After 6 days in the South of France (see here and here) I headed for Italy! My first stop in Italy was Genoa and I took the train from Cannes. This journey took about 4 hours 30 minutes and involved taking two different trains. I spent this time learning some basic Italian phrases to get me by which I found came in very useful and the locals appreciated my Italian manners!
I decided to stay in Genoa for a night because I didn’t want to spend the whole day on the train plus I thought it would be a good place to do laundry (which was not the case!). This may be obvious to some but make sure you have at least 15 euro in coins before going to a laundrette. Aside from getting lost in what I can only describe as the Genovian Ghetto (be prepared that Google Maps does not work in old town Genoa, it might be better to use the ‘maps.me’ app as you do not need 3G to use it once you have downloaded the map of the city you are in. Unfortunately for me I only learned of this app a few weeks into my trip!
Genoa was a pretty cool place to wander around but for me it definitely was not the best Italian city I visited so if you do not have a lot of time I would leave it out. That being said the architecture is interesting and there are loads of cute hidden courtyards around the city. One such ‘courtyard’ turned out to be the entrance to the police station but, if you can, check it out because this is the prettiest one I came across (check it out on my first ‘Italy’ highlight on Instagram here). I know a lot of people I met afterwards in hostels visited some historical forts and walls in Genoa so if you are interested in that you could check it out.
As it was my first day in Italy I decided to quite literally eat my way through the day, and I proceeded to take this approach for the full 18 days I spent in this amazing country – the food is incomparable! While I may not have regretted a single calorie my waistline certainly did!
First on my list was Gelato, I went to the Fruit & Ice Cream Factory and can highly recommend this gelato bar but I have a feeling they are almost all good – I for one have never heard anyone say they got some bad gelato!
Second thing on my list was focaccia (my new all-time favourite food!). Focaccia is an Italian flatbread baked with olive oil and salt – need I say any more. To begin I got some plain focaccia, so just with olive oil and salt and then also tried focaccia with tomato and basil. It is super tasty, super fresh and super cheap so make sure to try it (everywhere in Italy you go, not just Genoa!). It was worth making the effort to buy this bread in a Focacceria and not just in a supermarket as it tastes much better and is usually served warm! Here is the one I went to, it was so cute and I’m pretty sure I was served by Titti and Fede!
Now even after all the foccacia I just HAD to try Pizza on my first day. I think fate brought me to a restaurant called Strakkino because here I had the best pizza I have ever eaten. I ate some sort of cheese and pasta based pizza which was cooked without yeast. It was so delicious I’m hungry thinking about it, there is no point in even trying to describe how good it was, all I can say is definitely visit here for this pizza if you are in Genoa!
Feeling satisfyingly full I headed back to my hostel where I fell into a deep food coma! I stayed in a really cheap but central hostel for the night called Ostellin. This place is perfect for one night if you want to explore the city for the day without taking trains or buses. They also do a ‘house’ dinner every evening for around 5 euro and the hostel has full cooking facilities for guests.
The next day I took a train down to La Spezia for three days to hike Cinque Terre, this turned out to be the best experience of my whole 5 week trip, which I will cover it in a separate post. Be sure to check out my Instagram feed and highlights for more of Genoa!