When I first started planning our honeymoon, I figured we’d fly from Lyon to Genoa for the start of our cruise. As I did more research, however, I was pleased to discover that the train would actually be quicker. I am a big proponent of train travel. I originally assumed we could hop on a flight to Genoa pretty easily, but all routes required a stopover in Zurich or Frankfurt, forcing a major detour. So instead we opted to spend the day on the train. Not only would it be cheaper, we’d arrive earlier & the train station would be a few metro stops away from our airbnb rental in the historic district. Our train would leave Lyon a little bit earlier, but since we wouldn’t have to travel out to the airport, we’d actually leave our rental later. Perfect!
|View from the train
Our train made a couple of stops along the way, first in Chambéry & then in Turin. We had a couple hours in Turin & when we arrived at Turin Porta Susa, I thought we were in for a pretty boring stopover. There weren’t a whole lot of amenities going on. I pulled out our tickets to double check the time we were leaving at & quickly realized we were supposed to leave from Turin Porta Nuova. They’d sold us tickets that had a different departure station than the one we’d arrived in. I swear Italian train travel is always an adventure! We quickly purchased tickets from a surly ticket agent & ran to catch our new train, only to get kicked off due to technically difficulties. A friendly university student pointed us towards the metro – it turns out we could have done this all along. Thanks, Mr Ticket Agent.
Our host in Genoa had given us very simple instructions to his apartment in the centre. We had arranged to meet him when he got off work, but arrived a bit early so we grabbed a drink in the shadow of the cathedral around the corner from his place.
|Drinks in the square by the Cathedrale
Maurizio welcomed us into his beautiful attic apartment & gave us suggestions for how to spend our evening. He pointed out the important sights, his favourite restaurants, & the best gelato on a map. We didn’t have long so he made sure to give us a manageable list, which we definitely appreciated. This kind of hospitality is what truly makes airbnb my new favourite service.
We set out for the old quarter, map in hand. Luckily, this historic area is quite compact & it only took us about 10 minutes to get there. The buildings here are so different from those in France. With mostly flat facades, they’ve painted columns & art to mimic different types of architecture. We both found it quite beautiful. Maurizio had suggested a gelato shop up the hill. He told us it was his favourite place to get get granita. We opted for gelato & happened to accidentally time it perfectly for the sunset. The little shop is located on the spianata Castelletto, overlooking the port city. You can take the funicular up from the old district or find your way up the maze of stairs, like we did.
We decided to have dinner in another spot recommended by our host. Conveniently located around the corner from our apartment, Cantine Squarafico is a romantic little spot with a great menu, helpful & friendly staff, & a wonderful atmosphere in an underground setting. Our server spoke perfect english & recommended a beautiful local wine. It was exactly what we were looking for & started things off on the right foot. It doubles as a wine store, so if you’re not looking for dinner, I’d recommend stopping in to take a look at their wine selection. If you do decide to eat here, go for the lobster taglioni. It was by far our favourite part of the meal – we’d decided to share our appetizers & found ourselves fighting for more lobster. We could have ordered one each.
We capped off the evening with a wander through the summer market in the Porto Antico and a beer on our spectacular rooftop terrace. They had built a little terrace right into the tile rooftop. Our host brought us some lanterns & we sat at the little table, enjoying our beer & the impressive view. Most of the buildings are quite short so we had an unobstructed view of our surroundings, including the nearby port & Cathedral next door. It was gorgeous.
|Interesting restaurant in the Old Port
|Our terrace in daylight
|& the view at night
I didn’t have any expectations for Genoa so it was a pleasant surprise to find we enjoyed our short time there so much. The friendly people, beautiful sights, & incredible food make it a very worthwhile destination. I wouldn’t hesitate to book another few days to explore a little further.