Genova, the capital of Liguria, stretches along the bay of the same name from Voltri to the west as far as Nervi to the east, while the hinterland area takes in the lower parts of the Polcevera and Bisagno Valleys.
The original nucleus of the city, which already existed in pre-Roman times, developed around the Mandraccio wharf area and on Castello Hill, which overlooks it. In the ninth century, the Genoese built the first town walls and laid the foundations for the development of shipping and sea-trading, which would eventually make the Republic of Genova a Mediterranean sea power and create a dominion stretching across the entire region of Liguria. From the nineteenth century onwards, the great city port was flanked by large industrial areas. The old town district is one of the largest in Europe, and hosts several top touristic attractions, including:
- remarkable artistic and architectural treasures, including the Palazzi dei Rolli, a series of aristocracy prestigious palaces mostly located in Strada Nuova, nowadays via Garibaldi; Palazzi dei Rolli and Strade Nuove have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List;
- the old port area Porto Antico with the aquarium, one of the largest exhibition of aquatic biodiversity in Europe;
- cathedral of San Lorenzo, the most important church in Genova, built around the year 1098;
- several interesting collections, exhibitions and galleries.
In addition to offering a wealth of cultural attractions, Genova is a fascinating destination for tourists, with its scenic vantage points that can be reached with many cableways, sea promenades, aristocratic villas and of course the Riviera to the east and west, both easy to reach: Portovenere and Le Cinque Terre (also UNESCO World Heritage Sites), Portofino, its surrounding protected area and Camogli to the east and Alassio, Sanremo, Bordighera to the west.
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