Genova is a wonderful city: the mild climate, the breath-taking variety of landscape, the artistic and cultural treasures, the narrow streets of the old city center, the richness of museums and activities make it the ideal tourist destination for every age. Maybe it is because I completely love this city but it seems to me that Genova has something for everyone. So a few weeks ago we decided to visit for the first time Genova with my three years old son Alessandro and it was an unforgettable experience.
Genova, unlike many Italian cities, is very collected, easily visited on foot and by public transport, as the places of interest are located a few steps from each other. This (especially if you travel with your children) is a great plus, which allows you to enjoy the city without losing too much time on the move.
The Aquarium of Genova, the largest aquarium in Italy and the second largest in Europe, is now considered a symbol of the city with its 70 tanks to which are added the 4 open air of the Cetacean Pavilion. The tanks are home to many animals of 400 different species including fish, marine mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates in environments that reproduce the original species of individual species with obvious educational purposes. You can watch dolphins, sharks, penguins and even touch the rays. It's the perfect environment to lose track of time and be amazed. Believe me, you'll be a child again. If possible, I recommend you to buy tickets online, in order to avoid the queue.
My son admiring a white shark..
The Biosphere is a glass and steel spherical structure suspended over the sea and located in the Porto Antico next to the aquarium. Inside it is rebuilt a small portion of tropical rain forest thanks to a computerized conditioning system that guarantees the maintenance of an adequate level of temperature and humidity inside the sphere. The Biosphere houses over 150 species of animal and plant organisms, such as birds, butterflies, iguanas, turtles, fish, insects, large tree ferns from the municipal nurseries, up to seven meters tall , and various species of tropical plants.
The Citta' dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi is a large indoor playground dedicated to games, science and technology, designed for children aged 2 to 12 years old and open to families, groups and schools. Both for younger children and for children, there are different areas very fun and well equipped to let your children discover, through various exibits, science and technology. There are areas dedicated to children from 2 to 3 years, areas for the older ones between 3 and 5 years, from 6 to 12 years.
Unfortunately we had not enough time to try this panoramic lift but it is located just off the acquarium and offers an amazing view of the Porto Antico from 40-meter-height.
The Galata Museo del Mare is a Museum dedicated to the sea in all its forms composed by 23 very suggestive interactive rooms, which will make you understand the meaning of the sea and travel in all the different eras. The exhibition is a very fun interactive experience for both adults and children but in my opinion the funniest thing for kids is the simulation of the transatlantic journey with the passport game. Don't miss to visit the Nazario Sauro submarine, unfortunately not suitable for children under the age of 4.
There are many different options for a boat ride leaving from the Porto Antico. You can go around the harbor, or enjoy a funny whale watching (activity always loved by children who will have the opportunity to observe the animals), or mini-day cruises. A biologist is always present on board the boat, to offer commentary on the sightings, provide information and fun facts and to gather important scientific data for research purposes.
Genova and the sea have a strong link. The sea is always present in the history of the city and in the background, but if you want to touch the water you have to leave the city center and just in a couple of minutes away you can find precious oasis that invite you to relax during every time of the year while your children play with rocks or swim. Vernazzola, Boccadasse, Quinto, Quarto, Pegli and Voltri are magical places that can be rapidly reached in a comfortable way thanks to the public transport, by train, by ferry, or, if you prefer, by bike. We choosed the closest Boccadasse, just a short bus ride along the coastline and we loved it! It is a really charming fishing village with a cute, small, rocky beach where you can have a delicious ice cream or a piece of focaccia admiring the amazing sunset.
The Trenini Pippo and Pippetto are the funniest choice for your children to visit the most beautiful places in the city. On board the Pippo Train, you will leave from the Aquarium of and you will have the opportunity to visit all the most important monuments and the most interesting views instead if you want to visit the historical center, you have to get on the Pippetto Train, which will allow you to enter the historical streets of the city. The Pippo and Pippetto train tours last 45 minutes and are open every day from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm from March to November; in the remaining months, however, they are active only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The tour costs € 7 for adults and € 3.50 for children..
The old town of Genova is an intricate labyrinth of carruggi that open unexpectedly in small squares, adorned with churches, historical palaces and colorful houses. To the eyes of a 3-year-old child, all this can be magical. He imagined that in this narrow streets a world made of dragons and witches was hidden and he liked explore everything looking for a trace of them. Every sign in a wall was a claw laceration and small doors became the hideout of bad witches..the imagination of children enrich them. Create parallel worlds. It makes them happy.
My son is a big fan of focaccia ad a great taster!! everytime we passed in front of a bakery (and genova is full of them!!) he wanted to try a piece of focaccia just to be sure to find the best one..Plain focaccia, focaccia with pesto, focaccia di recco, red focaccia, olive focaccia..he is completely addicted to this traditional street food!!
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