Genoa for children
The small steps of children are perfect to walk the streets of Genoa and run through the typical small alleys, caressed by the breeze during the strolls in the Porto Antico. There are many places to visit, most of them can be found near the city centre and others are on the east or west coast and can be reached in a short time.
Starting from the Train Station of Genova Principe, the first story we want to tell is the one of the Pilgrims that left from Genoa in the Middle Ages to reach the Holy Land and visit the birthplace of Jesus. As they waited for the ships to sail to Jerusalem, they stopped at the Commenda di Prè, where pilgrims, chevaliers and sailors will tell you the stories of their adventures at sea.
If you love sailors stories, the right place to visit is the Galata Museo del Mare: were you will find ships, navigators, mariners and explorers during the centuries of the city history. You can try to board on a galley or a brigantine, feel the thrill of driving a boat during a storm, discover how the ships of the Genoese fleet changed during the centuries.
Now you can choose to get in the labyrinth of caruggi (the alleys of the city centre) through the porta di Santa Fede or dei Vacca, or go straight towards the sea. As you cross the Porta dei Vacca, which is almost one thousand years old, you will find a strange small square with a fountain, where the rich Vacca or Vacchero family lived. They were accused of betraying the Republic of Genoa: as punishment, their residence was destoyed and replaced by the fountain; there is also a stone that warns other families against imitating the actions of the Vacchero family.
If you head to the seafront, you will catch sight of the Acquario di Genova, where you can admire 15000 animals, with more than 400 species of fishes, marine mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, through a journey to discover the marine environment of the planet and its inhabitants.
In the Porto Antico area, you can find children areas, such as the Città dei Bambini, (temporarily closed) where children from 2 to 12 years old can make “small and big” discoveries, getting closer to science and technology on a funny way; or the De Amicis Library, specialised in books and activities for children and teenagers.
Before leaving the Porto Antico, if you do not suffer from vertigo, you can try the Bigo, the panoramic lift which will bring you 40 meters high for a wonderful view over the city.
Another nice point of interest is Spianata Castelletto, that you can reach with a lift: in fact, Genoa is a hilly city and the its people have often built lifts and funicolars for public transport functions to reduce the effort of climbing hills! You see, even a famous poet said that the Castelletto lift is the road to Paradise! Sure there must be a great view from there!
Going down from Castelletto, in Via Garibaldi, which once was called Strada Nuova or Strada Aurea (that means “made of gold”), you will find the Genoese marvellous noble palaces. If you happen to visit Palazzo Rosso or Palazzo Bianco, you will be able to see luxurious furniture, gilded decorations and portrays of magnificent gentlemen and princesses in their precious dresses! These palaces are so wonderful that the Unesco (the International Organization that protects cultural heritage all around the world) declared them to be a World Heritage site: that is to say that, they are a precious treasure for every human being! There are 42 spectacular palaces in the city of Genoa.
In Genoa there is also a castle, that looks like it came out of a fairytale: the Castello D’Albertis. To reach it, you can take another special lift from via Balbi, called Montegalletto. It moves like a funicolar for the first part of the itinerary, but then changes its direction and becomes a proper lift. The castle has towers, battlements and secret passages; it has a large park with a beautiful view on Genoa and, moreover, it hosts a wonderful museum, dedicated to the culture of different countries around the world.
Speaking of towers, in the city you can visit the most scary one: the Torre Grimaldina, in Palazzo Ducale. Once it was the dungeon of the ancient Republic of Genoa, where the traitors of the State were imprisoned!
Who is the most famous Genoese in the world? Cristoforo Colombo, of course! In Genoa, you can visit his family home, near to the medieval tower of Porta Soprana.
A proper sailor would not miss the visit to a real lighthouse: the Genoese Lanterna of Genoa, has helped ships entering the port since the Middle Ages. Inside the lighthouse, installations and video clips tell the stories of the port of Genoa.
And the animals? To know everything about mammals, reptiles, fish, insects but also on botanical collections, minerals, rocks and fossils, the stage is at the Museum of Natural History "G. Doria".
Even if this cultural and historic tour was funny, it is time to play, and for that Genoa offers you beautiful parks and beaches! There are many green areas where you can lie down, play or roll on the grass, but it is also nice to reach the sea and sit on the cobblestones of beaches, looking at the horizon and listening to the sound of the waves.