Genoa is a port city that sits at the center of the Italian Riviera, offering a rich, authentically Italian experience for tourists and digital nomads alike.
The largest seaport in all of Italy, Genoa was once one of the major financial centers of Europe and the Mediterranean. Today the capital of Liguria still boasts many reminders of its illustrious past, from the elaborate palaces, churches, and piazza in its historic center to the Old Town District that has defined the city for centuries. But despite its past as a significant hub of trade and commerce, Genoa has often been overshadowed as an international tourist attraction in favor of cultural behemoths like Rome and Venice. Things are slowly changing for Genoa, after being named the European Capital of Culture in 2004, as well as a collection of streets and palaces known as The Strade Nuova and Palazzi dei Rolli being listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004. These days more travelers and nomads are flocking here, whether to enjoy a seaside holiday in the Boccadasse district or explore one of the many museums and historic sites the city has to offer.
Where to live in Genoa
Though the locals swear by driving, parking can be an issue as you get closer to the central districts. If you’re living in outer districts your best bet is taking public transport either by bus and train, or cable cars and public elevators that connect the central city to neighborhoods in the hills. If it’s a mix of culture and entertainment you’re looking for then living in the districts of the Old Town, such as Maddalena and Molo is your best bet. The incredible architecture and historic sites will keep you charmed and entertained throughout your stay, and you can also find the most popular bars and restaurants in this area. It’s also a stone’s throw away from the Via XX Settembre, the biggest shopping district in Genoa.
Best Neighborhoods in Genoa
Because Porto Antico and the Old Town district are the beating heart of Genoa, and where many of the most significant cultural attractions are, these are popular places for expats and digital nomads to live in. Molo and Maddalena are two of the most attractive areas for living in the city center. Further afield neighborhoods like Castaletto, Nervi, and Albaro offer the best balance between cosmopolitan and suburban living. If you’re hoping to live near Genoa without the hustle and bustle of the city center and surrounding neighborhoods, you can also consider Boccadasse. Originally a fishing village, Boccadasse is now a charming coastal neighborhood full of colorful seaside villas and often used as a holidaying spot for Genoan families.
Quick Facts About GenoaGenoa may be one of the lesser-known of the major Italian cities, but it’s past speaks for itself. The region was once an independent republic and held onto that independence for almost 700 years, establishing itself as one of the most powerful maritime republics in the entire world. Today it remains an industrious seaport, while still maintaining much of the stunning art and architecture from the region’s illustrious past. These quick facts will help you understand a little more about this fascinating city.
Its basil is protected.Genovese basil is a particular kind of basil grown in the Liguria region, and it is under the legal protection of the European Union as it’s one of the most popular culinary basil on the continent.
Christopher Columbus was born here.That’s right, the famed Italian explorer whose expeditions prompted the first contact throughout the Americas, was born in Genoa, his first language being a dialect of Ligurian.
It’s the sixth-biggest city in Italy.Despite playing second fiddle to other Italian Metropolises, the Ligurian capital is the sixth most populated city in the country. It comes just after Palermo, with over 570,000 residents. It has more residents than Verona and Venice combined.
It’s one of the longest inhabited cities in the world.The area known as Genoa has been populated since the fourth millennium B.C without desertion at any point, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities.
Focaccia was first made here.The Italian working man’s flatbread, Focaccia has long been considered a staple of Italian households. The recipe for focaccia first appeared in the area of Genoa and is associated with Ligurian cuisine.
The flag of Genoa is the same as the flag of London.Both cities are represented by a flag with a white background and a red Cross of St. George. It was first claimed by Genoa, though there is no historical evidence that either flag is connected to each other.
It was also the birthplace of pesto.Even more famous than focaccia, pesto is a basil and pine-nut sauce now eaten all over the world. It’s considered their greatest contribution to Neopolitan food culture.
It was beloved by many historic foreigners.Genoa was held in high regard by many important cultural figures, such as Friedrich Nietzche, Sigmund Freud, and Richard Wagner. However, it’s notable that the city inspired many writers including the likes of Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anton Checkhov, and many more.
Work in Genoa
Genoa’s workforce is fairly diversified, with shipbuilding and steel manufacture no longer the backbone of the region. In modern times tourism and education have become major contenders, and tend to be the best options for expats and digital nomads looking to work in the city. Food production and agricultural products are regularly produced in the countryside surrounding the city and exported out of the country. Particular products include olive oil, fish, seafood, and wine. Expats have the best chance of finding work in language schools teaching English to locals. Italo Britannica, the International Language Centre, and The British School of English are just some of the language schools worth looking into. If you want to work in the service industry you will likely need to speak fluent Italian.
How good is Genoa for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Genoa. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Genoa for both of these growing movements?
Average Internet SpeedInternet speed in Genoa is around 25mbp, which while not particularly fast is still 70% higher than the Italian average of 14mbp. Most busy areas and tourist spots around the city will provide free wi-fi to visitors.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsItalians pride themselves on their coffee culture, so you can bet Genoa has its share of picturesque cafes. Here are a few good spots to sightsee and enjoy an espresso while you work: Tazze Pazze Caffetteria: Located in the Porto Antico, Tazze Pazze offers great coffee and good, affordable breakfast options. It’s also located in a somewhat obscure market lane so it doesn’t get as crowded at lunchtime compared to many central cafes. Fratelli Klainguti: This cafe is an icon within one of the most iconic areas in Genoa, the Old Town. Over 100 years old, the place lends a wonderful atmosphere for you to work in. It’s well air-conditioned on the inside and has a spacious outdoor area. Delfin Bar: A cozy cafe and bar near the Porto Antico, Delfin is a place where you can sit outside and watch the action at the port without being too distracted. It’s well-priced with very good service and conveniently located.
Coworking SpacesMost workplaces in Genoa are fairly traditional, so co-working spaces can be slightly more difficult to find than other major cities. That being said there is still a good selection of high-quality spaces to choose from. Take a look at our list below: Talent Garden: This coworking space is part of a wider network with buildings in 7 different European countries. They have a flexible membership plan that gives you access to every Talent Garden space in Europe which is an incredible advantage if you’re often on the move. It also comes with a fully-serviced kitchen, convenient if you’re working very early or into the evening. CWG Porto Antico: CWG has one of the best reputations of Genoa’s coworking spaces. With extra-fast wifi, air-conditioning, and free coffee in the ‘chill-out area’ you’ll have everything you need to slip into work mode. Not only that but the office space is located on the Porto Antico waterfront, so you’ve got some of Genoa’s best views to accompany you. Urbam: Nestled in the heart of the city, Urbam is a reasonably-priced office space that can be rented out either daily or monthly. Though it isn’t open on the weekends it does offer 24 hours access on all weekdays, which is great if you like to work into the night.
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsSo far there isn’t a well-developed community of digital nomads in Genoa, so the infrastructure and networking potential may seem lacking compared to other European hotspots. Regardless, it’s still a great choice if you want to live in a beautiful seaside location. Digital nomads who decide to settle in Genoa will have access to free Wi-fi in many public places, as well as plenty of cultural sites to choose from.
Visa RequirementsBecause Italy is part of the Schengen zone, all residents of the European Union are granted 90 days of visa-free travel within the country's borders. The same goes for residents of some non-EU countries, such as the US, Canada, and Australia, and many more. Travel into Schengen countries requires a passport valid for at least 6 months upon arrival. To stay in Italy for longer than three months, you’ll need to obtain a visa. Digital nomads who want to stay longer in Italy will typically apply for a business visa or work visa, though there are other kinds available. Keep in mind that visa registration in Italy involves a lot of bureaucracy and varies considerably from country to country, so you want to check all details with the Italian embassy in your home country.
Food and Drink in Genoa
Genoa has a sophisticated food culture, with traditional Italian cuisine easily accessible throughout the city. When it comes to meat, don’t be surprised that this port city’s cuisine is centered around fish and seafood. You can expect to find seafood variations on your favorite Italian dishes. Genoa is also famous for its basil, pesto, and focaccia, so you’ll likely come across these foods all over the city. If you’re looking for more traditional Genovese fare, central restaurants such as Le Cicale and Da Leccarsi i Baffi offer classic Ligurian dishes, with local seafood as the star of many menu items. You can even venture out of the central city to try a few slices of Genoa-style pizza at La Pizza di Egizio. For fine-dining options check out Historia Ducale and Scalvini, both of which offer fantastic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Consider making a booking though, as both restaurants are in high demand. If you consider Genoa’s international history it makes sense that there are great international food options if you want to mix things up. Visit Jamila in the Old Town for affordable and authentic Senagalese and West-African cuisine, or Maracaibo and Habanero for Venezuelan and Mexican street food. And of course, you can pop into French-owned J'aime les Crepes and the Indarsena Oyster Bar for crepes and high-end seafood from the neighbors across the border.
Top 6 Things To Do in Genoa
Genoa has as much fascinating culture and history to choose from as any of its eastern and souther-Italian counterparts. So much so that the Old Town district is considered by some to have the largest medieval quarter in Europe, hence why Genoa is a city that should be seen on foot. In the Old Town, you can wander through the Piazza De Ferrari and the Piazza Matteotti, and the San Lorenzo Cathedral just around the corner. Further down you can visit the Porto Antico and imagine the merchants of the middle ages sailing in and out of the port. There you can also visit Genoa’s maritime museum, as well as the Genoa Aquarium, the largest of its kind in Italy. Make sure to check out the city's UNESCO heritage sites, the Strade Nuove and Palazzi dei Rolli.
Musei di Strada Nuova - Palazzo Bianco
Via Garibaldi, 11, Genova
Mercato Orientale Genova
Via XX Settembre, 75r, Genova
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
Piazza della Nunziata, 4, Genova
Do Eat Better Experience - Genoa Food Tours & Cooking Classes
Via Antonio Gramsci, 1, Genova
Palazzo Spinola National Gallery
Piazza di Pellicceria, 1, Genova
Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno
Piazzale Resasco, Genova