A labyrinth of alleys all to be discovered, to perceive the enchantment of the old city

The Genoese historic area with its maze of caruggi is one of the greatest examples in Europe of a medieval city preserved almost intact. Let yourself be surprised by the multiplicity of streets and alleys that intersect to form a tangled labyrinth: from the alleys that “debouch” in the old harbour to those that unwind around the cathedral, and the more “patrician” ones near Via Aurea and not far from Piazza De Ferrari that, with its big fountain, is one of the subjects any tourist must photograph. Some are dark and others illuminated by the sun’s rays, some wider, some so narrow they are hard to get through; in all of them, there have always blended smells, flavours and different cultures. The caruggi, which you can only go along on foot or on a bicycle, give unique views, and you can never know what hides behind the next bend: a bell tower, a little square or a stairway.

It is not strange late in the morning to find businessmen sipping a coffee there or housewives busy shopping in the shops they trust. Among the buildings set so tightly against one another that the windows almost touch, you will come upon craft shops, Gothic arcaded porticoes, medieval churches and patrician palazzos. At the corners of the old buildings don’t forget to look up: magnificent votives aediculae will appear to you like stars in a night sky in summer. Where the stones smell old, the churches of incense, the shops of leather and the confectioners’ shops of candied sweets, stop to breathe that air: you will have found the heart of true Genoa.