In the heart of the Italian Riviera, the medieval port town of Genoa is famous not only as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, but also for its regal heritage. Here are our picks for the city’s must-see palaces.
Ponte Spinola, Genova, 16126
Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the biosphere (aka La Bolla or The Bubble) is just 65 feet (20 meters) across, but contains a wealth of tropical animals and plants. The internal temperature and humidity are regulated by a computerized system to maintain optimal living conditions for the resident scarlet ibis, and the lush orchids, tree ferns, passionflowers, and other species.
Take a break from Genoa’s busy Porto Antico and step into this quiet world-within-a-world, included in combo tickets along with other attractions such as the Genoa Aquarium.
Things to Know Before You Go
It takes only a few minutes to visit La Biosfera before or after the port’s headliner, the aquarium.
Photography without flash is allowed inside the biosphere.
Children must be attended in order to enter.
The biosphere is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
La Biosfera is a 15-minute walk from the Genova Piazza Principe train station. From the cruise port, take the metro toward Genova Brignole and get off at the San Giorgio station.
When to Get There
The attractions on Porto Antico can be very crowded on the weekend and during the summer. Go in the morning or late afternoon for fewer people.
The Genoa Aquarium
The largest in Europe, the Genoa Aquarium is the city’s crown jewel, home to 600 species of marine animals from across the globe, populating more than 70 exhibits. With rare aquatic mammals like manatees as well as crowd-pleasers like seals, penguins, dolphins, and sharks, the aquarium is a must for animal lovers.
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- Aquarium of Genoa
- Piazza Caricamento
- Via San Lorenzo
- Dialogue in the Dark Exhibition (Dialogo nel Buio)
- Genoa Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo)
- Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
- Basilica of Santa Maria di Castello (Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello)
- Palazzo Bianco
- Palazzo Rosso
- Royal Palace Museum (Museo di Palazzo Reale)
- Palazzi dei Rolli
- Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)
- Spianata Castelletto
- Piazza de Ferrari