Genoa, birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbus, was built around its port, once the most important harbors of the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to its rich past, part of the old town became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006, whilst the city itself was European Capital of Culture in 2004.
The heart of Genoa is made up of narrow streets and alleys called 'caruggi'. The city boasts many baroque buildings, ornate churches and Renaissance palaces, as well as the oldest European lighthouse. Palazzo Bianco houses paintings by Rubens and Caravaggio, while Palazzo Rosso has many gems including works by Van Dyck and Veronese.
A popular attraction in Genoa is the Aquarium, one of the largest in Europe. The Old Harbour (Porto Antico), next to the Aquarium, is an entertainment area with museums, cinemas, cafés and also a beautiful promenade along the sea. From luxury boutiques to department stores, independent food shops to antique dealers, Genoa has a huge range of retail options.
The 36,703 capacity Stadio Luigi Ferraris plays host to two local soccer teams, Genoa and Sampdoria. The rivals compete at the Derby della Lanterna (The Derby of the Lighthouse), one of the most anticipated events for sports fans.
Genoa is renowned for its delicious food: pesto sauce and focaccia originate here, while fish and seafood take pride of place on many restaurants’ menus.
Genoa Airport serves Rome, Naples, Bari and Palermo, as well as airports in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
Genoa is a popular destination for cruise ships, and ferries operate to and from Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Barcelona and Tunisia. There are frequent train services from Milan, Rome and the south of France to Genoa's two main train stations, Piazza Principe and Brignole. The local bus network, operated by AMT, serves the whole city, and a single metro line connects Genoa with the suburb of Rivarolo. A number of public elevators and cable railways connect the center with the neighborhoods on the surrounding hills.
The national health service in Italy, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), provides residents with free or at least low-cost healthcare, and standards of care in north Italy are generally high. Expats who are EU nationals can take advantage of reciprocal health agreements which makes access to public healthcare in Italy easy. Non-EU expats need to formally register for the SSN. Expats who have their residence status finalized and have an Italian identity card are then able to apply for an Italian health insurance card. Those wanting to claim benefits for their families will require a family status certificate.