Boutiques, dressmaker’s and tailor’s workshops, luxury stores, large shopping centres, beautiful historic shops (which have been in business for at least 50 years and often a few centuries!): many are the places in town where you can have a wild time looking for whatever object or food takes your fancy.
Genoa is a great place for shopping, with the city centre‘s shops catering for all tastes and ages. Indeed, the city gives plenty of space to young people’s fashion, high couture, baby’s clothes, both casual and smart, and to countless and extremely colourful toy shops.
Ample choice is also available for avant-garde design enthusiasts, while the charmingly traditional antiques shops and art galleries are the ideal hunting ground for those looking for small and big treasures. There is a large variety of mega-stores specialising in books, records and high-tech products, as well as plentiful musical instruments shops, old shops and stalls selling antique books.
Genoa has also a very important craftsmanship tradition.
There are also plenty of occasions to discover the local products and the organic offer on the Genoese culinary scene, such as the frequent markets and fairs, where it is possible to find unusual specialities like the so-called corzetti – a type of pasta from the Val Polcevera, which is great served with Pesto from Prà – and the local cheeses and wines.
And then the chocolate! It can safely be said that the Genoese chocolatiers can be incredibly creative with their art. How to resist a .... basil-scented chocolate? Or a cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg-scented one for that matter?
Just like Salzburg, which has dedicated a delicious praline to its native Mozart, Genoa too has chosen to honour its great violin player Niccolò Paganini, by creating a chocolate with his name.
Or discover the fragrance of the pasta di altea (marshmallow), the colourful and wonderfully-scented candied flowers and fruit, the ample variety of bonbons and sugar-coated sweets, with their rosolio liqueur, almond, cinnamon, chocolate and aniseed cores.
The so-called mezzari (printed cotton spreads), for example, are a typical product of the Genoese soft furnishing industry and trace their roots to the city’s old relations with the Orient dating back to the first two decades of the 18th century. Since then, the mezzaro has become an integral part of many Genoese homes. Typical designs include the ‘old tree’, ‘the chestnut tree’, ‘the minaret’ and ‘the roses’, with their bold colours.
The presence of the nearby Val Fontanabuona, with its abounding slate quarries, has fostered the traditional working of this typically dark-grey material. Its wide-spread usage can still be observed when admiring the old Genoese palazzi, although nowadays it is used for many more applications, including design and furniture pieces.
The skill of Genoese craftsmen stands out also in other areas, such as the production of filigree, in both gold and silver. Indeed, Genoa and the surrounding territory, especially Campo Ligure, have created a unique way of interpreting jewellery.
Genoa knows well how to tease the taste buds and its confectionery and chocolate-making traditions are indeed age old. To this day, the numerous historic shops – many of which boast centuries-long experience - offer unusual delicacies steeped in the flavour of bygone times. It is especially worth tasting the rose cordial, which was once regarded as a medicinal preparation for cough.
Velvet is another textile product worth of note, with earliest evidence dating from the 16th century. The elegance, as well as the quality of both the designs and the silks, make it, to this day, a product of true excellence.
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(thanks to Association of Hoteliers)