Genoa became a maritime power through trade, colonial exploitation and piracy. It played a major role in the Crusades and its people brought back goods and ideas, which enhanced Genoa's wealth and contributed to the city's architectural development. From here Columbus who grew up in Genoa set out for his explorations around the world. Places of interest are many to list but below are a few sites which are important to visit during your stay in Genoa.
The Palazzo Ducale, right in the heart of the old town, was the residence of a number of doges who ruled the city from 1384 to 1515. Today it is an exhibition hall and at various times of the year you can enjoy here various shows or concerts. West of Piazza Matteotti is Cattedrale di San Lorenzo which houses the Renaissance chapel of St John the Baptist.
The Palazzo Reale was built by the Balbi family in the early 17th century. It has a grand ballroom with stucco ceilings and Chinese vases, a lavish audience room with Turkish carpets and silk curtains and some wonderful works of art including Van Dyck's Crucifixion.
Via Garibaldi is a narrow street filled with Renaissance art which you can enjoy as you pass by the various sculpted facades and large private courtyards. In this street you will also find Galleria di Palazzo Bianco, Genoa's finest gallery, which houses works by Rubens, Memling and Van Dyck.
The Porto Antico is full of old warehouses which have been converted to exhibition halls, sea front cafes and restaurants from where you can enjoy some nice views of the marina.