Genoa is located in north west Italy. Christopher Columbus hailed from Genoa “the Proud,” which enjoys one of the most illustrious maritime histories in all of Italy. It also features the largest medieval city center in Europe as well as Renaissance palaces that once enthralled Rubens and Van Dyck. From here, you can take an excursion to Milan, Italy’s vibrant epicenter of fashion, business and the arts, to feast your eyes on The Last Supper and tour the grand opera house of La Scala.
Places to visit include the Old Port with it’s impressive Acquario di Genoa (Aquarium) and Genoa Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral founded probably in the 5th or 6th century AD, devoted to Saint Sirus, bishop of Genoa.
The Palazzi dei Rolli is a group of palaces in Genoa, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage listed.
Santa Maria di Castello is a church and religious complex located in the Castello hill of the city, where a Roman fortress existed. It was erected before 900 AD.
A well known and popular promenade known as ‘Anita Garibaldi’ starts from the port of Nervi and ends at Capolungo port, around 2km away.
The village of Boccadasse is enclosed in a narrow bay, at the eastern side the cape of Santa Chiara with a castle (a new building in the style of a medieval castle) on the western side the rocks, and in the middle, a tiny cobblestone beach where the fisherman’s boats rest. It is a popular tourist spot.
Genoa typically serves as a port of embarkation or disembarkation, so it isn’t often given high priority as a shore excursion. Enjoy a day here before or after your cruise. It’s worth it.
Genoa is so completely Italian, especially in the historic center, and surprisingly little English is spoken. Ships dock in the main harbor in the middle of the city’s waterfront, close to almost any attraction and just a few minutes from the main (Principe) train station. Genoa is built on a hillside, so there is some climbing, but the waterfront alone has enough attractions to fill a half day for those with mobility issues.
Along the waterfront is the Galata Museum del Mar (Museum of the Sea). This is a large, modern, very enjoyable museum that is worth at least an hour or two. It is an easy walk/roll along the waterfront for either (or both) the maritime museum or the modern aquarium. Even if you do not enter the aquarium, there is a floating park at the end of its pier, with good views of the ship and the city.
You can tour Portofino and Santa Margharita on our own via train. Highly recommend visiting Santa Margharita as Portofino is crowded, expensive and touristy while Santa Margharita is a bit quieter (but still touristy).
The disabled cruiser visiting Genoa wouldn’t regard Genoa as very wheelchair-friendly. In particular, the old town rises quite steeply from the harbor-front, and has a lot of passageways with steps. If you stick to the ‘main’ roads you’ll probably be OK.
Cruise liners dock at the western edge of the old town, near to the Galata Museo del Mare, the Commenda di Pre and the Villa del Principe. But most attractions are further away, and the main shopping streets are a long way away, on the opposite side of the city and up the hill. The main shopping area of Genoa is flat and suitable for a wheelchair. However, you may encounter steps to get into some of the shops.
Accessible taxi service by Prenotaxi is now available in Genoa, Italy. The company has a fleet of rear entry ramped vans that can carry two wheelchairs and four additional passengers. The vans also have robotic boarding seats for passengers who would like to transfer, but cannot manage steps. Service is available at Genoa Airport, Savona and La Spezia cruise terminals, and all railway stations in Genoa and Milan.
If you are in need of a wheelchair or scooter in port there is a company that specializes in providing scooters and wheelchairs at cruise ports, including Genoa. Since it looks like an American company, and they are likely acting as an agent for some local provider.
Points of Interest
- Cinque Terre – The Five Lands, a string of coastal villages linked by the sea, are part of a national park and World Heritage Site. Stroll through the quaint streets and take in a plethora of cultural sights.
- Santa Margherita – One of the premier destinations on the Riviera, Santa Margherita rose to prominence with the arrival of the English in the 19th century. Enjoy the lively shops and stroll along the seaside promenade.
- San Lorenzo Cathedral – Founded in the 5th century, this Romanesque pillared basilica was remodeled in Gothic style. Inside, see splendid artwork and the earliest example of Renaissance architecture in Genoa.
- Via Garibaldi – Cutting through the city’s historic center, narrow Via Garibaldi is flanked by magnificent landmarks including the ornate Ducal Palace, home to a splendid art collection and cultural exhibits.
- Chiesa del Gesu – This 16th century former Jesuit church is situated near Palazzo Ducale in the heart of Genoa. The Baroque building houses paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and frescoes illuminated by bronze chandeliers.
- Milan – Visit Milan, the most important city in northern Italy.
- Portofino – Experience La Dolce Vita when you visit picturesque Portofino, known as the playground of the rich and famous. Explore the colorful streets and historic sites and browse the luxury designer boutiques.
- Rapallo – Guarded by a stately 16th-century castle, the largest Riviera resort has a wonderful seaside promenade. Ride the cable car to the top of Montallegro for beautiful views of the gulf and the hills.
Genoa Accessible Excursions
When most people think about visiting Italy, they think of Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. Few people think about visiting Genoa, but there really is so much Italian culture and medieval history to experience here.
Best of Italian Riviera Accessible Driving Tour
Your 8 hour accessible driving tour of the Italian Riviera will begin when your guide and driver pick you up from the cruise terminal in a wheelchair accessible van that visits Genoa, Santa Margherita, and Portofino. You will begin in Genoa where you will see the Palazzi dei Rolli, a group of palaces and mansions used by prominent Genoese families during the time of the Republic of Genoa.
You will also see the Piazza de Ferrari, the heart of the modern town, as it compares to the “carruggi” or narrow alleys of the Historical City Center, which is also one of the best preserved old city centers in Europe.
The next stop on your Italian Riviera accessible driving tour is Santa Margherita Ligure, which you will get to by driving along the scenic coastal roads through Recco, where you will have a very wide panoramic view of the Tigullio Gulf, and great photo opportunities.
Once in Santa Margherita Ligure, you will have lunch in an accessible Italian restaurant before visiting the Waterfront Promenade harbor and fish market. Afterwards your guide will take you to the Villa Durrazo, a 17th century estate and botanical gardens. Then enjoy the next stop on the tour, the Basilica of Santa Margherita of Antioch, with its stunning Baroque interior. You will also have the option to visit an accessible beach in Santa Margherita Ligure.
The final stop on your accessible Italian Riviera driving tour is Portofino, where you will drive through the Portofino Regional National Park, home to one of the world’s largest concentration of Mediterranean flora, including olive trees and chestnut trees. Walk/roll along the seaside promenade to see the picturesque shops and luxury yachts in the harbor.
At the end of your Italian Riviera accessible driving tour, your guide and driver will drop you back off at the cruise terminal.
The Best of Italian Riviera Accessible Driving Tour uses a wheelchair accessible van and follows a step-free route. You will encounter mild cobblestones and the guides are unable to push a wheelchair.
Highlights of Genoa Accessible Cruise Excursion
Seeing Genoa with a lively commentary by an officially-certified, English-speaking tour guide means you will be able to make the most of your day in this beautiful city that has so much to offer. This 8 hour accessible cruise excursion includes scenery, medieval architecture, and art. See some of Genoa’s most impressive artwork “hidden” above the doors of several buildings around the city, have lunch in an authentic accessible Italian restaurant recommended by the local guide, take photos from a spectacular panoramic viewpoint, and much more on the Highlights of Genoa Accessible Cruise Excursion.
Your guide and driver will pick you up from the cruise terminal in a wheelchair accessible van to begin your accessible Genoa cruise excursion. Start by taking a panoramic drive along the Hillside Ring-Road and Castelletto esplanade which overlooks the old town. You will have the opportunity to get out and take photos from some spectacular viewpoints.
Some of Italy’s best preserved medieval architecture is right here in Genoa’s historical city center. Just a few of the medieval sites you will see include the Genoa Cathedral, the Piazza San Matteo, Piazza Caricamento, Palazzi dei Rolli, Piazza de Ferrari and much more.
About midday, you will stop for lunch in an accessible authentic Italian restaurant before continuing your accessible cruise excursion of Genoa. Finish the day by exploring the Old Port area of town, seeing the house of Christopher Columbus (who was born in Genoa), and taking more photos from other panoramic viewpoints around town before your guide and driver return you to the cruise terminal.
The Highlights of Genoa Accessible Cruise Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and follows a step-free route. You will encounter mild to moderate cobblestones and the guides are unable to push a wheelchair.
Classic Genoa Accessible Walking Tour
The Classic Genoa Accessible Walking Tour combines the best of new and old town Genoa. This 4 hour accessible tour of Italy’s sixth largest city follows a step-free route where you will learn about Italy’s largest port city, and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus as your expert guide takes you to all the must-see highlights.
Your guide and driver will pick you up from the cruise terminal in a wheelchair accessible van to begin your accessible walking tour of Genoa. From there you will see the historical city center, which includes some of the best preserved medieval architecture in Italy (better than Rome, Florence or Venice). The fabulous Palazzi dei Rolli, is a group of mansions once used by important Genoese families during the time of the Republic of Genoa, your guide will show you the most impressive of these palaces and tell you the histories surrounding those who inhabited them.
You will also walk/roll down Via XXV, the famous shopping street before reaching the Piazza de Ferrari, the heart of modern Genoa. Here you will see the spectacular restored fountain as well as several historical buildings that surround the Piazza. One of these important historical sites is the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace. Walk/roll through the courtyards and view the spectacular façades of this 13th century palace.
Afterwards, you will go by the Genoa Cathedral, which was founded around the 5th century AD. Along the way, your guide will point out the intricate ornamental panels and relief sculptures on the corners of buildings and above doorways. These are some the most stunning works of art in the city, and the only way to see them is to be shown by a guide, because there is no map that marks their location.
At the end of your accessible Genoa walking tour, you will have lunch in an accessible Italian restaurant before your driver returns you to the cruise terminal.
The Classic Genoa Accessible Walking Tour uses a wheelchair accessible van and follows a step-free route that will use some of the flattest, smoothest streets in Genoa. However, you may still encounter mild to moderate cobblestones especially in the older parts of town. Your guide will avoid rougher cobblestones, However, the guides are unable to push a wheelchair.