Cheap flights to Genoa will likely transit a major European hub such as Frankfurt or London from Australia. Cheap flights leave from Perth, with east coast departures from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, slightly more expensive. Australians do not need a visa to enter Italy if their stay is less than 90 days. Cristoforo Colombo Airport is situated almost 8km west of Genoa city. Volabus is the AMT shuttle bus service which travels between the airport and Brignole and Principe train stations, through the city centre. The trip to the city centre takes 30 minutes and costs about $A8.
The best way to get around Genoa is on foot. Many of the more interesting districts are either entirely closed to traffic, have roads so narrow that no car could fit, or are, even at the best of times, blocked by gridlock. Although it might seem a daunting task, exploring the city is made simple by its geography. The historical centre of Genoa occupies a relatively narrow strip of land running between the mountains and the sea. While sights are within walking distance, you also have the option of catching a bus or funicular. A multi-purpose ticket for both, which you buy at tobacconists and newsagents, is valid for 90 minutes' travel. The main bus station in Genoa is at Piazza Principe.
Genoa has a mix of attractions old and new. For a slice of history visit the early 13th-century San Lorenzo Cathedral, which has a black and white striped marble facade. The Aquarium of Genoa, built for the World Expo in 1992, is the second largest in Europe. The Renaissance and Baroque Rolli Palaces, in Genoa's centre, were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2006. About 80 Rolli palaces were built in the 16th century, when Genoa was one of Italy's four great maritime republics and many can be found on the pedestrian street of Via Garibaldi. The Italian Riviera town also has majestic views to soak in by walking along the scenic spruced-up port area or visiting the Piazza Castello to absorb an overview of the port and city.
The main shopping corridors of Genoa are the streets that radiate out from Piazza De Ferraris. The best boutiques and fashionable shops are found on Via XX Settembre, Via Roma, and in the elegant Galleria Mazzini. The system of alleyways offers a huge selection of starting points for every kind of shopping: the porticos of Sottoripa, by the Old Port, have maintained the atmosphere of an old bazaar in the days when ships loaded with every kind of merchandise used to dock here. Via San Luca and Via Orefici feature shops with cheap clothing and shoes. For a bite to eat don't miss the pastry shop Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano and also walk between Via San Vincenzo and Via Colombo, near Brignole Station, to explore a variety of bakeries, pastry shops, and food speciality shops. When heading out for the night most of the bars and clubs can be found on the popular streets around Piazza Fontane Marose and Piazza delle Erbe. Check out the Le Courbusier, a coffee shop-cum-bar, in the Old Quarter just west of Piazza delle Erbe, for a cheap night out.
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