from Latin and meant "royal palace." The word is also from the Greek basilikē, which is the feminine of basilikos which means "royal" or basileus, which means "king."
Florence, Venice and Rome are home to many museums, but art can be viewed in churches and public buildings. Most notable is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican, painted by Michelangelo sometime between 1508 and 1512.
Opera has its roots in Italy and many famous operas — including "Aida" and "La Traviata," both by Giuseppe Verdi, and "Pagliacci" by Ruggero Leoncavallo — were written in Italian and are still performed in the native language. More recently, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti made opera more accessible to the masses as part of the Three Tenors.
Italy is home to a number of world-renowned fashion houses, including Armani, Gucci, Benetton, Versace and Prada.
Italian literature rose to prominence with Dante Alighieri's masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. Literary Petrarch created the sonnet, and among the most famous philosophers in the world were Italian - Niccolo Machiavelli and Giambattista Vico. The most celebrated children's book in all of Italy is The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi in 1883, and stands as one of the most famous and beloved children's stories in the world.
Italy’s state holidays include New Years Day, Easter Monday, Labour Day (May 1) and Christmas Day and a list of others.
- Epiphany—January 6
- Liberation Day—April 25
- Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic—June 2
- Feast of the Assumption or Ferragosto—August 15
- All Saints—November 1
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception—December 8
- St. Stephens Day—December 26
It is also important to note that all towns, cities and villages in Italy celebrate the day of their patron saint. These dates vary from location to location. For example, Rome celebrates the Feast of St. Paul and St. Peter on June 29
With celebrations that adhere to national and religious events, Italy is a country full of celebrations. Here are some of its popular festivals:
The Venice Film Festival The oldest international film festival in the world, it is held in Libo Island in Venice and contested by the most prestigious filmmakers in the world.
Italy's Carnevale A pre-Lenten carnival found in many places of the country, the most famous one is found in Venice, with parades of people in elaborate costumes and masked balls are visited by tens of thousands of people each year.
Battle of the Oranges Every 3rd week of February in the northern city of Ivrea, willing participants are grouped into 9 teams that hurl oranges at each other. A fun and humorous tradition that's based on 2 historical events, it's the perfect example of Italians halting time to enjoy life.
- Amatrice in Rieti celebrate Amatriciana. The full name is "Sagra degli spaghetti all'Amatriciana". The 30th and 31st August. They celebrate their Amatriciana pasta - fried bacon and tomato sauce.
- Ariccia in Castelli Romani (just outside Rome) celebrate "Sagra della Porchetta" in the 1st week of September. There is a youth festival with music and good food (good prices).
- Montefiascone (Viterbo) has a BIG and widely praised wine festival, dedicated to a white wine called "Est, Est, Est!"
- A Cardinal named Johannes de Fuch was sent by King Henry V to mark the best cellars with the words "Est" - "IT IS!". Apparently the cardinal was so impressed with the wines from Montefiascone he marked "Est, Est, Est" on the taverns, what's more, after having done the wines thorough justice he was later buried in the graveyard of San Flaviano Montefiascone.
As with many European countries, football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Italy. Other sports such as rugby and volleyball are also enjoyed. In areas of Italy, where the Americans stayed during the Second World War, there is a strong, although small, following of the sport of baseball.
Music and Dance
In Italy, traditional music differs from region to region and is heavily influenced by its historical past. In the northern region of Italy, for example, music has strong Celtic influences, while the southern half of the country has hints of Greek and Arabic influences. Most traditional music is rich in religious meaning.
Sardinia is known for its distinctive polyphonic style of chanting. Similarly, the Sardinian ‘launeddas’ or triple pipe, a triple clarinet like woodwind instrument dating at least as far back as the 8th century, has a polyphonic sound and is played using circular breathing.
Sicily has a variety of associated styles of music with strong Christian influences. Traditionally, the music of Sicily is recognized for its devotional choir songs. The traditional instrument of Sicily is the flute.
Opera is a well-known form of music to come out of Italy beginning as early as the 16th century in Venice.
arantella dance is commonly practiced in most parts of Italy with regional differences. Tarantella is the name given to a group of folk dances characterized by quick music and movements. The dance is believed to have origins as a cure for spider venom. Tarantella can also be a courtship dance and it is considered unlucky to dance tarantella alone.
- Greetings are enthusiastic yet rather formal./p>
- The usual handshake with direct eye contact and a smile suffices between strangers.
- Once a relationship develops, air-kissing on both cheeks, starting with the left is often added as well as a pat on the back between men.
- Wait until invited to move to a first name basis.
- Italians are guided by first impressions, so it is important that you demonstrate propriety and respect when greeting people, especially when meeting them for the first time.
- Many Italians use calling cards in social situations. These are slightly larger than traditional business cards and include the person's name, address, title or academic honours, and their telephone number.
If you are staying in Italy for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to have calling cards made. Never give your business card in lieu of a calling card in a social situation.
- Appearances matter in Italy.
- The way you dress can indicate your social status, your family's background, and your education level.
- First impressions are lasting impressions in Italy.
- The concept of 'bella figura' or good image is important to Italians.
- They unconsciously assess another person's age and social standing in the first few seconds of meeting them, often before any words are exchanged.
- Clothes are important to Italians.
- They are extremely fashion conscious and judge people on their appearance.
- You will be judged on your clothes, shoes, accessories and the way you carry yourself.
- Bella figura is more than dressing well. It extends to the aura your project too - i.e. confidence, style, demeanour, etc.
Italy is the 3rd-largest national economy in the Euro Zone, the 8th-largest by nominal GDP in the world, and the 12th-largest by GDP (PPP). The country is a founding member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the OECD, the G7 and the G8. Italy is the eighth largest exporter in the world with $514 billion exported in 2015. Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. The largest trading partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.6%), France (11.1%), United States (6.8%), Switzerland (5.7%), United Kingdom (4.7%), and Spain (4.4%).
In the post-war period, Italy was transformed from an agricultural based economy which had been severely affected by the consequences of the World Wars, into one of the world's most industrialized nations, and a leading country in world trade and exports. According to the Human Development Index, the country enjoys a very high standard of living, and has the world's 8th highest quality of life according to The Economist. Italy owns the world's third-largest gold reserve, and is the third net contributor to the budget of the European Union. The country is also well known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, an industrious (Italy is the second largest manufacturer in Europe behindGermany) and competitive agricultural sector (Italy is the world's largest wine producer), and for its creative and high-quality automobile, naval, industrial, appliance and fashion design. Italy is the largest market for luxury goods in Europe (third in the world).
Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family owned.
Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 15% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy has moved slowly on implementing needed structural reforms, such as reducing graft, overhauling costly entitlement programs, and increasing employment opportunities for young workers, particularly women.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Italy was worth 1814.76 billion US dollars in 2015. The GDP value of Italy represents 2.93 percent of the world economy. GDP in Italy averaged 909.75 USD Billion from 1960 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 2390.73 USD Billion in 2008 and a record low of 40.39 USD Billion in 1960. GDP in Italy is reported by the World Bank Group.
According to the last national agricultural census, there were 1.6 million farms in 2010 (-32.4% since 2000) covering 12.7 million hectares (63% of which are located in Southern Italy). The vast majority (99%) are family-operated and small, averaging only 8 hectares in size. Of the total surface area in agricultural use (forestry excluded), grain fields take up 31%, olive tree orchards 8.2%, vineyards 5.4%, citrus orchards 3.8%, sugar beets 1.7%, and horticulture 2.4%. The remainder is primarily dedicated to pastures (25.9%) and feed grains (11.6%).The northern part of Italy produces primarily maize corn, rice, sugar beets, soybeans, meat, fruits and dairy products, while the South specializes in wheat andcitrus fruits. Livestock includes 6 million head of cattle, 8.6 million head of swine, 6.8 million head of sheep, and 0.9 million head of goats. The total annual production of the fishing industry in Italy from capture and aquaculture, includingcrustaceans and molluscs, stood at 480 tons.
Italy is the first largest producer of wine in the world, and one of the leading in olive oil, fruits (apples, olives, grapes, oranges, lemons, pears, apricots, hazelnuts, peaches,cherries, plums, strawberries and kiwifruits), and vegetables (especially artichokes and tomatoes). The most famous Italian wines are probably the Tuscan Chianti and thePiedmontese Barolo. Other famous wines are Barbaresco, Barbera d'Asti, Brunello di Montalcino, Frascati, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Morellino di Scansano, and the sparkling wines Franciacorta and Prosecco. Quality goods in which Italy specialises, particularly the already mentioned wines and regional cheeses, are often protected under the quality assurance labels DOC/DOP. This geographical indication certificate, which is attributed by the European Union, is considered important in order to avoid confusion with low-quality mass-produced ersatz products.
Italy has a smaller number of global multinational corporations than other economies of comparable size, but there is a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them grouped in clusters, which are the backbone of the Italian industry. This has produced a manufacturing sector often focused on the export of niche market and luxury products, that on one side is less capable of competing on quantity, but on the other side is more capable of facing the competition from emerging economies based on lower labor costs, with higher quality products. The industrial districtsare regionalized: in the Northwest there is a large modern group of industries, as in the so-called "Industrial Triangle" (Milan-Turin-Genoa), where there is an area of intense machinery, automotive, aerospace and naval production; in the Northeast and the Center, previously rural areas that experienced social and economic development around family-based firms, there are small enterprises of low technology but high craftsmanship, specialized in clothing, leather products,footwear, furniture, textiles, machine tools, spare parts, appliances, and jewellery; finally, in the less-developed South, the two forms exist side by side.
Energy and natural resources
In the early 1970s Italy was a major producer of pyrites (from the Tuscan Maremma), asbestos (from the Balangero mines), fluorite (found in Sicily), and salt. At the same time, it was in aluminum (from Gargano), sulfur (from Sicily), lead, and zinc (from Sardinia). By the beginning of the 1990s, however, it had lost all its world-ranking positions and was no longer self-sufficient in those resources. There are no substantial deposits of iron, coal, or oil. Moderate natural gas reserves, mainly in the Po Valley and offshore Adriatic Sea, have been discovered in recent years and constitute the country's most important mineral resource. Italy is one of the world's leading producers of pumice, pozzolana, and feldspar. Another mineral resource for which Italy is well-known is marble, especially the world-famous white Carrara marble from the Massa and Carrara quarries in Tuscany. Most raw materials needed for manufacturing and more than 80% of the country's energy sources are imported (99.7% of the solid fuels demand, 92.5% of oil, 91.2% of natural gas and 13% of electricity). Due to its reliance on imports, Italians pay approximately 45% more than the EU average for electricity.
Italy has managed four nuclear reactors until the 1980s, but in 1987, after the Chernobyl disaster, a large majority of Italians passed areferendum opting for phasing out nuclear power in Italy. The government responded by closing existing nuclear power plants and stopping work on projects underway, continuing to work to the nuclear energy program abroad. The national power company Eneloperates seven nuclear reactors in Spain (through Endesa) and four in Slovakia (through Slovenské elektrárne), and in 2005 made an agreement with Électricité de France for a nuclear reactor in France. With these agreements, Italy has managed to access nuclear power and direct involvement in design, construction, and operation of the plants without placing reactors on Italian territory.
In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's largest producers of renewable energy, ranking as the third largest producer in the European Union after Germany andSweden. The country is also the world's second largest producer of energy from solar power. Renewable sources account for the 27.5% of all electricity produced in Italy, with hydro alone reaching 12.6%, followed by solar at 5.7%, wind at 4.1%, bioenergy at 3.5%, and geothermal at 1.6%. The rest of the national demand is covered by fossil fuels (38.2% natural gas, 13% coal, 8.4% oil) and by imports.
The country's major companies by sector are: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, CNH Industrial, Ducati, Piaggio (motor vehicles);Pirelli (tyre manufacturing); Enel, Edison, A2A, Terna (energy); Eni (petrochemicals); Candy, Indesit, De'Longhi (home appliances); Leonardo-Finmeccanica that has absorbed its subsidiary companies Alenia Aermacchi, AgustaWestland and Oto Melara (defence); Avio, Telespazio (space); Beretta, Benelli (firearms); Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci,Benetton, Diesel, Prada, Luxottica, YOOX (fashion); Ferrero, Barilla, Autogrill, Perfetti Van Melle, Campari, Parmalat(food&beverages); Techint, Lucchini, Gruppo Riva, Danieli (steel); Prysmian, Salini Impregilo, Italcementi, Buzzi Unicem,Astaldi (construction); STMicroelectronics (electronics); Telecom Italia, Mediaset (communications); Assicurazioni Generali,Unipol (insurance); UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo (banking); Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini (luxury vehicles); Fincantieri,Ferretti, Azimut (shipbuilding).
Of the world's 500 largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in 2014, the Fortune Global 500, these are headquartered in Italy.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION IN ITALY
The basis of the current schooling system were laid in 1946, when Italy became a parliamentary republic. Since then, statal education has formed the real backbone of the didactic system in the country. Compulsory school, which last from 6 to 16, is tax exented, which means you do not need to pay any registration fee. From 16 to 18, a minimal registration fee of about 20 euro (around 23 USD) has to be paid. Children who were not born in Italy, receive free public education, even after the end of compulsory school and even if they are regular Italian residents.
Third level education in Italy, just like primary and secondary, is mostly public. There is a number of private universities, some of them, such as Università del Sacro Cuore and Università Bocconi, both in Milan, are renowned a bit everywhere in the world. Many public university are prestigious, too: Pisa, Pavia, Padova, Bologna are only some of the best known athenea in the country. In public universities, fees are usually divided in a fixed tax to be paid to the State and tuition fees due to the university. The latter are usually calculated on the basis of the student's (or his/her family, if dependent) income. Public universities fees are, however, usually never superior to 2500 euro per annum (around 2800 USD). Private universities may charge more, but never as much as an American University!
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY CYCLES OF EDUCATION
As said, compulsory school, which is fee exempted, starts at the age of 6 (with the possibility to be anticipated to 5 1/2) and lasts until the age of 16. The percentage of alphabetization in the country reaches the almost totality, at 99%. Schools in Italy are mainly public, although some private institutions exist.
Before entering the schooling system, children are usually introduced to non-compulsory nidi d'infanzia and sezioni primavera, the equivalent of crèches. These sections usually are for children of one to three years of age. They then enter the scuola dell'Infanzia, the rough equivalent of kindergarten. Here, children begin experiencing a more standardized schooling experience with classes, classmates and little learning sections with tasks. Often, they also eat at school and spend part of the afternoon there.
La Scuola Primaria (primary school)
Scuola primaria (formerly "elementare"), or primary school, begins at age six and continues for five years. Class sizes generally run about twenty five children per class with a minimum of ten students. Pluriclassi, or mixed-level classes, have between six and twelve students. Municipalities manage transportation and school meals, most often asking for contributions but making exceptions for needy families. The curriculum includes: Italian, English, Geography, History, Math, Science, Technology, Music, Art, Physical Education, Information Technology and Catholicism.
La Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado (middle school)
Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado was formerly known as scuola media. Pupils attend it until they turn fourteen years old. Formerly at age fourteen, compulsory education was considered complete. Now this limit has been raised to sixteen. While the schooling is free, books must be purchased at the secondary level. Class size is about 21 students per class. The curriculum includes: religion, Italian, English, an alternate foreign language, history, geography, science, math, technology, information technology, art, music and physical education.
At the end of the three years of scuola secondaria di primo grado there is a State exam, similar to the one students will have to take at the end of high school.
La Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado (High School)
If up to scuola secondaria di primo grado the Italian educational system may seem very much the same as the American's, when it comes to high school, things change dramatically. Italy is known to be one of the few countries in the world where a distinct, well defined choice about a pupil's future professional career needs to be taken as early as 14. Italian high schools are of different types, depending on the main focus of their teachings. They must be chosen during the final year of scuola secondaria di primo grado and the pupil must attend it until his/her 16th year of age. Italian high schools can be divided as such:
1.LICEI: schools focusing on theoretical learning:
- Liceo Artistico:has branches in fine arts, design, photography, sculpture etc.
- Liceo Classico: focuses on classical languages, philosophy and literatures.
- Liceo Scientifico: focuses on biology, chemistry, physics and maths.
- Liceo Linguistico: focuses on foreign languages
- Liceo musicale e coreutico: has branches in music and dance.
- Liceo delle scienze umane: focusing on humanities and psychology
2. ISTITUTI TECNICI: schools focusing on technical skills:
- Istituto tecnico a indirizzo tecnologico: focuses on techical skills such as mechanics, logistics, electronics etc. (divided in branches)
- Istituto tecnico a indirizzo economico: focuses on administration, accounting, marketing or tourism.
3. ISTITUTI PROFESSIONALI: schools focusing on professional skills:
- Istituto professionale a indirizzo dei servizi: has branches in agriculture, health and social services, hospitality and gastronomy, commerce.
- Istituti professionale a indirizzo dell'industria e dell'artigianato:branches in industrial and artisanal production, techical assistence and maintenance.
In all high schools class sizes are between twenty five to twenty eight students. They, as mention above, do charge a minimal tuition for the years after their pupils turn 16. However, based on family income, some students may qualify for exemptions or assistance. Curriculum varies depending on the course of study chosen.
After completing the higher secondary school, students must pass another exam in order to receive their Diploma di Maturità. Once they have their diplomas, they either begin their careers in their professions or move on to the University.
UNIVERSITIES IN ITALY
Italy has 61 state universities and 15 private. Structurally, they all follow what is considered the now stardardized European model, with a primary course of three years to obtain a bachelor degree (diploma di laurea), a further two years to specialize with a Master's degree (laurea magistrale) and, finally, the possibility to obtain a PhD (dottorato di ricerca). This is valid for very much all faculties, except some which maintained a more independent structure, characterized by a single cycle of studies – longer – which equals, once achieved, a Master's degree. Among them, Medicine (6 years), Law (5 years), Architecture, Pharmaceutical sciences. Specialistic studies in fine arts and music acan be pursued in Accademie delle Belle Arti (Fine Arts Academies) and Conservatori (music schools).
This be said, the Italian menu is typically structured in much the same way all over Italy - with antipasto, primo, secondo, and dessert - but each region of Italy has its own regional food specialties.
There are many regional variations of cooking throughout Italy, but in general grain foods such as pasta, bread, rice, and polenta are mixed in a variety of interesting ways with vegetables, beans, fish, poultry, nuts, cheeses and meat.
Since ancient times, grains such as wheat have been a staple food throughout Italy. Indeed, wheat is one of the most revered foods in Italian cookery. It's used to make a variety of interesting breads including ciabatta, focaccia and crusty whole grain bread. Pasta, which is made from wheat and comes in dozens of different shapes, has also been a highly-prized food for centuries.
Other popular grain foods include rice such as arborio (which is a short-grain variety of rice popularly used in risottos) and cornmeal which is used to make polenta.
Vegetables and fruits
There's an old saying that good cooking begins in the market, and never is this more true than with authentic Italian cuisine which relies heavily on fresh produce.
The most commonly used vegetables include tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers (capsicum), eggplants (aubergine), cabbage, zucchini (courgettes), artichokes, fennel, mushrooms, celery, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and lettuce.
These vegetables are traditionally chopped and added to bakes, pasta dishes, risottos and pizza or turned into salads, soups, antipasti(appetizers) and side dishes.
Fruits, both fresh and dried, are eaten as snacks and desserts. Popular types of fruit include grapes, berries, citrus fruit such as oranges and lemons, figs, pears, cherries, apples and plums
Olives and Olive oil
Southern Italy shares a similar Mediterranean climate to Greece, Provence and Spain. This warm, sunny climate makes it ideal for olive growing.
Whole olives are used in cooking, but the most revered part of the olive is the nectar it produces. The first cold pressing of the best olives producesextra virgin olive oil. This golden-green, richly flavored oil is used in hot dishes, marinades, salad dressings or drizzled on fresh crusty bread.
Fish, shellfish, poultry and eggs
The coastline of Italy is dotted with fishing villages, and fish and shellfish are a traditional staple in most parts of the country.
Popular varieties of fish include tuna, anchovies, sardines, swordfish, cod, salmon, shrimp, crab, squid, clams and mussels. This fish and shellfish is traditionally added to stews, pasta dishes, bakes, risottos and pizzas, or simply served grilled, baked or lightly fried in olive oil with side dishes.
Poultry, especially chicken, is also eaten regularly. Eggs, which are a common ingredient in many Italian dishes such as frittata, are traditionally eaten regularly, but in modest amounts.
Meat has never featured prominently in Cucina Povera—the cuisine of poorer southern Italy. Instead it has typically been eaten on festive occasions or used in small amounts as a flavor and texture enhancer. In the northern parts of Italy meat has traditionally been eaten more frequently, but still in moderation.
Legumes and nuts
Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are a highly popular food throughout Italy. In the Tuscany region, for example, beans are so highly regarded that Tuscans are fondly known as the "bean eaters." Commonly eaten beans include chickpeas and cannellini beans. Green peas and green beans are also regularly used in Italian cookery, as are lentils, which are added to soups and stews.
Nuts such as pine nuts, walnuts and almonds are used in cooking or eaten as snacks. One of Italy's most famous sauces, pesto—which originates from the seaport of Genoa —is a mixture of pine nuts, garlic, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. (There are also other variations of pesto such as Sun-dried tomato and walnut pesto.)
Cheese is traditionally eaten regularly, but in moderation, throughout Italy. Some of the most popular types of cheese include Parmesan (the most highly regarded type being Parmigiano Reggiano), mozzarella (classically made from the milk of a water buffalo, but available in a cow's milk variety), Romano, gorgonzola and ricotta.
Cheese is used in bakes or to top pizza, sprinkled over pasta dishes, mixed through risottos, tossed in salads or eaten with fruit as a dessert.
Herbs and seasonings
Letting the flavor of fresh ingredients shine through is a fundamental part of Italian cookery, so elaborate spices don't feature prominently. Instead fresh or dried herbs such as basil, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary and oreganoare used simply to highlight the flavors of the food. Other important seasonings include salt, freshly cracked pepper, vinegar (such asbalsamic vinegar) and foods that impart a rich flavor such as anchovies, garlic, capers, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
Lemon juice and wine are also common flavor enhancers, and fruity extra-virgin olive oil adds flavor and texture when a little is stirred through dishes likes stews, soups or pasta sauces at the end of cooking.
Beverages and desserts
Wine has been the most popular alcoholic beverage since ancient times. It's customary in Italy to consume wine with meals, and in moderation. Strong coffee is the most popular non-alcoholic beverage.
Traditionally, elaborate desserts have been reserved for special occasions. Fresh and dried fruit, or a little cheese, are the typical dessert.
Short Stay Schengen Visa
The short-stay visa is the most common Schengen visa. It entitles travellers, subject to the visa requirement, to enter the territories of the 26 Schengen States to pay a continuous visit or several visits (depending on the number of entries granted by the consulate), the duration of which does not exceed three months (90 days) in any half-year from the date of first entry in the Schengen area. The short-stay visa is issued for one or several entries its period of validity shall not exceed five years.
If you plan to go to Italy on a short stay visa for a period not to exceed 90 days and your country is not on the visa-free list, you need a Schengen travel visa (Visa C). This visa is not a work permit.
Please note that in order to apply for a travel visa at the Embassy of Italy, your only destination or your main destination (longest duration of stay) must be Italy. In the absence of a main destination (e.g. same duration of stay in two or more countries) you should apply at the country of first entry because your passport will show the entry stamp of your first destination only.
When to apply?
You can apply for a visa minimum 15 days or maximum 3 months before your intended date of travel. Applicants are strongly advised not to confirm their travel arrangements until they have received their visa.
A Schengen visa has to be obtained from the Embassy/Consulate of the country where the main purpose of travel lies. Therefore, please check your travel plans before making your application. In case of travel to multiple Schengen countries, please make your application to the Consulate where you will be staying for the maximum number of days, and from the Point of First Entry into the Schengen Countries, if the duration of stay is the same in more than one Schengen Country.
Schengen visa is valid for: Austria, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Switzelrand, Belgium, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Italy, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lichtenstein, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Slovakia, Malta.
Long Term Visas-"D" Type
Note: “D”Type Visa (Long Term Applications) shall be submitted by applicants only and other persons accompanying applicant will not be allowed entering the Italy Visa Application centre in New Delhi, Jalandhar, Jaipur and Chandigarh.
Residence Permits in Italy: Permesso di Soggiorno, Registration and EC Residence Permits
The legal requirements for visiting or staying in Italy depend on citizenship - European Union (EU) or non-European Union (EU) citizen - reason for entry into Italy, and intended duration of the stay.
EU-citizens do not require a visa to enter in Italy, regardless of the planned duration of the stay.
All non-EU citizens require a visa for a stay of longer than three months (90 days). The home country Italian Embassy can provide guidance on the type of visa required and the documents needed for the application. The visa must be inserted into the passport before leaving for Italy.
- The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio degli Affari Esteri) website gives information for all non-Italian citizens travelling to Italy for long or short term, on visa (visto) and documentation requirements (and the cost) appropriate to the purpose of the stay
-Citizens of certain countries require a visa
Tourists and Residents
Under Italian law, every foreigner in Italy is considered to be either a tourist or a resident. As a rule, a tourist is a foreigner staying in Italy for less than three months. People coming on a business trip, students enrolled in short courses, people doing research on their own, for example, are considered to be tourists, as long as the stay does not exceed three months.
All non-residents from non-Schengen countries (including Canada and the United States) are required to report their presence to the airport’s border authorities on the day of arrival. A Schengen stamp, the equivalent of a Declaration of Presence (Dichiarazione di Presenza), should be issued on travel documents. It is important to keep a copy of the stamped receipt issued by the Italian authorities.
Tourists arriving from a Schengen country can request the a Declaration of Presence form (Dichiarazione di Presenza) from a local police station (commissariato di zona or questura) and submit it to the police within eight business days of arrival. For tourists staying in hotels, the Declaration of Presence will be supplied and submitted to the authorities by the reception staff on check-in. Request a copy which can be shown to a police officer if requested. Failure to submit a Declaration of Presence within eight days is punishable by expulsion from Italy.
- A PDF version of the Declaration of Presence form for EU Nationals
- Additional information can be found (in Italian only) at the Italian Immigration website
More information can be found at the Italian State Police website
A resident is anyone who plans to stay in Italy for more than three months. Foreigners working in Italy, seasonal workers, students enrolled in full-time education for a full academic year, or those who wish to live in Italy are considered to be residents. Residents require a permit or certificate of registration.
- Permesso di Soggiorno (permit to stay): required by non-EU citizens, has an expiry date, is renewable, and is issued (with varying durations of validity) for the first five years of residence in Italy
- Permesso di Soggiorno per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo, S.L.P (EC Long-Term Residence Permit): issued for an indefinite period to people who have had a residence permit for more than five years in Italy, and that have a minimum income (equivalent to the amount of social security benefit)
- Certificato di residenza (certificate of registration): issued by the Anagrafe office of the local town hall, to EU citizens who intend to stay more than three months in the country
The Italian Immigration authority (Portale Immigrazione) provides comprehensive information in Italian for EU and non-EU citizens and their family members. (Note that the English version of this website may not be up to date).
- Portale Immigrazione
-Call Centre Tel: 848 855 888 (for general information) Open: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 20:00 (some information available in English)
The Polizia di Stato website has detailed information about all cases of immigration.
- Polizia di Stato
- The Immigration Guidebook of the Ministry of the Interior, "Staying in Italy legally" has comprehensive information in English for people in all situations
The Italian work permit scheme is administered regionally, so implementation differs significantly depending on the exact destination within Italy.
Italian work permits must be sponsored by an Italian company. They cannot be applied for directly by a potential employee or by an agency.
Processing times vary between regions, but the average is about two months.
Instead of a work permit, expats will have to apply for a residence permit that will enable them to legally live and work in Italy.
Citizens of the European Union (EU) don’t need a work permit to legally work in Italy since they have a right to work in EU member states. These expats simply apply for an Italian residence card after arriving in the country.
Expats from outside the EU will, however, have to apply for a working residence permit for Italy.
Before this can happen, the expat’s Italian employer must first apply for clearance (nulla osta al lavoro) at the one-stop immigration centre in their county.
Every Italian province has an office that the government describes a one-stop shop for immigration (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione). These offices are responsible for the entire process of hiring foreign workers in Italy.
While the expat applicant will be required to submit certain documents, the employer takes responsibility for much of the application. Expats must have signed an employment contract with their employer before applying for a work permit, since it has to be submitted to the company’s local provincial immigration office as part of their application to hire a foreigner.
After the employer receives clearance to hire a foreign worker, the expat employee can apply for an Italian work visa at their local Italian diplomatic mission.
After the employee is cleared to work in Italy, the expat will be issued an entry visa at their local Italian consulate, which contains a tax code that is necessary for other bureaucratic processes.
Working residence permits for Italy
Foreigners who intend to stay in Italy for more than three months must apply for a residence permit. These permits allow foreigners to stay in Italy, under certain conditions depending on the category.
Regardless of whether expats apply for a permit before or after they have arrived (depending on their nationality), they will have to report to their local immigration centre within eight days of arriving in Italy. This can also be done at a post office in some provinces.
The residence permit is issued at the new arrival’s local police station. This requires filling out an application form specifying the type of permit required, proof of identification, fingerprints and photos. Different types of permits may have different requirements. The residence permit is an electronic smart card to guard against fraud.
In order to get a residence permit expats will have to submit a variety of documents including application forms, a passport and photocopies, passport photos and an application fee. Expats should liaise with their Italian employer to find out when and how this should be done.
The receipt an applicant receives while waiting for their residence card affords them the same rights as the permit they are applying for.
The duration of a working residence permit for Italy is valid for as long as the applicant’s entry visa. Residence permit holders have access to government services and benefits.
Work permit validity
Expats with a permit that is valid for a year or more are required to report to the Italian Ministry of Interior (Ministero Dell’Interno) where they will enter into an agreement to fulfil certain integration objectives such as attending Italian language classes.
A working residence permit for seasonal work is valid for six months and can be extended by an extra three months. Permits for self-employment, employment at a local employer and family joining visas are valid for up to two years.
Expats who are waiting for their working residence permit to be issued don’t have to sign the agreement until they have received their residence card. They are also temporarily allowed to work unless Italian authorities issue a letter to the applicant and their employer stating otherwise.
Work permits for Italy are, however, position specific and any change to the employee’s position has to be reported to immigration. If an expat loses their job in Italy their residence permit will not automatically be revoked. Instead it is possible to register as being unemployed and stay for as long the permit allows.
Work permits for skilled workers in Italy
Highly skilled or qualified expats often have specific requirements to fulfil. This includes executives or specialised staff belonging to large companies with an Italian headquarters , academics, translators, professional sportspeople, artists, and expats working in theatre or opera. Under most circumstances these expats will receive their documentation before entering Italy.
*Visa and work permit requirements are subject to change at short notice and expats should consult their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
Italy ranks among the World Health Organization’s top 10 countries for quality health services (by contrast, the U.S. only holds 37th place, despite being the highest spender).
Expats will find a public sector that generally offers high standards of healthcare. There can, however, be discrepancies in the quality of care in different regions of the country. Private healthcare in Italy is highly regarded, but can be prohibitively expensive without the proper insurance. Most Italians make use of public healthcare but those that can afford it try and get the best of both systems.In Italy, public hospitals are generally categorised under the term ospedali, while private hospitals are known as ospedali privato.
Public healthcare in Italy
In short, patients who make social security contributions may have to make copayments, but most of a medical bill is paid by the government.
Although the SSN is a socialised system, regional governments are in charge of managing it on a provincial level, meaning that there are differences between regions. For instance, public hospitals in Italy’s northern and central regions are known to offer higher standards of care than those in the south. As a result, expats may prefer to be treated in a major city such as Milan in emergency cases.
How to apply for Italian health insurance
Expats who are EU nationals can take advantage of reciprocal health agreements which makes access to public healthcare in Italy easy.
Non-EU expats will, however, need to formally register for the SSN. Expats who have their residence status finalised and have an Italian identity card (carta d’identità) are then able to apply for an Italian health insurance card (tessera sanitaria).
In order to get a health card an expat would have to go to their nearest local health authority (Azienda Sanità Locale/ASL) which will require various documents. This usually includes the expat’s residence permit, official identification and proof of employment, among others.
Expats wanting to claim benefits for their families will require a family status certificate (certificato di stato di famiglia).
After registering, applicants have to choose a family doctor and a paediatrician, if applicable. They are then issued with their health card, which must be presented in order to receive care under the SSN. These cards must be renewed every year.
Private healthcare in Italy
Although public healthcare in Italy is free, most foreigners still opt to utilise private healthcare.
Private healthcare in Italy is championed by doctors that are well trained and on par with the finest in the world. There are a number of impressive specialist facilities in the large urban centres, and university hospitals are also highly reputable.
Private procedures vary in cost, and the Ministry of Health sets a minimum charge for all operations in this sector.
For this reason, private healthcare can be expensive and health insurance is a must. In many cases, employers are obliged to finance health insurance for their employees but, if not, it is vital that expats organise it themselves.
Private healthcare allows expats to avoid the queues and complications of the public system, and also makes provision for more comforts and personal choice when it comes to doctors and facilities.
Getting the right health insurance
If you are employed in Italy, your employer is obliged to pay for your health insurance. You can pay a visit to the nearest local health authority, the Azienda SanitELocale (ASL), and then register with your doctor. Once you are registered, a health card and a health number will then be issued. This will serve as your ticket for free visits to your doctor. In turn, your doctor will then issue you with the proper prescriptions, along with any necessary referrals.
On the other hand, if you are a European Union citizen that is paying a visit to Italy, take advantage of the reciprocal healthcare agreements. Before you arrive, you are required to apply for form E111, (the certificate of entitlement to treatment), at least three weeks prior to travelling. However, if you are visiting Italy and you are not a European Union citizen, you are required to have private insurance cover. Upon arrival, you have eight days to visit the local police station and present a health policy that is only valid within the duration of your stay.
Drugs and medical products
If you are in need of prescription medicines and other drugs, your family doctor will issue you a prescription that you can present to the pharmacy. Most pharmacies in Italy are small, family-run establishments and they only deal with medically related items. However, if you have state health cover, you will qualify for subsidized rates that reduce the cost of your medicines; otherwise you are required to pay in full. If you are taking a prescription drug on a regular basis, it may be worthwhile to find out the medicines’ generic name as brands normally vary from one country to another.
Italy has an area of over 300,000 square kilometres. It is approximately 1,130 kilometres long and has approximately 7,600 kilometres of coastline. Over a third of the total area is mountainous, over 700 metres high, and the Alpine ranges in the north and the Appenines range down the centre can make travelling round the country somewhat challenging.
When Italy was a destination on 'The Grand Tour', intrepid visitors struggled around the country by boat, foot and donkey, encountering a multitude of perils on the way. However, modern-day transport facilities in Italy are mostly well developed and armed with the correct information, visitors should be able to reach their destinations in relative comfort.
There are 3,408 km of motorways in Italy, used by 4 million motorists. They are mostly well maintained, fast and fairly free of traffic. They operate on a toll system. As you enter a stretch of motorway, you will pass through an 'Alt Stazione' where you take a ticket from an automatic machine. When you exit that part of the motorway system you will pass through another 'Alt Stazione' where you present your ticket and pay the toll charge. Payment can be made automatically with cash or credit card, or at a manned kiosk. It is possible to buy a 'Telepass' which allows you to pass through the 'Alt Stazione' without stopping. The Automobile Club Italiano (ACI) is the Italian breakdown organisation equivalent to the AA in Britiain. If you breakdown anywhere in Italy, dialling 116 will put you through to the nearest ACI centre. On the motorways, there are emergency telephones every 2 kilometres.
Italian motorway information - http://www.autostrade.it/en/home
In Italy there is a very efficient inter-city bus service. The buses are modern, comfortable, fast and well equipped. They also provide a very economical way of traveling around the country.
Italian bus timetable - http://www.ibus.it
There are three types of train in Italy. The Eurostar is the premium grade. It is fast, comfortable and good value for money. Getting around Italy, italian transport, trains in italy, eurostar, intercity trains, regional trains, buses, ferries, italian motorways, toll charges, coach travel in italy, italian car hire The Intercity trains are less modern but still relatively fast and efficient. The Regional trains tend to be the oldest, the slowest and the least comfortable, especially in the south. However, they do amble around the countryside, stopping at all the most inaccessible places, so they too have a role to play. The rail fares in Italy are generally very reasonable.
Italian train timetable - http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
There are a lot of islands off the coast of Italy, including the major ones of Sardinia and Sicily, so naturally there are a lot of ferries traveling backwards and forwards. The major ferry terminals are: Genoa, Civitavecchia, Napes, Palermo. Ancona, Bari and Brindisi. There are other, smaller ones at Livorno, Piombino, Catania, Porto Torres, Portoferraio, Salerno, Savona and Venezia. See our ferry timetable for details.
Italian ferry information - http://www.traghettiweb.it/en/tw_index.php
Italy airports are frequented by tourists from all over the world to see its beauty and experience its peculiar roman culture. Italy has a dozen of airports making journey comfortable and convenient for tourists from all over the world.
Some of the famous Italy airports are:
Rome's Leonardo da Vinci International Airport
This famous and premier airport in Italy is situated towards the south west of Rome da Vinci. It accommodates flight from many parts of the world and has three flight terminals where it receives domestic flights, international flights and domestic and international flights respectively.
Florence-Amerigo Vespucci Airport
This Florence airport is situated at a fair distance from the central part of the city to its northwest direction. Every year it receives almost 1.5 million passengers moving to or from important cities of Italy, and other parts of Europe as well as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Madrid.
Venice - Marco Polo Airport
This Venice airport is situated at a considerable distance north of Venice. Annually it receives almost 4 million passengers from all over the world. It accommodates flights to or from UK, Germany, Northern Europe, Spain, France and the US. The Venice Airport received the honor of Friendliest Airport Staff in the 2005 World Airport Awards and, of Overall Excellence in southern Europe.
Milan - Malpensa International Airport
This Italy airport located at reasonable distance from the city of Milan receives flights to northern Italy from the US and the whole of Europe. There are two terminals in this airport which are connected by shuttle bus services. The Milan Malpensa International Airport also accommodates the extra traffic of flights from Milan Linate International Airport.
Trieste - International Airport
This airport in Italy is situated to the north east of Italy has a single flight terminal and receives both domestic and international flights. Every year this airport receives a million of passengers as it is the most frequented airport of Italy. It connects Venice, Slovenia and Croatia.
Palermo - International Airport
This Italy airport located on the northern coast of the southern island of Sicily has a single modern terminal with all mod cons. It facilitates both international and domestic flights and is the main centre for all the flights to the island.
Rent a car
For the best deal on long-term rentals, book in advance from home. If you decide to rent a car while in Europe, try calling around to local car-rental agencies, or book through a local travel agency. When renting a car, you’ll need to make a few decisions, including whom to rent from, what kind of car to get, and where to pick it up and drop it off.
When shopping around, don’t stop at just comparing initial price quotes. You’ll want to determine which company’s offer involves the best combination of rates (including all fees and any extras you want), service, and pickup/drop-off locations (with workable office hours) for your trip. Even with the wealth of information that’s available online, you may find that it’s easier to make a phone call to get all your questions answered. It’s generally an advantage to go with a larger company, with a wider choice of pickup and drop-off locations.
It’s also worth considering renting through a consolidator, such as Auto Europe orEurope by Car. These companies compare rates among various companies (including many of the big-name firms), find the best deal, and — because they’re wholesalers — pass the savings on to you. You pay the consolidator, and they issue you a voucher to pick up your car in Europe.
With a consolidator as a middleman, it’s especially important to ask ahead of time about add-on fees and restrictions, since you might not learn this critical information until you pick up the car. If any dispute arises when you show up at the rental desk, call the consolidator to try to resolve the issue — ask to use the rental office’s phone (the consolidator’s number is toll-free from any land line). Once you sign off on something with the vendor, it’s difficult for the consolidator (or anyone else) to reverse what you’ve agreed to. If you have a problem with the rental agency, the consolidator may not be able to intervene to your satisfaction, but at least you’ll have gotten some help in resolving the problem.
No matter whom you rent through, be sure to hang onto all your paperwork (including the checklist used by the company to check the car’s condition when you turn it in) for a few months after the rental period, in case a billing dispute arises.
Choosing a Car
Expect some differences between your typical American rental car and what you’ll likely get in Europe, where midrange cars have less passenger room, vast trunk space is unheard of, and manual transmissions are the norm. Automatics are more expensive (usually about 50 percent more) and may only be available if you upgrade to a bigger, pricier car. (Some Americans find automatics worthwhile in Great Britain and Ireland, where it can be enough of a challenge just to learn to drive on the left.) Since supplies are limited, if you must have an automatic, you’ll need to arrange it farther in advance than a manual-transmission car. Ideally, skip the automatic and brush up on your shifting skills. It’s worth doing some lurching through your hometown parking lot to save the expense (or to be prepared in case your reserved automatic doesn’t materialize).
When checking out options for budget rentals, you’ll see some familiar makes (Ford, VW) — though not always familiar models of these — as well as some less familiar ones, most commonly Opel, Fiat, Citroën, Peugeot, Renault, Škoda, and Seat (“SAY-aht”). Don’t waste time carefully choosing among models, since you’re not guaranteed to get the exact car you signed up for, just a “similar” model.
I normally rent the smallest, least-expensive model with a stick shift — not just to save money, but because larger cars are not as maneuverable on Europe’s narrow, winding roads. If you’re traveling with more than one other person, it can be worth it to move up to a larger class of car. But if you pack light and have only one other person in tow, the smallest models should have plenty of room, even if it’s a little less than what you’re used to.
Choosing a Pick-Up (and Drop-Off) Place and Time
It’s best and less stressful to begin your driving experience away from big cities, so try picking up your car away from major destinations. A pleasant scenario for a trip to England would be to start out (sans car) in the smaller city of Bath, rent a car when leaving Bath, explore Britain at your driving leisure, then drop off the car in York and take the train into London, where you can rely on the excellent public transportation system. That way you’d enjoy the three major city stops on your England itinerary — where the last thing you’d want is a car — without paying for one.
That said, beware the possible inconveniences of picking up your car in a truly small town — a tiny regional office almost certainly has a smaller fleet on hand, and the staff may be less equipped to handle the concerns of foreign renters. Don’t plan to pick up or drop off your car in a small town on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday — or anywhere on a holiday, when offices are likely to be closed (except for train-station and airport locations).
Picking up a car at an airport usually costs more than picking it up downtown. If you don’t need a car immediately after your flight, look into a cheaper rental with a downtown pickup price. But airport pickup may still be worth it; many central car-rental locations have shorter hours (and may close at midday) or are buried in a maze of narrow streets. Also consider traffic — it may be easier to drive away from an airport than a parking garage in the heart of the city. Before choosing a rental location, find it on a map. You may find that a train-station office is handier than a downtown one (though some station pickups come with airport-like fees). Fortunately, airport/train-station fees apply only to your pickup location, not your drop off.
European cars are rented in 24-hour periods, so think carefully about selecting your pickup and drop-off times — if you pick up the car at 10 a.m. on the first day and drop it off at noon on the last day, you’ll be charged a whole day’s rental for just those two hours. Don’t book your pickup time for earlier than you really need the car. If you can, book a drop-off time that falls within that location’s office hours (rather than just leaving the keys in an after-hours drop box); it’s best to finalize and receive your paperwork in person.
Sometimes it can make a lot of sense to start and end your car rental in different cities. One-way rentals are usually free within the same country (Germany and Portugal are the main exceptions), but dropping off in another country will likely cost you a hefty extra fee. Expect fees of $100–300, but beware that this cost can top $1,000, especially if the start and end points are quite far apart, or if the drop-off point is an out-of-the-way location. Certain places seem to be especially expensive for one-way cross-border trips no matter what (Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, and far eastern Europe). The extra cost of a one-way rental can still be worth it if it saves you a very long drive back to your first country. But if the last leg of your trip isn’t too far from the border of the country you started in, a small tweak to your rental plans can save you plenty. Let’s say you’re renting a car in France for a trip that ends in Barcelona. By simply dropping the car off within France (as close to the border as possible) and hopping a train to Barcelona (roughly $25 per person), you could save hundreds in drop-off fees.
When booking, also ask about your options (and the costs involved) in case you change your plans en route and want to drop off your car at an office in another city or on a different date.
More Tips for Renting a Car
Get quotes for weekly rentals. Typically, the longer you rent, the less it’ll cost per day. You may find that renting for a full seven days costs the same as, or even less than, five or six days.
Double-check currency conversions when comparing prices. Some foreign-based rental-company sites use fudged conversion rates that make the price in dollars look cheaper than the price that’ll actually show up on your credit-card bill. Convert prices yourself on a conversion site such as Oanda.
Pay upfront. It’s almost always smarter to prepay for a rental car when you book, rather than at the agency counter in Europe. Not only are you likely to get a discount, but, assuming that your quote was in dollars, you’ll know you’re paying the exact amount you were quoted. You’ll also avoid getting dinged with an overseas transaction fee on your credit card. If you’re purchasing a collision damage waiver from the rental company, that’ll likely also be cheaper when paid upfront. But beware cancellation fees: Don’t pay until your itinerary is firm, and be clear on the company’s cancellation policy.
Read the fine print. To minimize the chance of being blindsided when you show up at the rental counter, carefully read your entire reservation voucher before you leave home. Even if you booked the rental over the phone, the agent may well have skipped over certain details. Many travelers end up overpaying (or at least worrying they might be overpaying) if they’re jetlagged or too eager to hit the road to sort through the details. By asking about fees in advance (and taking along a hard copy of your reservation voucher), you can avoid unpleasant surprises.
Driving in Italy
ZTL (Limited Traffic Zones)
The historic centres of many cities, towns and villages throughout Italy have ZTLs. These limited zones have been put in place in order to reduce congestion and pollution making the centres more pleasant for residents and visitors alike. The zones in each place will have its own regulations; some zones are restricted to certain hours, some to residents only, some to cars with certain permits. These conditions will be set out underneath the road sign which marks the entrance to the zone. Although the sign is an international driving sign, it is one that some countries do not use, so it is essential that you familiarise yourself with this sign, before you travel to Italy.
Pay careful attention to speed restrictions. Again, there are cameras on some roads and motorways and again, if you are caught speeding a fine of over 100 Euros will eventually find you. It is worth it to get a GPS as it will warn you before you come upon a camera. Listen for the beeps and make sure your GPS is up to date.
There are signs warning of the cameras and the cameras themselves are housed in large grey boxes by the sides of the road. On major motorways there is system they call "tutor" which identifies you at a certain point on overhead cameras and then monitors your progress through a number of similar points. The system works out your average speed and if it decides that you couldn't have gone that distance without breaking the speed limit, then you can expect a fine in the post.
Of course, you could also be stopped and ticketed by a police officer. The police also have the authority to make an on the spot fine.
Generally speaking, the speed limits are 50km/h in built-up areas, 90km/h on ordinary roads, 110km/h on dual carriages and 130km/h on motorways. In wet weather the limit is reduced to 90km/h on dual carriageways and 110km/h on motorways.
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, European, Soups, Seafood
Cerveceria ESTIU Bar
Reveiw: Five stars all the way. Top notch products used to create beautiful looking dishes that taste heavenly. You can trust chef Maurizio Pinto will give the meal of your life. Great staff as well who are very helpful and make the whole experience very comfortable. A class act.
From the outside you wouldn't recognize this place, and there is a bell you have to ring in order to get in. Inside it is a tiny place with about 10 tables. In shorts words, friendly, delicious, not too expensive, an absolute recommendation if someone visits Genova!
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Address: Via Assarotti 60r | Corner Via Peschiera, 16122, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 831 2046
Bella Vida Ristorante Brasiliano sul mare
Cuisine: Italian, Brazilian, South American, Steakhouse
Reveiw: Bella Vida Brazilian Restaurant invites you to taste the dishes Brazilians, we serve at the table various hot and cold appetizers, the meat is also cut and served directly at the table with the typical churrasco cooking using swords, cuts of meat are selected and you can find cooking Churrasco, the good quality as very valuable, supported by a cellar with a wide selection of Italian and international labels, to follow Desserts prepared by hand, typical Brazilians and Italians ... You will be impressed by the quality '... We wait ...
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Large groups, Bar scene, Families with children, Business meetings
Address: Corso Italia 32R, 16145, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 329 536 3750
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, European
Reveiw: I have visited Ostaietta with my family on our trip around northern Italy. We were served selected degustation menu by the chef including different pastas for first course and seafood mix for the second. We decided to leave dessert as the previous dishes were quite big and we would be not able to fit the desserts. All the food was very tasty and gave us the feeling of Italian home cuisine. Also the staff was very friendly. Last but not least the price of the meal was very good comparing with the restaurants in nearby that we visited during our trip that sometimes were disappointing compared to offered value. I highly recommend this place for the great experience of local cuisine for its' great foods and hospitality of the people running that restaurant.
Good for: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, European
Address: Via Canevari 280R, 16137, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 345 982 9289
Locanda degli Adorno
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood
Review: My colleague and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch here. My Italian is not good but the staff and other patrons were so helpful. There was no set menu, maybe 10 choices of the day. I had trouble understanding the menu so the waitress showed me plates of other patrons. They all knew each other and were glad to help me decide. We choose the tuna and the octopus - both were absolutely delicious. If you're looking for a typical restaurant with great food, great staff at reasonable prices, come here. I've had several good meals here in Genoa, but this was the best. Also, we were given Lemoncello to finish off the meal. We felt like family and highly recommend this restaurant and staff.
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Families with children, Dining on a budget
Address: Vico degli Adorno 50r, 16134, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 256695
Ristorante San Giorgio
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, Soups
Review: The restaurant San Giorgio is just a few hundred meters from the center of Genoa Trade Fair. Easily accessible from the city center in just 5 minutes Our chefs offer dishes of Liguria, fish and meat. The wine list has over 500 labels. All major credit cards are accepted. It is advised to book. Air-conditioned rooms. Animals allowed. Open 7 days on 7 lunch and dinner. Wi-Fi free
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children, Special occasions, Romantic, Local cuisine
Address: Via Alessandro Rimassa 150 rosso | Per navigatore satellitare inserire Nr.civico 72, 16129, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 595 5205
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, Soups
Review:The place is out of town, on a small hill. When you get inside, it's like a crowded cantine that lots of senior people and working colleagues dining there. We went there a laboral Thursday on the way to Florence. The tagliatelle with funghi pocini was the best pasta I tried so far. The same as the seafood noodles I had "tagliatelle frutti di mare". The white wine was fine "Rosadimaggio". I didn't expect such high quality of food in a place like that with a very reasonable price.
Good for: Special occasions, Large groups, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Families with children
Address: Via Cremeno 31a, 16162, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 7170001
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Review: We recently ate at Locanda Spinola. Food was excellent. Was a mix of locals and tourists but very much catering to locals with an Italian only menu. The waiter was helpful in translating. All the food was very tasty and innovative while still traditional. Would definitely recommend.
Restaurant features: Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Serves Alcohol
Good for: Special occasions, Families with children, Local cuisine
Address: Vico della Scienza, 17/R | Centro Storico Di Fronte Alla Galleria Nazionale Di Palazzo Spinola, 16123, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 0104077266
Cuisine: Italian, Steakhouse, Pizza, European, Spanish
Review: Patanegra is a relatively new restaurant outside the town centre, in the Val Bisagno, however despite the location off the usual tourist track it is really worth a visit.
They specialise in Taglieri misti, mixed traditional boards with different types of salami, ham, and cheeses. Everything is extremely high quality and well presented and prepared in front of you by the knolegeable chef/owner Gianluca.
As a main we had a steak, focaccia al formaggio with truffle and pizza. Everything was cooked to perfection, compliments to the chef.
We also enjoyed a bottle of Sagrantino from Frescobaldi which was extremely pleasant and drinkable.
We finished the meal with 2 delicious desserts and a few glasses of limoncello.
The bill was 85 euro with a tip, I could not believe how cheap it was, extremely good value for money for the amount and quality of food served.
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings, Large groups, Local cuisine
Address: Via Molassana 132, 16138, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 455 0500
Indarsena Oyster Bar
Cuisine: Italian, Steakhouse, Pizza, European, Spanish
Review: Indarsena Oyster Bar is the only authentic "French style oyster bar" in Genoa, and one of the best in Italy. Gagge create a corner of Cote d'Azur on the dock of the Old Port. Importing directly from France every week 7-8 different kinds of oysters and various of shells, the restaurant offers real speciality for fans (also the famous Alaska King Crab !). But even those who don't appreciate coquillage, can taste steamed shellfish served cold with dips, or fish carpaccio, or soupe de poisson, or French cheeses and desserts provided by the best bakeries in Genoa.
Good for:Special occasions, Families with children, Local cuisine
Address: Calata Andalo Dinegro n.4 | Vecchia Darsena - Edificio Cembalo, 16126, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 347 713 9020
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Italian, Gluten Free, Seafood
Review: Acciughetta is a "funky" trattoria devoted to the small blue fish also called "pan do mâ"-"sea bread". Every day we love to introduce new combinations in our menu shaping them from traditional Ligurian cuisine and both listening to our imagination. Everything using quality ingredients bought in stores in the nearby, wherever possible. The restaurant is composed by a young staff (average 30 year old) with a strong passion for cooking, hospitality, communication, presentation, quality, conviviality, chatter and ... obviously ... wine.
Good for: Families with children, Local cuisine
Address: Piazza Sant'Elena | Angolo Vico Foglie, 16126, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 869 3918
Cuisine: American, Bar, Pub, Steakhouse
Review: Groove is a new place in Genova where you can taste quality Street food! Located in the old town, near one of its most famous streets: Via Garibaldi. The staff is very friendly and ready to help you in the choice of your meal. Vintage and rock based forniture make this place cozy and warm. Good selection of American uncommon beers, traditional and new concept delicious burgers, meat, hot dogs and tasty side dishes.
Suggested for tourists and locals!
Good for: Large groups, Dining on a budget, Bar scene, Families with children
Address: Via Ai Quattro Canti Di San Francesco 32r, 16124, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 390104071403
Ristorante Santa Teresa
Cuisine: Seafood, Italian, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Review: From the moment I opened the door I started loving the place, I was greeted at the entrance and shown a table straight away. They gave me a suggestion for the meal, I decided to try the first dish and chose the second plate myself, they were both delicious and brought as soon as I was ready, never had to call anyone as they were always paying attention and ensuring everything was fine. I really recommend this place, not only for the great food you can have there but also for the great service they provide, I will definitely recommend it to my friends and go there again if I come back to Genova!
Good for: Special occasions, Families with children, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Address: Via di Porta Soprana, 55 R, 16123, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 583534
Taverna di Colombo
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Review: This place is absolutely wonderful, we had the pleasure of eating at this restaurant a few months ago and my boyfriend and I still talk about our wonderful experience to this day.
Firstly, the food was delicious. We had an almond ravioli, pesto pasta and octopus. The wine was exceptional, and I love the fact that when we asked for a recommendation the owner suggested the house wine as it was his favourite.
Secondly and most importantly what made this restaurant so fabulous was the owner and head chef's company. He went above and beyond
Read us the whole menu in English (twice!) recommended food, wine, and after the restaurant quietened down came and sat with us for a chat- which turned into an extra three hours in the restaurant where he shared with us Australian wine, Italian whiskey, and many interesting and funny stories. Also the recipe for pesto which was very much appreciated! He even walked us out through the alleyways when we left (as it was very late) making sure we got home safe. Absolute gentleman, delicious food, amazing ambiance- what more could you want?
Good for: Dining on a budget, Local cuisine, Families with children
Address: Vico Della Scienza 6R | 6r, 16123, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 422 5003
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, Soups, Gluten Free
Review: Our restaurant in the heart of Genoa is located on the Via al Ponte Calvi and is 100 meters from the Aquarium in the Porto Antico area. When you enter the Soho Restaurant & Fishwork, you happen into huge counters full of fish, which customers can also buy just like in a real fish market. In this way, we follow the traditional spirit of the old city center and its inhabitants by continuing the former business featured by the building.
On the lower level, you will find an elegant, softly lit area with cosy and small dining-rooms, that are perfect for intimate dinners orworking lunches. A great deal of attention is paid to the menu, which changes every day according to the season and the type of fish caught. The long wine list includes labels from Italian and foreign producers, so that you can try interesting combinations with any food.
Good for:Special occasions, Families with children, Romantic, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Address: Via al Ponte Calvi, 20r, 16100, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 0108692548
Le Scuderie Dell'Astronauta
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza, Seafood, Mediterranean
Review: From the outside this restaurant looks a bit tacky. But going inside this restaurant will not disapoint you. It is traditional Italian food and it is well prepared and served. The pizzas are very good. I can also recommend the antipasti which is served in large dishes which can be shared among several persons. This restaurant also have a lot of seafood dishes which we did not tried this time but it must be good. The food is very reasonably priced and it must have all the recommendations it can get in this price range.
Good for: Dining on a budget, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Families with children
Address: Via Gian Battista Carpaneto, 18, 16149 , Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 010 6438925
Ostaia de Banchi
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, Soups
Review: This restaurant was recommended by our guide, she said this is where she takes her family for dinner. The meals are very local and use Genoa's best ingredients: basil, olive oil, anchovies etc etc. Its specialty is fish, since it is located near the water, so you need to like seafood. I had a delicious claims and pasta in pesto and lemon. My husband simply had pasta with pesto. The restaurant is very simple, there is no prevention...they are ONLY about the food. Therefore, it is also not expensive. This was worth the visit, and we highly recommend!
Good for: Local cuisine, Dining on a budget, Families with children
Address: Vico Denegri, 17r, 16124, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 00 39 010 854 0468
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, International, European
Review: Retro Restaurant is yet another delightful seafood restaurant set in vintage decor with a warm atmosphere. The staff is attentive and friendly and will you make you feel very welcome.
Very nice/ fun atmosphere with good music. Staff was very friendly & speak English if you need. Food was excellent. We tried the meat & cheese appetizer and it was very good & plenty of it. As our mains we had pasta. We tried the pasta with clams & pasta with salmon, both were excellent. Great wine list with reasonable prices. Great location & easy to find.
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings, Families with children
Address: Via Malta 29, 16121, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 553 5064
Cuisine: Seafood, Italian, Pizza, Mediterranean
Review: All Pizza dough are of an high quality , you could choose from the menù the pizza you like and then ask for a particular kind of dough That's great and more they have very selected kind of beer many of them are craft beer. All the team is kind and professional and if you like you could even bring home some particular kind of flour and beers and more other things. More then suggested.
And finally it is front sea!!!
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Families with children
Address: Via Pietro Paolo Rubens, 35r | Vesima, 16158, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 613 9002
Review: FOOD: this restaurant is specialised in zuppe (vegetable creams and vellutata). They have a short list of dishes but all them excellent and fresh prepared. Prices are from 7 to 10 euro per dish and can reach 16 if they have fresh fish.
Beer is served cold enough and they have also italian wines. Very cozy. Owners are nice and welcoming.
Location: This place is located in the vicoli of Genova, thus, the heart of the city. In this part of the city the streets are very narrow but clean and safe. Feel free to go for a walk in the evening.
Good for: Lunch, Late Night, Business meetings, Families with children
Address: salita coccagna, 10r | angolo via di Ravecca, 16128, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 010 247 5601
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza, Seafood, Mediterranean
Review: A good restaurant in Genoa, easily reachable from exhibition hall and centre. This restaurant offers many dishes of the Italian food tradition. A 'menu of the day' though offers the freshest dishes. Pasta, pizzas, risottos and fish/ meat specialities are of high quality. All were very tasty and well-presented. A good range of beverages available but the DAB German beer was excellent and satisfied us. Highly recommended for folk wanting a good lunch in Genoa.
Good for: Dining on a budget, Large groups, Families with children
Address: Piazza G. Savonarola 27 r, 16129, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 39010580553
Cuisine: Italian, Steakhouse
Review: What a lovely surprise!!!!! It started to rain, we were walking through the historical center of Genoa and starting to get hungry, we heard laughter, lots of voices, so we walked into this tiny restaurant with wooden tables and chairs:
Their speciality is tartar steak made in different ways, at lunch they chop it with the meat grinder but in the evening they chop it with the knife which is actually a different thing according to the owner.
We must try to get a table in the evening when we get back to Genoa, as the atmosphere is fantastic, good wine, good service, oh by the way the pasta there is also very good.
Good for: Families with children
Address: Via Ravecca, 75/R, 16128, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 010 253 0518
La Locanda del Molo
Cuisine: Italian, Seafood
Review: We were recommended this restaurant in a cafe/bar in the Genova but found it hard to find. you have to walk inside the old walls and find it one end of Via del Molo. The interior is interesting: old walls and beams. The menu is extensive and the staff very helpful. It is used by a lot of locals which always recommends a place. The food was expertly cooked and well-presented. The choice of wines were well priced - sensibly priced. We ate there twice: once midday and in the evening. Both good experiences.
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine, Families with children
Address: Via Del molo87-89, 16128, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 3495356064
Osteria dei Bischeri
Cuisine:Italian, Mediterranean, Seafood
Review: There are times when it's great to experience the joy of discovering a little cafe, bar or restaurant by accident and others when in an unfamiliar place with little time you want to go straight to a place where you will be treated well and have great food put in front of you.
The Osteria dei Bischeri is definitely in that category, we could not have been made more welcome or better looked after and the food was very well prepared and of a high standard.
What's more the menu offered something for all the family (we were offered simpler pastas for the children, although they stuck to their guns and held out for the gnocchi.. A great choice.)
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings, Romantic
Address: Genova | Via di Porta Soprana 31 R, 16123, Genoa, Italy
Phone Number: 390109751052
NH Collection Genova Marina****
Offering free Wi-Fi and a modern fitness area, the Genova Marina is just 50 m from Genoa Aquarium and near the Maritime Museum. It is in the old harbour, 5 minutes’ walk from the centre.
Rooms at NH Collection Genova Marina include a private bathroom, air conditioning and an electric kettle to prepare tea/coffee. Rooms come with carpeted or parquet floors and some have a balcony.
The restaurant serves Ligurian seafood dishes, modern cuisine, and traditional Italian recipes. It has 2 outdoor terraces with a charming view of the port and of Genoa's symbolic landmark, La Lanterna. Including healthy food, coffee and fresh fruit, breakfast is buffet style. NH Collection Genova Marina is located 100 m from La Città dei Bambini children's museum. Genoa Principe Train Station is 1.5 km away.
This is guests' favourite part of Genoa, according to independent reviews.
This property is also rated for the best value in Genoa! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
NH Collection Genova Marina has been welcoming Booking.com guests since 7 Jul 2009m
Hotel Rooms: 140, Hotel Chain: NH Collection
Adress: Via Al Ponte Calvi, 5, 16124 Genova
Hotel Bristol Palace****
The Bristol Palace features an impressive elliptical staircase, leading to its elegant rooms with satellite TV. This historic building is in central Genoa, 100 m from Piazza De Ferrari.
The classic style rooms feature antique furniture, and are soundproofed and air-conditioned. Each offers free WiFi and a large bathroom, some with a spa bath.
Genoa's Aquarium and harbour area are a 15-minute walk away.
Genoa Historical Centre is a great choice for travellers interested in museums,food and old town exploring.
This is our guests' favourite part of Genoa, according to independent reviews.
This property is also rated for the best value in Genoa! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city. We speak your language!
Hotel Bristol Palace has been welcoming Booking.com guests since 21 Apr 2006
Hotel Rooms: 133, Hotel Chain: Duetorrihotels
Address: Via XX Settembre, 35, 16121 Genova
Hotel Le Nuvole Residenza d'Epoca***
Hotel Le Nuvole Residenza d'Epoca is located in Genoa, just a 5-minute walk from the harbour. It offers elegant air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi throughout, and a continental-style breakfast provided daily.
The rooms feature a modern décor and design furnishings. Each is provided with parquet floors, a flat-screen TV, and an en suite bathroom.
At the Residenza d'Epoca le Nuvole you can start the day in the dining room, where breakfast is provided as a buffet. It includes sweet and savoury products. Teas and mineral water are available throughout the day.
Genoa Airport is 11 km from the property, while the Aquarium of Genoa is a 5-minute walk away.
Genoa Historical Centre is a great choice for travellers interested in museums,food and old town exploring.
Address: Piazza delle Vigne 6, Genoa Historical Centre, 16123 Genoa
Tower Genova Airport - Hotel & Conference Center****
Tower Genova Airport is located less than 2 km from Cristoforo Colombo Airport. Featuring free Wi-Fi throughout, it offers a free, scheduled transfer service to the airport and the centre of Genoa.
The Tower Genova features a fully equipped conference centre with a maximum capacity of 1500. You can enjoy a delicious mix of regional cuisine and Mediteranean flavours at the elegant restaurant. End your day in style with a drink at the bar.
With carpeted floors, your room includes a safe, flat-screen TV with Mediaset Premium channels, and minibar. Each room has a marble bathroom complete with a luxury set of toiletries.
There is on-site parking available at extra charge from Monday to Thursday, while it is free on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Address: Via Pionieri ed Aviatori d'Italia 44, 16154 Genoa,
This 5-star design hotel is set in a quiet tree-lined boulevard in a residential area in the heart of Genoa, a 10-minute walk from the main shopping street XX Settembre and city centre
It offers free access to the 190 m² wellness centre with an indoor swimming pool, gym, Turkish bath and hot tub.
With free WiFi, all the rooms are elegantly designed and come with modern amenities such as LCD satellite TV, minibar and work area. Each one has oak parquet floors, a private bathroom with small TV in the mirror, and safe.
A buffet breakfast with sweet and savoury food and gluten-free items is served daily at the Marea Restaurant. Open also at lunch and dinner, it serves innovative Ligurian and international cuisine and a wide choice of wines. The Blue Lounge & Terrace hosts aperitifs with DJ set, Sunday brunches and special dinners.
Just 600 m from the Fiera di Genova exhibition centre, the hotel is 5 minutes' walk from the Renaissance church of Santa Maria Assunta. Carlo Felice Theatre is just 10 minutes away on foot. Tickets for the Aquarium of Genoa, which is a 15-minute walk away, can be purchased at the reception.
Address: Via Corsica 4, 16128 Genoa, Italy
Best Western Premier CHC Airport****
Featuring design rooms with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, Best Western Premier CHC Airport is 1 km from the Colombo Airport in Genoa and offers a free airport shuttle. It has a sauna, terrace and gym.
Boasting a flat-screen satellite TV with pay-per-view channels, all rooms at the Premier CHC are allergy free. Each includes a kettle, minibar and wooden floors.
An American-style breakfast is served daily in the dining room, and a restaurant on site prepares local cuisine based on fish.
The Aquarium of Genoa is a 10-minute drive away, and Sestri Ponente city centre is 1 km from the hotel. A bus stopping in front of the property offers connections to the city centre.
Address: Via Enrico Albareto 15, 16153 Genoa, Italy
Located opposite the Genoa Brignole train and metro stations, Starhotels President is near the city's shopping district. It offers free WiFi throughout, modern rooms with air conditioning.
Rooms are quiet and comfortable, with a selection of pillows, comfortable Starbeds with soft feather beds, a minibar and a TV with satellite channels. Each bathroom comes with toiletries.
Guests have free use of the small fitness area.
A buffet breakfast is served each morning and the President also features La Corte Bar and Restaurant by Eataly, offering international cuisine.
This Starhotel is 15 minutes' walk from Fiera di Genoa exhibition centre. It has excellent bus links to the port and Genoa Aquarium.
Address: Corte Lambruschini 4, 16129 Genoa, Italy
Grand Hotel Savoia*****
Grand Hotel Savoia is opposite Piazza Principe Train Station, a few steps from Genoa Aquarium. Rooms and suites feature free Wi-Fi access, a free bottle of mineral water, and an LCD TV with Mediaset Premium channels.
The Savoia features a fitness area and small wellness centre called La Spiaggia Segreta, which includes a sauna, a large hot tub, and aromatherapy showers. You will also find 2 hot tubs on the terrace.
Salgari Restaurant offers Italian cuisine and Ligurian specialities. There is also a cocktail bar and lounge. The private garden includes a unique children's playground with pirate ship.
Address: Via Arsenale Di Terra 5, 16126 Genoa
NH Genova Centro****
NH Genova Centro offers a central location in Genoa, set between Piazza Principe and Brignole Train Stations. It features free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a combination of classic and modern design.
Piazza de Ferrari and the De Ferrari Metro Station are a 5-minute walk from NH Genova Centro. Carlo Felice Opera House is 600 m away, and buses going to the Brignole Train Station stop 50 m from the hotel.
Guest rooms at this NH feature either modern or classic design, a TV with Sky channels and a minibar. Some rooms feature parquet floors and a view of Piazza Corvetto square.
The hotel has an extensive business centre, with 6 meeting rooms and internet access. A garage is also available, at extra charge.
The breakfast buffet is served daily, and includes seasonal fruit, freshly baked croissants, and cold meats. The Villetta di Negro restaurant specialises in Ligurian seafood dishes and other Italian favourites.
Address: Via Martin Piaggio 11, 16122 Genoa, Italy
Cit Hotel Britannia***
Set in Genoa historic centre, Cit Hotel Britannia is just a few steps away from Genoa Piazza Principe Train Station and from the cruise ships terminal.
Within walking distance of the hotel you will find the famous Aquarium, the Palazzo Ducale, the Palazzo Reale, the ancient harbour, the main theatres and the Congress Centre. All rooms are en suite and cleaned with ozone disinfection systems.
The public areas of Hotel Britannia were recently renovated and decorated in neutral colours, complemented by modern furnishings.
The property offers a fitness centre, with gym equipment, sauna and hot tub, a snack bar and a restaurant. A games room for children and a circus for babies up to 6 months is also available.
Address: Via Balbi, 38, 16126 Genoa,
Holiday Inn Genoa City****
Set next to the ferry and cruise terminal in Genoa, this Holiday Inn offers an attentive service and elegant, modern rooms with satellite LCD TV. It is 300 m from Dinegro Metro. The hotel also has a small gym and a well-equipped business centre.
Holiday Inn Genoa features an attractive, contemporary design. Mediaset Premium TV channels and a pillow menu come as standard in the rooms, which also include parquet floors. Wi-Fi access is free.
A buffet breakfast is served daily. The elegant restaurant serves Liguria and international dishes, together with a children’s menu. Guests can enjoy a relaxing aperitif or after-dinner cocktail in the stylish bar./p>
Piazza Principe Train Station is 1 metro stop or a 5-minute taxi ride from the hotel. Genoa Cathedral is 2.4 km away.
Address: Via Milano 47, 16126
Hotel Nuovo Nord
Nuovo Nord is an affordable hotel enjoying a wonderfully central location in Genoa's historic centre. Set 50 m from the train station, everything is just walking distance away.
Genoa's famous port is just a 5-minute walk away from friendly Hotel Nuovo Nord, as are museums and the city's Aquarium, the largest in Europe. Shopping districts are a 10-minute stroll away and this area has great transport links, with buses and the Metro located nearby.
Nuovo Nord's reception can book transfers, tickets or restaurant tables for you, as well as a variety of interesting city tours. An extensive Italian-style buffet breakfast is available daily in the elegant restaurant hall.
Address: Via Balbi 155R, 16126 Genoa
Best Western Hotel Moderno Verdi****
The BEST WESTERN Hotel Moderno Verdi is housed within a beautiful historic building, which has been carefully renovated in the Liberty Style.
The hotel is located close to the Genoa Brignole Railway Station, the airport and the International Fair. Reach the main theaters, the Palazzo Ducale, the aquarium, the convention center, the Porto Antico di Genova, the historic center, the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and the motorway within a few minutes. The Bandaranaike International Airport is just eight kilometers away.
The professionalism and courtesy of our staff will make guests feel right at home. Each of the 87 well-appointed rooms are furnished with care and elegance and equipped with amenities like high-speed broadband access, mini-bar, electronic safe box, air-conditioning, LCD televisions with Mediaset Italia cinema and foreign satellite channels and Premium Calcio Football Coverage, a hairdryer, telephones in the room and the bathroom, and a tub or shower to ensure our guests have a pleasant and relaxing stay.
The on-site Rigoletto Restaurant featuring cuisine based on local specialties, the lounge bar, two lifts and a private underground parking garage watched by CCTV cameras make us an ideal hotel.
Address: Piazza Giuseppe Verdi 5, 16121 Genoa
Comfort Hotel Europa Genova City Centre***
Set in the heart of Genoa, Comfort Hotel Europa is a 5-minute walk from Principe Metro Station. It offers free Wi-Fi throughout and features a terrace with panoramic views of the city.
Rooms are air conditioned and come with a satellite LCD TV, a minibar, and a private bathroom with free toiletries plus a hairdryer.
At Comfort Hotel Europa Genova City Centre free daily newspapers are provided from Monday until Friday. Staff at reception are available to assist you 24 hours a day.
Private parking is available on site and costs EUR 15 per night. It is free from November until February.
Genova Piazza Principe Train Station is 400 m from the property and trains link with La Spezia and Turin. You can embark for the Cinque Terre at the port just 1 km away, while Serravalle Designer Outlet is 45 minutes by car.
Address: Vico Delle Monachette 8, 16100 Genoa, Italy
Novotel Genova City****
Offering free Wi-Fi, Novotel Genova City features a seasonal outdoor pool, restaurant, and spacious rooms with satellite TV. It is 700 m from Genoa Harbour and 6 km from Genova-Sestri Airport.
Located just off the A7 motorway, Genova City Novotel is a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Alternatively, you can catch a bus to Genoa’s Aquarium right outside the hotel.
With large windows and free tea and coffee, rooms feature a flat-screen TV and en suite bathroom with free toiletries.
Breakfast includes a selection of pastries, cakes and cereals. La Terrazza restaurant is open every evening until 24:00, serving both Italian and international dishes. Drinks are available from the hotel bar.
Address: Via Cantore 8/C, 16126 Genoa, Italy
Hotel Continental Genova****
Located opposite Genova Principe Train Station, the Continental is a restored Art Nouveau hotel overlooking the port. It offers elegant rooms with parquet floors, free Wi-Fi, and a large breakfast buffet.
Breakfast includes savoury items such as cheese, as well as warm croissants and fresh fruit.
Open for lunch and dinner, the Trattoria Tralalero serves both Ligurian and international dishes, specialising in fresh fish. Guests can eat outside on the hotel's leafy terrace during the summer.
The Continental's air-conditioned rooms come with Mediaset Premium TV channels. Each has a tiled bathroom complete with hairdryer and toiletry set. Some rooms include a spa bath and offer views of Piazza Acquaverde.
The hotel is well connected to the public transport system. Both the metro and various bus lines pass through the nearby central station. Cristoforo Colombo Airport is a 15-minute taxi ride away.
Address: Via Arsenale Di Terra 1, 16126 Genoa, Italy
Located between Genoa’s Piazza Principe Train Station and the cruise terminal, Hotel Galata features air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TV. The sun terrace offers panoramic views of the city, including the harbour.
The rooms are colourful and come with cool tiled floors, and a private bathroom with shower, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Free internet is available in the lobby.
Enjoy Genoan specialities at breakfast in the top-floor café. For lunch and dinner you can choose one of the many restaurants nearby.
The Galata Hotel is a 10-minute walk from the historic centre. The ferry harbour is 2 km away.
Address: Via A. Doria 4A, 16126 Genoa, Italy
AC Hotel Genova
Located between Genoa’s Piazza Principe Train Station and the cruise terminal, Hotel Galata features air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TV. The sun terrace offers panoramic views of the city, including the harbour.
The rooms are colourful and come with cool tiled floors, and a private bathroom with shower, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Free internet is available in the lobby.
Enjoy Genoan specialities at breakfast in the top-floor café. For lunch and dinner you can choose one of the many restaurants nearby.
The Galata Hotel is a 10-minute walk from the historic centre. The ferry harbour is 2 km away.
Address: Corso Europa 1075, 16148 Genoa, Italy
Mercure Genova San Biagio****
Mercure Genova San Biagio is 2 km from the A7 motorway and a 20-minute drive from Genoa’s centre. It offers free parking, and rooms with free WiFi and a flat-screen satellite TV.
Rooms are decorated in a classic style, with either carpeted or wooden floors. They include a minibar and a private bathroom with hairdryer.
Featuring a slanted crystal wall, the spacious hall has lots of natural light. The Mercure Genova San Biagio includes an à la carte Al Serro restaurant, and a stylish bar.
Cristoforo Colombo Airport is 12 km away. The hotel is 1.5 km from Genoa S. Biagio Train Station.
This property is also rated for the best value in Genoa! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
Address: Via Romairone 14, 16163 Genoa, Italy
Albergo Posta is a historic hotel in the centre of Genoa, right by Palazzo Reale and 300 m from the Aquarium and the harbour. Guests of the past include the famous Casanova.
All rooms at the Posta are basic and functional, and equipped with private bathroom and LCD TV. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
The Albergo serves Italian-style breakfast, with pastries, croissants, and coffee, cappuccino or tea. The bar is open 7 days a week.
Genoa Historical Centre is a great choice for travellers interested in museums,food and old town exploring.
Address: Via Balbi 24, Genoa Historical Centre, 16126 Genoa, Italy
Hotel Meublè SuisseLocated in Genoa’s Sturia quarter, Hotel Tirreno has an American bar. It offers modern rooms with an LCD TV and views of the Tyrrhenian Sea or the Ligurian Apennines.
Rooms at the Tirreno have simple, contemporary furnishings and tiled floors. Each comes with air conditioning and a private bathroom with hairdryer, while some feature a kitchenette.
An Italian breakfast of coffee or tea and croissants is served daily. The area has many cafés and restaurants serving local cuisine and pizza
Genoa Aquarium is 7 km from the property. The Palasport arena and the Genoa International Boat Show are a 5-minute drive away.
Address: Via Dei Mille 17, 16147 Genoa, Italy
Hotel Meublè Suisse**
The Meublè Suisse is set on the 3rd floor of a historic building in the centre of Genoa, 650 m from Genova Brignole Train Station. Reception is open 24-hour and rooms offer a private bathroom.
The lobby of the Suisse leads to a common living room with sofas and armchairs for guest's relaxation.
Genoa's Aquarium is 1.1 km from the Suisse Meublè. The area around the hotel is full of restaurants and bars.
Address: Via XX Settembre 21/6, 16121 Genoa, Italy
Albergo Caffaro *
Set on the 6th floor of an early 20th-century building, Albergo Caffaro offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. It is 10 minutes' walk from the Genoa Aquarium.
Rooms are simply furnished and have Graniglia tiled floors, typical of the Genoa area. Each one features a private bathroom with hairdryer.
Guests will find fruit juice and croissants in their room for breakfast and a coffee machine is available at reception.
The Caffaro Hotel is 10 minutes' walk from the shopping street of Via XX Settembre and San Lorenzo Cathedral. It is surrounded by historical building such as Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Rosso.
Address: Via Caffaro 3 int.14, 16124 Genoa, Italy
Hotel Ricci **
The family-run Hotel Ricci is a 5-minute walk from Genova Brignole Train Station in Genoa centre. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi.
Guests enjoy a buffet breakfast each morning at the Ricci Hotel, which also has a bar and luggage storage room. Rooms come with a private bathroom with hairdryer and toiletries.
Santo Stefano Church is 350 m away, while Genova Cathedral is a 15-minute walk or short bus ride away. The aquarium and harbour are less than 10 minutes away by car.
Address: Piazza Colombo 4/8, 16121 Genoa, Italy
Hotel Acquario is just across the road from the Genoa Aquarium in the heart of the city. Right next to the marina, it offers air-conditioned rooms with a TV, minibar and private bathroom.
Free WiFi is available in all rooms and a buffet breakfast is served each morning. Guests can enjoy a drink at the hotel bar and have discounts at a restaurant 50 m away.
The Acquario Hotel is 5 minutes' walk from the Darsena and San Giorgio Metro Stations. It has excellent bus links around the city to Genoa University and the business district.
Address: Via San Pancrazio 9, Genoa Historical Centre, 16124 Genoa, ItalyM
Featuring classic-style rooms with free Wi-Fi, Ariadimare is right by Genoa Harbour and 200 m from Dinegro Metro Station. It offers a sweet buffet breakfast, with savoury options available on request.
Guests at Ariadimare can relax in a communal lounge, where the breakfast is served every morning.
The property is a 10-minute walk from Genova Piazza Principe Train and Metro Station, also reachable by bus.
Address: Via Bruno Buozzi 18A, 16126 Genoa, Italy
Go to the Aquarium of Genoa (Acquario di Genova) to see more than 15,000 animals from some 400 species at Italy’s largest aquatic zoo.
Located in the heart of the “Acquario Village,” the aquarium was built for the Genoa Expo ’92, and is now home to the biggest display of aquatic biodiversity in Europe. Dive into the fascinating waters of the world as you explore more than 70 tanks of critters, such as sea cows (the “Sirens of the Sea”).
Marvel at animals from the Antarctic, such as penguins, and see sharks, seals, jelly fish, and the colorful fish of the coral barriers. Go to the Cetacean Pavilion, designed by Renzo Piano, to laugh along with the bottlenose dolphins of 4 open-air pools.
Immerse yourself in the world's aquatic environments, and learn more about projects to conserve them. As Italy’s largest aquarium, new spaces and species are constantly added.
2-Hour Guided Walking Tour of the Historical Center
The tour allows you to discover the historical center of Genoa and the wonderful Palazzi dei Rolli>, a UNESCO world heritage site. These elegant residences belonging to the aristocracy and date back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
You will be guided through the narrow alleys (Caruggi) of the widest historical center in Europe, to discover its many curiosities and secrets. The tour starts from the Old Port area and guides you through the highlights of the city, including the San Lorenzo Cathedral, the Doge Palace, the Opera House, and the wonderful Strada Nuova Museums.
In the museums – the galleries of Pallazo Rosso, the Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Tursi – you can admire the antique furniture and important masterpieces of Italian and foreign artists. The museum exhibits works by Veronese, Procaccini, Rubens, Van Dyck, and many more.
Genoa Hop-on Hop-off Tour
World Heritage-listed Genoa is the capital of Liguria and birthplace of Christopher Columbus. See many of its monuments and its grand 16th and 17th century palaces on the Strade Nueve, on a hop-on hop-on sightseeing tour.
With your 48-hour ticket you’ll see more than just splendid buildings. Genoa presents a multitude of hidden gems waiting for you to discover.
The double-decker bus departs from Piazza Caricamento and provides easy access to both of the city’s train stations, as well as ideal stopping points for shopping. Explore at your own pace as you hop off at attractions such as the Cathedral San Lorenzo, built in a patchwork of styles, from Gothic to Renaissance.
Admire the huge Palazzo Ducale before jumping back on the bus to continue your journey to the city’s splendid museums. The town's best art collections can be visited in the 3 palaces of the Musei di Strada, where you’ll find masterpieces by Rubens along with many other local and Italian artists.
Enjoy 360-degree panoramic views from the top deck. Take a stroll along the elegant Via Garibaldi, located in the cultural center of Genoa and lined with grand buildings and fine stores.
By the rejuvenated Porto Antico you’ll find a number of attractions suitable for the entire family, including the aquarium where you can watch dolphins play.
Buses run daily, every 30 minutes, until early evening, when you can take some time to discover Genoa’s active nightlife scene. The hub of evening activity lies in the historic part of town along the stretch bordered by Piazza Sarzano and Via San Lorenzo.
Back on the bus the next day, within the ticket’s 48-hour period, you can stop off at the Bigo, a replica of a device that was used years ago to offload cargo from the ships.
You’ll enjoy multilingual commentary on the bus, making it an ideal way to take in Genoa’s best attractions in a convenient, comfortable, and fun way.
Guided Tour of Rolli Palaces UNESCO Site
Visit the wonderful Genoese residences of the XIV century and join this guided tour of the Rolli Palaces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site./p>
A guided tour of some of the most sumptuous residences built by the aristocratic Genoese families during the so-called “ Secolo d’Oro“ (“The Golden Century”), between the 16th and 17th century.
The System of the "Palazzi dei Rolli" includes splendid palaces with open staircases, courtyards and loggias overlooking gardens. The palaces, positioned at different levels, were part of a network of public hospitality houses for state visits, as decreed by the Senate of the Republic of Genoa in 1576.
The “Rolli” (named from the parchment rolls in which the palaces were inscribed) were subdivided into three “bussoli”, balloting lists, where the palaces were registered according to their richness and dimension. Lots were drawn to decide which palace would have the privilege - and the duty - of playing host to visiting state dignitaries.
The first “bussolo” was for cardinals, princes and viceroys, the second for large scale landowners and third for princes of lesser standing and ambassadors: the first example of hôtellerie in Europe.
The “Rolli” were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.
These exclusive and elegantly decorated residences did not escape the eye of a fine artist as the great Flemish painter Rubens, who at the beginning of the 17th century published a book collecting the drawings of these buildings as a residential model for the Antwerp nobility. Experience a piece of Italy's extravagant Golden Century in Genoa.
Genoa Old Delicacies and Confectionery Tour
Meet your guide outside the historical store of Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano and get ready to discover the world of Ligurian confectionery.
Romanengo’s shop in Via Soziglia is a true jewel in Genoa’s old city center, it has not changed since the opening day in 1814. Surrounded by lavish marble and wood you can taste and purchase specialities, you can also admire the collection of antiques, used to wrap Romanengo’s products throughout time.
Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano has remained a confectionery business, that is to say a factory where fruit, flowers aromas and colours are worked with sugar. Being true to the old recipe books of the old chocolatiers and the art of Genoese confectionery allows a vast range of products and specialities whose natural and excellent taste represent the value of our production and confectionery. Seasonal products are fundamental when processing fresh products and all of Romanengo’s products are made according to the seasonal products in our territory.
Take the chance to admire the art of confectionery with true professionals guides and follow their recommendations to order your sweet memories of Genoa.
Walking Tour in Columbus' Footsteps
Genoa is Italy's largest sea port, and a city of contradictions: full of grandeur and squalor, sparkling light and deep shade. This walking tour will explain the development of the powerful Maritime Republic through the marks left by Christopher Columbus. From his parent's house and the district where he lived in his adolescence, to the Renaissance Palace, now a museum which exhibits his letters, Genoa is full of key sites in the life of the famous explorer.
Your tour will pass through the old town, showing you many of the most interesting sights in Genoa as you go, and your expert guide will explain their history and relation to Columbus. The tour ends with a gorgeous Genoese aperitif, a glass of local white wine with authentic focaccia bread, to enjoy on a scenic terrace overlooking the old town.
Genova & Portofino Full-Day Tour from Milan
Escape the hustle and bustle of Milan on a full-day sightseeing tour of 3 gems of the Ligurian Coast. Departing by bus from central Milan, drive south to the capital of Liguria and the largest seaport in Italy at Genova (Genoa).
Nicknamed “La Superba” ("Superb One"), due to its impressive landmarks, part of the old town was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Explore streets rich in art, gastronomy and architecture. The birthplace of Christopher Columbus, its role in maritime history is beyond compare. Once one of the "Maritime Republics,” along with Venice, Pisa, and Amalfi, the ornate buildings and monuments reveal a rich story of trade and shipbuilding.
Next, relax at the pearl of the Ligurian Sea at Portofino, a small village that dates back to the Roman period. Its glittering harbor and colorful waterfront houses have made it a much sought after destination among celebrities, while its Roman name of Portus Delphini (Port of the Dolphin) reflects the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.
End your tour at Santa Margherita Ligure, where the maritime scenery and turquoise sea blends beautifully with the green of the Ligurian hills, colorful fishing boats bob in the harbor, and picturesque fishermen’s houses transport you back to a less hurried time.
24/48 Hour Genova Museum Card
Genova is famous for its museums and you have the chance to see the best of the best with this Genova Museum Card.
The Genova museum card is all inclusive. You’ll save money and stay flexible as you get access to 21 museums, free use of public transport (only if you buy the bus inclusion), and discounts at many tourist services and other city attractions.
Take in all the culture and sights of this stunning Italian port city over either 24 or 48 hours, with free access to the following museums.
- Musei di Strada Nuova - Palazzi Rosso, Bianco, Tursi
- Galata Museo del Mare
- Castello D’Albertis - Museo delle Culture del Mondo
- Museo Navale di Pegli
- Commenda di Prè
- Galleria d’Arte Moderna
- Raccolte Frugone
- Museo Giannettino Luxoro
- Museo d’Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone
- Museo di Sant’Agostino
- Museo del Risorgimento
- Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce
- Museo di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria
- Museo di Archeologia Ligure
- Museo di Storia e Cultura Contadina
- Museo del Tesoro della Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
- Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola
- Museo di Palazzo Reale
- Museo dell’Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti
- Museo Diocesano
Old Town 2-Hour Audio Guide Tour
Discover the medieval monuments of Genoa’s old town on a new audio guide tour and explore the historical center at your own pace.
On your 2-hour route you’ll start from Piazza Fontane Marose, and head to Via Garibaldi to see some of the magnificent Rolli Palaces, and then continuing on until you reach the old port, home to the city’s aquarium.
Walk the narrow alleys of the old town until you reach the Gothic Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Neoclassical Palazzo Ducale, the Medieval Gate, and the House of Christopher Columbus.
The tour ends at Spianata Castelletto, where you’ll be able to take in breathtaking views of the entire historical center and the seacoast, from above.
Franco Albini Apartment
One of Italy's best loved 20th-century architects, Franco Albini was a key figure in the restoration of Genova's palazzi in the post war period. The third floor of the Palazzo Rosso hides an Italian mid-century gem – an apartment Albini designed for the museum's director, now open to the public. Its mix of signature Albini furniture, clean modern lines and Genovese excess, will delight design fans (the city views aren't bad either).
The San Lorenzo Cathedral
The San Lorenzo Cathedral or St. Laurence Cathedral is Genoa's stunningly beautiful black and white striped cathedral. It was founded in the 4th or 5th century. Since the Crusades it has housed the ashes of Saint John the Baptist -San Giovanni Battista, the patron saint of Genoa.
The cathedral had a very lucky escape on February 9th, 1941, when the city was being shelled by the British. The shell struck the building, but did not explode. The shell is on display inside the cathedral.
There is a treasury under the cathedral, which we did not visit. It is said to house the chalice Christ drank from at the last supper.
When I went in at first I was enjoying the dark, slightly gloomy atmosphere. Suddenly someone dropped a Euro into a slot and one of the walls was beautifully illuminated to reveal various delightful marble statues.
I absolutely loved the sad looking lion statues outside the cathedral with their big gentle eyes.
Directions: NO BUS, walking from caricamento or deferrari
Boccadasse is a small fishing-village inside of Genua that kept its old character because there is almost NO car trafic, lots of fishingboats may be seen on the stoney beaches and there are lots of great fish-restaurants. It is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Genova. It's a small fishermen district, a "small Portofino" inside the big Genova, with its old coloured houses, its small fishermen harbour and it's great ice-creams, so loved by genoese people! . Presently the village is surrounded by the expanding city, yet it is still untouched in its structure and atmosphere. The contrast of the old with the new is extraordinary.
Address: At the end of Corso Italia
Directions: You can go to Boccadasse taking the bus No.31 or walking along Corso Italia.
It's a bit far from the city centre, it's suggested to take a bus, or prepare for a long walk!
Giant Pink Bunny
In 2005, residents of Artesina were surprised to look out their windows and see a new addition to one of the many 5,000 foot high mountains that dot the countryside in Northern Italy. Almost overnight, a gigantic pink bunny had taken its place atop the hill, starkly contrasting the dark green foliage covering the slopes.
At 200 feet long and 20 feet high, the gigantic bunny is hard to miss. Created by the art collective from Vienna, Gelitin, the macabre rabbit was built on the hill with its entrails streaming out to make visitors feel like the Lilliputians from Gulliver's Travels. To accomplish their goals, Gelitin has encouraged visitors to climb, jump or take a short rest on top of the rabbit's lifeless, stuffed body.
There is no removal date set for the Hase, and it will likely stay there until it is consumed by mother nature, or roving animals. The creators believe traces of it will be around until 2025, when the rabbit will disappear.
Genoa Scooter Day Trip
xplore the many historic and beautiful parts of Genoa in a truly Italian way – from a scooter – with this Genoa scooter day trip. Zip up and down the streets, learning about the city's architectural and artistic treasures from your knowledgeable guide as you go. Ride up into the hills to get excellent views over Genoa. Stop along the way for a sample of sensational local specialty 'focaccia,' for lunch and even a swim.
Meet at 10:00 to jump on your scooter and start the tour to the city hills to the most amazing view where the whole city will be below you. Continue down to the old harbour through a winding road displaying liberty style palaces and Castles. Here we are at the biggest historical city center of Genoa. Hundreds of narrow alleys, small streets, dozens of churches, paintings, hundreds years old shops, superb " focaccia " is not to be missed. It will soon be time for lunch and we will head to a unique cozy bay few minutes away from the city center where we can have a swim ( do not forget the bathing suit ). Now is time to drive on the "sopraelevata" (city highway) to see the city from 10 meters high and descend to 10 meters below ground in a series of tunnels used to shoot advertisements. We will then park and visit the main Cathedral and have a free coffee.
It is the oldest working lighthouse in the world. It was built bfore the 15th century and had guided many ships safety. In the lighthouse, there is a museum with slide shows explaining to you the history of Genoa. You will also understand the culture of the people living there. To visit the musuem and go to the top of the light house, you have to pay 6 euros. The museum is only opened on weekends. From the lanterna you can see Calata Giaccone(coal) which is the main source of power in olden days, is still being unloaded and loaded today. You can also see the cranes and containers in the ports and other traces of port activities. In all seasons, you can take 30 or 3 and drop at the terminal traghetti shopping centre. Facing the centre, turn right and walk up along the pavement and you will be able to see a sign "La Lanterna" with 50m. Follow the sign and you will reach the Lanterna. It will be a 20 to 30 mins walk.
Address: Pizza Dinegro and then walk up
Directions: The Lanterna can be visited in summer every day with service boat sailing from Porto Antico. Pls. apply to Information Center in that Area.
Porto Antico and Palazzo S.Giorgio
Since 1992 Porto Antico is redesigned by Genovese architect renzo Piano, and revitalized into the most visited area of Genova. Once busy and inaccessible port is transformed in mostly pedestrian zone which consists of several attractions, such as Acquario di Genova, Il Bigo, Biosfera, Bataly, Museo Luzzati, Galata Museo del Mare...
This medieval ship, on the pictures, is one of the main attractions for visitors of Genova and its Porto Antico. It is replica of a 17th century Spanish Galleon. The ship, called Neptune, used in the film "Pirates" made by Roman Polanski. "Neptune" is on permanent display in the port and visitors can tour the ship for a price of 5 euros.
Address: Porto Antico - Centre/sea
Directions: BUS: 1 -2 - 7 - 8 -15 - 12
Palazzo Ducale & Piazza De Ferrari
Piazza De Ferrari is Genoa's most important public square. It links Genoa's historical heart with its modern, commercial centre. In the middle of the square a large fountain shoots jets of water into the air.
Several important buildings are located on this square.
The Palazzo Ducale which means Doge's Palace has its main entrance round the corner on Piazza Matteotti, and its second entrance on Piazza De Ferrari. This grand old building was once the home of the Doges of Genoa, but is now a museum as well as a centre for cultural events and arts exhibitions. This palace dates from 1251. In July 2001 the Palazzo Ducale hosted the G8 Summit, which was attended by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States.
The Teatro Carlo Felice is the main opera house of Genoa. It is used for performances of opera, ballet, orchestral music, and recitals. The hall is called after Duke Carlo Felice, and dates from December 24th, 1824. In 1941 a shell fired by a British warship hit the roof of the theatre making a large hole. Further damage occurred on the 5th of August, 1943 when incendiary bombs caused a backstage fire. After the war the restoration of the theatre began, but it did not officially re-open until June 1991.
There is also an equestrian statue of Garibaldi in front of the theatre.
Address: piazza De Ferrari - centre
Directions: BUS 41-20 -17
Porta Soprana and Columbus's House
In the 12th century a ring of defensive walls was built around Genoa. The only remaining section of these walls is the gate Porta Soprana. This was built in 1155.
Go through the gate and walk towards the newer looking part of town and you will pass the elegant cloister of San Andrea dating from the 12th century and a tiny building which was once the home of Christopher Columbus.
Address: Piazza Dante - Centre - East of De Ferrari
Directions: BUS: 17-46-47-41
Palazzo Belimbau was erected between the mid-sixteenth century and mid-seventeenth century, during the period of the so-called urban revolution, commissioned by the patricians in Genoa who, during the 16th century, accumulated enormous fortunes. Francesco De Ferrari erected the building where once was a building of De Ferrari himself, combining to it a nearby building owned by Antoniotto Cattaneo in 1611 the construction works finished and, since then, Palazzo Belimbau is one of the symbols of the pompous 16th century architecture.
Address: Piazza della Nunziata
Directions: pedonal. from caricamento, gramsci, garibaldi, deferrari, principe
Church of San Siro
The present church of San Siro was erected during the 4th century where an ancient graveyard once stood and was dedicated to the twelve Apostles. The temple was named after San Siro, once Bishop of Genoa, only at the end of the 6th century. The church was turned into an Abbey in 1006 and given to Benedictine Monks who were ordered by the bishop to rebuild it in a Romanesque style. It became the Bishop's seat, which depended upon Milan till 1133, when Pope Innocent II founded the archdiocese of Genoa. The holy building was burned in the 15th century, during the civil unrests and in 1575 it was given to the Teatini Fathers who stayed in it till Napoleon's elimination of the first monasteries in 1798. The present aspect of the church is the product of the reconstruction which took place in the 17th century and some in the 19th century.
San Matteo church
The church was originally conceived as a noble chapel of the Doria family; Martino Doria commissioned it in 1125 and only after, around 1310, the square cloister was built. The outside dates back to the 13th century and is characterised by white and black marble on the façade and an epigraph which outlines the victorious undertakings of the Doria Family. Andrea Doria, in the first half of the 16th century rebuilt it, keeping the outside decorations. Inside, in the window of the portal, visitors can see the mosaic portraying San Matteo and, at the bottom of the right window, there is a Roman sarcophagus, trophy of the Curzola battle and in the crypt there is Andrea Doria's tomb.
Address: Piazza San Matteo
Directions: From Piazza de Ferrari, take Salita San Matteo, a small street downhill. Church is at the bottom.
Palazzo Bianco and Rosso
The Palazzo Bianco is situated on Genoa's most beautiful street - Via Garibaldi, where there are numerous fine 16th century mansions and palaces. The Palazzo Bianco contains the city's prime collection of paintings, including the works of many Genoese artists such as Luca Cambiaso, Bernardo Strozzi, Domenico Piola and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. Better known artists include Filippino Lippi, Van Dyck, Veronese and Rubens.
Across the street in the Palazzo Rosso are more paintings as well as ceramics and furniture. Upstairs in the "paino nobile" the rooms are adorned with 17th century frescoes by Genoese artists such as de Ferrari and Piola.
Tickets are available in the book shop opposite Palazzo Rosso.
Address: Via Garibaldi
Directions: Open 9am-7pm Tue-Fri, (from 10am Sat-Sun).
Eastern Genoese fishing villages became part of the city without loosing thei Mediterranean beauty.
Between the terraced hills and the sea, a string of small boroughs Sturla, Quarto with its Museo Garibaldino (a museum dedicated ti Giuseppe Garibaldi who left from here "la spedizione dei mille" to build Italy), Quinto, Nervi and Sant'Ilario tie up, with the Mount of Portofino in the background.
A medieval road called "via Romana" runs still today along the coast and the olive groves: it is a remain of the old time Riviera. with its red painted houses, the small gardens along the streams, and should be better covered on a mule (if you can find a mule somewhere).
There are hills that shelter from Northern winds; there are terraced olive groves, ilex groves and multicoloured fishing villages nestled around the medieval stone bridges and the paths that go uphill and ancient inns.
The small beaches are crowded with fishing boats and lazy, well-nourished cats.
In January from Boccadase to Vernazzola and Capolungo winter doesn't exist at all.
Golden age Genoese nobility bequeathed their country seats, surrounded by gardens and parks: small-scale Earthy Paradises against an enchanting background.
The hill of Albaro still keeps some of the finest and best preserved "villas" in Genoa, whose lounges, painted facades and lush gardens make that beautiful suburb even more pictoresque. There are Villa Giustiniani Cambiaso, currently seat of the University, Villa Saluzzo Parodi, the frescored Villa Spinola and many others.
The best way to discover them is walking the "creuse de ma", narrow paths between trees and walls.
Address: From centre town follow via Aurelia to south
Directions: Take bus 15 from town, it goes threw Albaro and coast the Riviera til Nervi.
You can stop at Albaro, Sturla, Quarto, Quinto and Nervi.
Teatro Carlo Felice
It is a pity, the building was under restauration and partly covered, when I visited Genua in 2003, but I am sure the works are finished already! Bombs had destroyed the old theatre in 1943 and so the building had to be restored and was finished 1990.
2000 people will be able to sit inside the audience, the walls of which are built like houses, shops etc and might make a great extra feature in combination with the stage !
In front of the theatre you may see a monument and behind that monument you may walk through a passage - see my 2nd picture !
Address: Piazza de Ferrari
Directions: Teatro Carlo Felice is at the end of Via XX Settembre, directely at Piazza de Ferrari.
This castle in neo gothic style was the home of Captain Enrico Alberto D'Albertis, a sailor man, ethologist who founded the first Italian yacht club.
To go there , via balbi there is a lift which is the only in the world using horizontal traction on the first part of the way and vertical lift for the other part of the way.
In the castle there are an ethnographic collection and many items brought back by the Captain D'Albertis from his travels aroud the world.
Address: Corso Dogali 18
Directions: take the lift montegalotto via balbi
Villa Durazzo Pallavicini
PARK DURAZZO PALLAVICINI is an evocative landscaped and architectonic route where the water with its flow marks the wright cadences to the development of one teatrale weft. The Park of Villa Durazzo Pallavicini represents a sublime example of romantic landscaped garden. Planned in 1840 from Michele Canzio on behalf of Marquis Alexander Pallavicini it represents an unique garden in Europe
Address: Villa Durazzo Pallavicini - Pegli
Directions: From Porto Antico take the bus N.1 to Pegli for about 10 km. (30 min.)
Galata Museo del Mare
Right in the historic port area is the wonderful Galata Museo del Mare, which is apparently the largest maritime museum in the Mediterranean. It certainly is extensive: four floors packed with exhibits plus a roof terrace with views of the city. For an adult ticket priced at EUR 12 (EUR 17 if visiting the Nazario Sauro submarine too) I thought this was a really good value experience.
The ground floor is probably the most traditional, with extensive exhibits on the development of Genoa as a port city (wonderful paintings show the city take shape stage by stage), Christopher Colombus and the history of the Genoese galley that played a part in making the port as significant as it has been. These are probably the sections which will demand more time if you're not with children as there is a lot to read and take in. On that point: if you want to understand anything more than the main descriptions in a language other than Italian you should get an audioguide as the more detailed information is not translated.
Things start to get more interactive towards the latter part of the ground floor with a display on life on the galleys: you can try rowing (hard) and explore a ship with video displays.
The first floor has a really great display on globes (among others), which anyone who finds maps at all interesting will enjoy. The celestial globe with labels in Latin, Greek and Arabic is especially impressive.
On the second floor are rooms on maritime art, nautical instruments and shipwrecks and storms. Another tip here: don't bother waiting for the 4D shipwreck experience unless with small children. It's really not worth it for adults!
Finally, the third floor, which is the best place for kids to spend time. This floor focuses on emigration and immigration and has a really well thought out interactive element where you are issued with a passport and go through the different stages of emigrating to America in the 19th century. The rooms recreate a passenger ship and various parts of the world that Italian emigrants found themselves. At the end of this you find out what happened to your real-life emigrant.
We took about two and a half hours to visit the four floors and felt we rushed a lot of it. My advice would be to focus on the topics that interest you most unless you have a day to spare! The submarine will add another 20-30 minutes.
All in all a very worthwhile museum with plenty for visitors of all ages and interests.
Address: Calata De Mari, 1 (Darsena - Via Gramsci)
Directions: Just 5 minutes on foot west from the Aquarium and in front of the subway stop "Darsena"
Best Beaches in Liguria
The Italian Riviera has nearly 200 miles of coastline. It climbs from Ventimiglia in the west, sweeps around Genoa, and finishes just past the Cinque Terre, five famous villages with unique vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean sea.
The Ligurian coast is very easy to reach if you are coming from Milan and it is just about a 30 minute drive from the Langhe and its vineyards. A great way to explore Liguria beaches is combining them with a holiday in one of the wine regions of north Italy.
Best Beaches in Liguria:
I love the sea here which is a splendid azure. It is perfect for snorkeling. This beautiful beach is just 4 kilometers from Ventimiglia. By the way, if you decide to go to the balzi rossi remember that the beach is run by a private company and it means that the best parts of the beach need to be paid for.
Relaxing on the white sand of Loano beach is unique. It is a great place if you want to spend the holiday with your family and children. There are many bathing establishments offering comfortable services such as renting a “Big sun umbrella”, play area for kids and more.
Varigotti and the Saracen Bay
Coming from Savona, the Beach is actually just before you get to Varigotti town. This beach is a corner of paradise. It is famous for its cleaness and the purity of the sea waters surrounded by the Mediterranean Vegetation.
Here you can find the longest stretch of coast in Liguria. Its sandy beach, promenade, gelateria, restaurants and cafes are lovely.
Furthermore, Finale Ligure is also famous for its rock climbing. The reputation as a rock climbing area is built by many routes and crags in a small area. Finally, another popular activity in this area is the mountain bike.
Bergeggi on the Riviera delle Palme, is a lively seaside town and its beach is especially popular among the younger generations. Bergeggi has the advantage of amazing crystal waters, which serve as a natural marine reserve protecting the precious ecosystem of the Island of Bergeggi.
The island of Bergeggi, in the past was inhabited by monks, but today it is one of the best places where divers meet to explore the wonderful seabed.
The San Fruttuoso Bay
A beautiful tiny bay that can be reached only by footpath or with the boat. I’m sure that this place, isolated from the rest of the world will charm you.
Paraggi Bay, Portofino
Paraggi is a small, chic and enchanting bay of Portofino. It is truly a paradise on earth. It is located between Portofino small town and Santa Margherita Ligure. The bay is perfectly inserted in the surrounding cliffs and it is ideal for all those who want to combine the relaxing and peaceful atmosphere of this beach and the “dolce vita” life of Portofino.
Sestri Levante (the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fables)
Situated with the Bay of Fables on one side and the Bay of Silence on the other, Sestri Levante town is an charming narrow stretch of land that worth to be admired. It is easy to realize why such a place would inspire the imaginations of famous literary figures such as Hans Christian Andersen and Lord Byron. Lord Byron has described Sestri Levante and its beach as a paradise on earth!
In the Province of La Spezia, Lerici is a picturesque resort. I love the beach here, it is surrounded by pine, oaks and olive trees. This town and its beaches has been captivating authors since the 18th centuary. Even Mary Shelley spent her time here writing her epic “Frankenstein”.
The Best beaches in 5 terre are in Vernazza and Monterosso al mare.
Vernazza has a small and unique seaside. It is my favourite place in the Cinque Terre because aside from sunbathing and swimming, Vernazza’s beach is lovely to watch the fishermen in their colorful wooden boats.
Monterosso al mare is the Cinque Terre destination of choice for beach lovers. If you want to spend part at least of your trip sunbathing or swimming in the sea, you should maybe consider making this town your base.
Portovenere and the islands
Portovenere bay is one of my favourite spot. I love its harbor lined with pastel colored houses and its narrow medieval alleys with shops and boutiques. Once in Portovenere, it worth a trip to the small beautiful three islands: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
Baia dei Saraceni
It is the Baia dei Saraceni, a crescent shaped beach lapped by a sea of ever changing turquoise and emarald shades. The beach is actually just before you get to Varigotti coming from the Savona direction, and is hemmed in by rocks and gorgeous wooded hills. The warm shallow waters are a delight to swim and snorkel in.
Tellaro & Fiascherino
Not one beach but more than half-a-dozen in and around the area. It's a short walk outside of Fiascherino in the direction of Lerici. One warning though, getting to most beaches in the area (including this one) involves climbing up and down lots of stairs.
The Badger Tasso, Meles meles
Largely nocturnal, the black and white masked badger spends the day inside its burrow digging tunnels in the forest. It prefers to live where Maremma's forests are interspersed with open areas and meadows and feeds mainly on earthworms, but also small vertebrates such as moles, voles, frogs and small snakes, as well as fruit, bulbs and acorns.
They have an acute sense of smell, but can only see in black and white.
Their "tana" - den - may be home to more than one family and will be used for generations, each one tending to expand the galleries and tunnels a little more. And they sometimes share it with red foxes and rabbits, although the badger will throw out their guests if they become annoying or overstay their welcome!
Spot them at night-time crossing country roads.
The Edible, Dormouse Ghiro - Myoxus glis
The edible dormouse lives in Maremma's plains, hills and mountains, parks, gardens, orchards, and deciduous trees, especially oak trees. It can weigh up to 250 grams and grows up to 20 cm long with a 15 cm long tail.
It is a slim mouse with a round head and bulging eyes and a long, bushy tail. Its coat is a grey-brown colour, with a white to buff underbelly. Its tail is darker than that of the fur on its back.
It feeds mainly on plants and sometimes eggs and nestlings and spends much of its day in nests of birds that it has stolen or tree hollows.
It is a nocturnal mouse and it lives in family groups, but is not a very sociable animal. From October to April it goes into hibernation in holes in the soil to a depth of 50 to 60 cm in warm nests lined with plant material.
Its tail acts as a stabilizer when it is moving around, and is wrapped around its body when it is resting.
The Red, Fox Volpe - Vulpes vulpes
Maremma's red foxes hide in their own burrows or those of other animals they have usurped.
If undisturbed they walk at a tranquil trot, but if pursued they can run very fast with great endurance, jumping obstacles of every kind and swimming across fast flowing water, even of considerable width.
A great place to see them is the Parco Naturale della Maremma at Alberese, where this photo was taken.
They will eat almost any animal that they can kill, as well as insects, earthworms, fruit and poultry. And once they have found their food they very rarely give it up, even to larger stronger animals.
Their contact calls during the winter months of December to February are a "wow wow wow" sound - often mistaken for the territorial call of the tawny owl.
The Hare, Lepre - Lepus europaeus
Although hares have mainly nocturnal habits, you can oftenspot them in the middle of fields in Maremma during daylight. Weighing between 2.5 kg and 6kg, with a body length of up to 70 cm, they are readily distinguished from their rabbit "cousins" by their wonderful long ears.
Unlike the rabbit, the hare doesn't dig a burrow, bur prefers natural depressions in the ground for its lair. It eats grasses, roots and various vegetables, and in turn is eaten by foxes, buzzards, crows, and stray dogs and cats.
When it returns to its lair, the hare jumps the last length - up to three metres long - so as not to leave any tracks and shake off any following predators.
The hare is a runner of great resistance and speed, reaching up to 80 kilometers per hour. At its top speed it does a jump! of up to four metres.
The Hedgehog, Riccio - Erinaceus eurpaeus
The hedgehog is found all around Maremma in forests, forest edges, fields, parks, gardens, hedges, and bushes. It has a stout and round body with a mobile snout, pointed round eyes, and short rounded ears almost entirely hidden in its fur.
Its dense spines, each of which are attached to a muscle that allows it to stand them upright and lower them, are continually being shed and replaced.
It feeds on worms, snails, millipedes, beetles, frogs, small reptiles, young birds, mice, acorns, and berries. A solitary animal except during mating season, it is active from dusk until early morning moving a distance of between one and two kilometres. Did you know it is a good swimmer and climber?
When it feels in danger, the hedgehog rolls itself up, straightening its spines so that they intersect with each other forming a nearly impenetrable mass.
It has several dens during the summer and winter, and in its last one it hibernates from October to April. Its winter nest is made of grass and leaves, which give him better protection against intemperate weather conditions and lasts longer. When making his nest, the hedgehog collects a few leaves in his mouth at a time and places them where he intends to build. When he has as many he needs he starts adding each one to the centre of the structure, holding them steady with twigs. Once completed, he spins in circles flattening the leaves and forming walls thick as 10 cm deep.
The Pole Cat, Puzzola - Mustela putorius
You are most likely to see Maremma's pole cat in the forests and fields. But it also likes to live in houses, barns and stables.
It has an elongated body, with a flattened head, small eyes and small ears that slightly protrude from its thick reddish-brown fur, a long and bushy tail, and a black mask around his eyes like the raccoon. It is a slender animal with short legs and a hopping gait that is more effective and faster than it appears.
As a carnivore it prefers prey such as rodents and rabbits, even ones larger than itself, but in the event of shortage of food it will feed on insects and fruit even though it finds these difficult to digest. Its sense of vision, however, is not very acute and it mainly uses its sense of smell to hunt and kill prey.
The pole cat is a primarily nocturnal and solitary animal, although sometimes the female will go in search of food with her cubs during the day.
It has anal glands that emit a strong, unpleasant odour when it is excited or threatened.
The Crested Porcupine, Istrice - Hystrix Cristata
The crested porcupine is a nocturnal and monogamous animal that gets its name from the long black to grey quills that run along the top of its head, nape and down its back which it can raise - normally in defense when disturbed - into an impressive crest.
It is Italy's largest rodent measuring about 70 cm long and weighing up to 15 kg. A protected species and with no natural enemies, it is still relatively common, despite being victim to poachers.
Its back and sides are covered in long distinctive black and white striped spines which are sturdier than its shorter thicker body bristles and crest quills, but which aren't firmly attached. It is these, that if threatened at a short distance, the crested porcupine will attempt to stab into its opponent by charging backwards. Contrary to popular belief, the crested porcupine cannot launch its quills at a disturber.
The porcupine digs large burrows among rocks and tree stumps and feeds on plants, roots, tubers, fruits, and even gnaws the bark of trees.
I will never forget the first time I saw one of these magnificent animals: it was late in the evening on a drive back from Florence through the hills above Montieri and as we turned a bend there it was all lit up black and white and huge! So be advised. Take it slow on Maremma's roads at night.
Roe Deer, Capriolo - Capreolus capreolus
Found in Maremma's forests of mixed hardwoods with thick undergrowth, interspersed with meadows and cultivated fields.
A slender animal with an average weight of 25 kg and a height of approximately 70 cm to 80 cm. The roe deers coat in summer is a reddish in colour with lighter lower parts, changing in winter to a grey-brown.
It feeds on buds, leaves and grasses and in winter the tips of wood. Prefering in the spring and summer fodder grasses and legumes in particular. It is preyed upon by wolves, foxes, wild cats and the golden eagle.
You are most likely to see a female with her daughters at dusk feeding close to edges of Maremma's woodlands, but you can also see them in groups of about four to ten with the males in the Parco Naturale della Maremma.
The Stone Marten, Faina - Martes foina
The stone marten has primarily nocturnal habits. It lives alone or in a family that dissipates at the end of the training of its young to hunt for themselves. Capable of jumping, it climbs easily on trees and buildings but usually lives on the ground. It rarely swims.
A weak digger, it frequents cavities and the burrows of other animals and often takes refuge in the hollows of trees, or in sinuous rock crevices as well as in barns, attics and buildings that are not too crowded.
It feeds on various small animals such as insects, amphibians, birds and their eggs, mice, dormice, and domestic pets. And is capable of opening its jaw beyond a 90 degree angle allowing it to transport big prey and large eggs without breaking them.
It has scent glands located in its paws, on its belly and around the anal region, which it uses to mark its territory. It moves with an odd gait giving rise to a parallel set of fingerprints in which the trace of the hind legs coincides with that of the front.
It lives for between 5 to 10 years.
The Least Weasel, Donnola - Mustela nivalis
Maremma's weasel can be seen in many places; the plains, hills and mountains, in cultivated land, the forests, bushy areas, and in abandoned houses. It can weigh up to 150 grams and with its 7cm long tail reaches a length of up to 32 cm.
A slender animal, it has a dense, soft fur dominantly yellow-brown in colour, with a tail that is uniform in color and a white underbelly.
It feeds on rodents and also hares, rabbits, birds and their eggs, reptiles and amphibians. It is eaten by birds of prey and other carnivores. Mainly nocturnal, it is a very lively animal and lives solitary or in small family groups, taking refuge in burrows dug by other animals.
The nest is constructed of hay, straw and piles of stones and wood and can be found between tree roots and in their cavities.
Wild Boar, Cinghiale - Sus scrofa
The ancestor of domesticated pigs, Maremma's wild boar are covered with a thick bristly, usually greyish-brown, fur. As adults they can reach 80 to 90 cm in height and weigh between 50 and 180 kg.
Both the upper and lower incisors in the males form into the distinctive long upward bending tusks.
Active at dusk and at night, they are omnivorous and feed on berries, roots, tubers, acorns, beech nuts, fruits, and also snails, worms and insects, small vertebrates, eggs of birds that nest on the ground and dead animals.
They live in sounders of about twenty animals led by the eldest female sows. Adult males are solitary with the exception of during winter, when mating occurs. The piglets up until six months old have a reddish coat with yellow longitudinal stripes.
With more than 1.5 million hectares of protected areas (equal to 5% of the national terrain), the 24 Italian national parks make up the country’s green heart. Inside the protected areas nature and its life cycles are preserved and passed down from generation to generation by means of environmental education, initiatives and events that take place all year long.
From the high peaks of the Gran Sasso to the green coast of Circeo, the protected areas are ideal destinations for nature lovers, offering activities and sport amidst fresh air and beautiful sceneries.
Visiting these parks means jumping into an adventure rich in culture, traditions, gastronomy and artisanship, and seeing old borgoes, towers, castles and churches along the way.
The extraordinary biodiversity and the distinguishing characteristics of each protected area allow visitors to live unique and unforgettable experiences in every season.
Of the Bel Paese's parks, the National Park of Gran Paradiso stands out (Valle d'Aosta - Piedmont), established in 1922 and symbolized by its ibex.
Gran Paradiso is a certified Eden where one can enjoy a relaxing stay with family or friends, as well as athletic activity, local gastronomic traditions and educational activities for both children and adults. The singularity and incredible scientific, environmental and aesthetic value of some parks has been recognized by UNESCO, as in the case of the National Park of the Bellunesi Dolomites (in Veneto), a must for mountain lovers and enthusiasts of winter and summer sports alike.
The oldest of all the parks in the Appennine Mountains - in central Italy - certainly merits mention: The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, thanks to zoning of the three regions together, combines the preservation and development of highly-interesting species of fauna: the Golden Eagle, the Brown Marsican, wolves, ibex, and chambois are just some of the exemplars of all the animals that visitors can see.
hose who enjoy flora and plant life will revel in the thousands of native and rare species that surprise with their magnificent colors and perfumes: orchids, primroses, lilies, beech trees, live oaks, chestnut trees, red and white firs and spruces, myrtle and junipers – with a particular eye toward the ancient Casentinesi Forests (Emilia Romagna and Toscana) and the Umbra Forest. The Umbra is a remaining portion of a much larger millenary forest that once covered the Gargano Promontory (Apulia).
Moving further south one finds the largest of Italy’s parks, the National Park of Pollino (Calabria-Basilicata). Pollino boasts an immense floral inheritance and the Grotta del Romito, one of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in Europe, due to the discovery of human remains that date back more than 10,000 years.
Every protected area is endowed with excellent lodging structures ready to welcome guests with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. Hotels, B&Bs, room rents, hostels, agritourisms, camp sites and camper lots, all which function as launching-points for exploring national treasures: from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Castel del Monte (National Park of the High Murge Plateau), to places of faith, such as San Giovanni Rotondo (Gargano National Park); and from the ancient city of Paestum (in the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni) to the splendid beaches of La Maddalena (in Sardinia).
For those who get a thrill from sport and activity amidst intense nature, Italy’s national parks are gymnasiums in the great outdoors, flourishing natural beauties under the sky that welcome trekkers, rock-climbers, hang-gliders, horseback riders, cyclists, scuba-divers, windsurfers, canoeists, and those passionate for winter sports.