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Genoa’s palaces and alleyways stacked up precipitous hillsides fulfil many foreign visitors’ fantasy image of Italy. But despite many art treasures, a dramatic waterside setting and restaurants serving some of the country’s best food, Italy’s busiest port is still somewhat under the tourist radar, both for foreigners and Italians.

Genoa’s central Via Garibaldi is one of Europe’s grandest streets, filled with baroque buildings including the Palazzo Rosso, a palace housing paintings by former Genoa residents Rubens and Van Dyck. Down on the waterfront, you’ll find the Corso Italia promenade’s ice cream parlours, the local produce of the Mercato Orientale covered market and the Boccadasse neighbourhood’s village-like marina and tiny rocky beach. The overall effect is of a mix of beauty and grit, reminiscent of Barcelona 30 years ago.

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