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What really strikes tourists in Genoa is undoubtedly the city’s all-pervading liveliness.
During the day, visitors can admire the glittering windows of the most prestigious shops in town - great designers and historic world-class craftsmen’s shops are real temptation for all shopping-lovers. There are also, obviously, department stores and brand-new malls, as well as many small markets with stalls offering a wide range of items, from antiques to typical local specialities.
And then a multitude of small, ancient historical shops holding real treasures of ancient objects, workshops of creative, dynamic craftsmen proposing unique and precious works, such asmezzari (printed cotton spreads) and silver filigree objects, all the way to tasty surprises that can be found in historic patisseries.
Genoese sweet specialities are a real triumph of tastes and smells: from candied flowers to rose cordial, from the most surprising and original chocolates to rare, delicious delicacies like pasta di altea (marshmallows) and cinnamon sugar-coated sweets, whose unique flavours remind of magic Eastern tastes.
Genoa is also increasingly lively from a cultural viewpoint, thanks to its drama theatres - which boast interesting calendars ranging from classical to avant-guard theatre, as well as performances for children - and the Opera Theatre Carlo Felice, a real gem of state-of-the-art technology and a prestigious venue for the city’s classical music and opera season.
Besides being an increasingly favourite filming location for the cinema and the advertising sectors, Genoa has its own long-standing cinema culture and traditions: a film was indeed screened for the first time in Genoa as early as in 1886, in the historic Sala Silvori. Today, the city can boast a wide range of cinemas, Cineplex and multiscreen cinemas, and cinema clubs scattered throughout the town. Moreover, many events and festivals are held, devoted to this unique form of art.
Genoa’s excellent climate – generally mild throughout the year – makes it very pleasant to hang out in the many bars and cafés scattered around the town. From breakfast through late-afternoon pre-dinner drinks, these places are constantly crowded.
The nights in Genoa are lively and cheerful: lots of people literally “invade” the old town streets, where all kinds of places have opened over the last few years: American bars, pubs, blues clubs, piano bars, cabarets, and places featuring all sorts of live music, from jazz to rap, from fusion to singer-songwriters music.
Also the promenade of Corso Italia is lined with charming night clubs overlooking the sea. In summer, private beaches host shows or turn into music clubs.
There are also, obviously, disco clubs, often featuring wonderful outdoor terraces. And then “trendy” clubs with music and “off” theatre performances, for anyone looking for some unusual nights out.
Wonderful opportunities to celebrate or simply to take part in really unique events are also offered by what can probably be defined as true local heritage: Genoese traditions.
Many traditional celebrations take place in town during the year – from religious ones, like the processions held by religious confraternities to celebrate St. John the Baptist, to purely historical ones, such as the impressive historical parade for the Italian Ancient Maritime Republics Regatta; Genoa has also long-standing traditions as regards nativity scenes, and the decoration of the “Altars of the Deposition” during the Holy Week; not to mention the celebrations devoted to Christopher Columbus, those for the Birth of St. John the Baptist – the city’s Patron Saint -, and many other festivals and events with typical food specialities.
Genoa also offers a lot to sport lovers in all seasons. Thanks to the city’s unique location, you can practice both land and sea sports: from windsurf to golf, from swimming to cycling and sailing, and even ice skating, on a wonderful winter ice-skating ring surrounded by the sea.
And let us not forget the many different facilities where you can both practice or watch sports like athletics, soccer, bowls and water polo. Genoa is no doubt a wonderful city to enjoy and discover throughout the year and throughout the day and the night.