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Genoa, Italy

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Genoa Downtown

Genoa Downtown

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Duomo di San Lorenzo

Duomo di San Lorenzo

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Genoa Beach

Genoa Beach

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Genoa (Genova in Italian) was the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, but the city's proud history predates that explorer by hundreds of years. Genoa was already an important trading station by the 3rd century BC, when the Romans conquered Liguria. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance saw it rise to become a jumping-off place for the Crusaders, a commercial center of tremendous wealth and prestige, and a strategic bone of international contention. A network of fortresses defending the city connected by a wall second only in length to the Great Wall of China was constructed in the hills above, and Genoa's bankers, merchants, and princes adorned the city with palaces, churches, and impressive art collections.Crammed into a thin crescent of land between sea and mountains, Genoa expanded up rather than out, taking on the form of a multilayer wedding cake, with churches, streets, and entire residential neighborhoods built on others' rooftops. Public elevators and funiculars are as common as buses and trains.But with its impressive palaces and museums, the largest medieval city center in Europe, and an elaborate network of ancient hilltop fortresses, Genoa may be just the dose of culture you're looking for. Europe's biggest boat show, the annual Salone Nautico Internazionale, is held here. Fine restaurants are abundant, and classical dance and music are richly represented. The Teatro Carlo Felice is the local opera venue, and where the internationally renowned annual Niccolò Paganini Violin Contest takes place.

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Things You Can't Miss

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Walk the Harbor Walk
Walk the Harbor Walk

Thanks to star architect and native son Renzo Piano, the Porto Antico has been transformed into a bustling, tree-lined promenade.

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Image Credit

Look/Getty Images

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Imagine Being a Guest at the Palazzi dei Rolli
Imagine Being a Guest at the Palazzi dei Rolli

These lavish Renaissance and Baroque palaces, where the wealthy entertained visiting dignitaries, have been named UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Image Credit

DeAgostini/Getty Images

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Zebra-Striped Marble: Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Zebra-Striped Marble: Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

A patchwork of Gothic and Renaissance styles, the city’s only cathedral houses a bowl said to be the Holy Grail. Up the street: the huge Ducal Palace.

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Image Credit

Yadid Levy/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

article
7 Safety Tips for Traveling Alone

Traveling solo? Follow these safety tips when going places on your own.

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Explore the City’s Seafaring History
Explore the City’s Seafaring History

The Galata Museo del Mare, the Aquarium and the tropical Biosphere suspended over the water trumpet Genoa’s pride in its maritime heritage.

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Image Credit

Joana Kruse/Alamy

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Grand and Historic Castles Around the Globe

From Scotland to Japan, 10 beautiful residences fit for a king and queen.

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Eat on the Run
Eat on the Run

Insiders know that hole-in-the-wall shops along the Via di Sottoripa serve freshly baked foccacia and great sandwiches to grab and go — at great prices.

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Getty Images

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Fly Through Airport Security

Learn easy packing tips for TSA rules and regulations with this airport security information.

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Take a Boat Trip Up the Coast
Take a Boat Trip Up the Coast

Pastel-splashed fishing villages and chic resorts — San Fruttuoso, Portofino and San Remo — are easy side trips on the Italian Riviera.

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Image Credit

Hemis/Alamy

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Watch People at Piazza delle Erbe
Watch People at Piazza delle Erbe

This square in the medieval quarter morphed from gritty to glitzy. Order a Campari and watch the young and not-so-young out on the town.

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Image Credit

Lonely Planet Images /Getty Images

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