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Why not Genova, Italy?

We just returned from an amazing trip to Genoa, reportedly the most historic city in Europe. Loved touring the incredibly ornate palazzos, trying international foods at the multiple booths at the pier, and roaming the historic caruggi (alleyways) of the city. So much to discover and see. It was a convenient base for access to the charming villages on the Italian riviera, including the Cinque Terre. There is not one mention of this fascinating city with so much to see and do in Rick's guidebook, and I am so curious as to why. Any other dismayed fans of Genova out there?

Posted by
1959 posts

On our first trip to Italy, we shared a train compartment with three younger Italians. One of them mentioned that Genoa was a beautiful city, and that not many Americans went there. I regret that on our second trip we skipped Genoa.

I'm guessing that the RS Italy guide doesn't mention Genoa for that reason - not many Americans go there.

Posted by
6408 posts

You have the wrong idea about the quality of Rick's books. They are not meant to be comprehensive and are more commercial. Go to your local bookstore or library and you will see there are a lot of guide books that cover Genoa.

Posted by
5616 posts

As mentioned in Jazz’ post above, Rick’s books are NOT comprehensive guides to Europe, rather a look at Europe by choosing select locations for his Europe Through the Back Door explorations. Omitting Genoa would be for this reason.
Buy a Fodor’s, Frommer, Rough Guide and others if you are looking for a more complete guide book.

Posted by
4685 posts

Yeah, Genoa certainly has its fans. I would not count myself as one of them. I visited for a long afternoon as a day trip while staying in the riviera last May. The old town area is really nice but not very big. Away from that, some of Genoa looks sprawling and ugly. So while I certainly didn't hate Genoa, I didn't feel like I had been missing a long-lost gem I should have spent a lot of time in years ago.

Just MY opinion, of course - you may love it.

Rick's books are not intended to cover every destination in Italy (or any country), and I can well see why Genoa didn't make the cut.

Posted by
2234 posts

I find that the Rick Steves travel guides are excellent and very specific for the places they cover, but as said, they are not comprehensive. I find a very useful first step to learn about a new place is TripAdvisor, then click on “Things to Do”. This will give you a first impression of major sites and activities in a locale, and what other travelers thought about their experiences. A good initial survey. Perfect, of course not. But a good first impression, to launch further research, or maybe not. Once I submit this entry, I will look up Genova on TA, as I have never been there.

Posted by
3536 posts

I visited one time on my way back with car and well in general it is a port town and therefore quite gritty.
Yes there are sections that are historic but really does not warrant. much of a stay.
To each his own.

Posted by
3536 posts

I visited one time on my way back with car and well in general it is a port town and therefore quite gritty.
Yes there are sections that are historic but really does not warrant. much of a stay.
To each his own.

Posted by
3352 posts

My niece taught school there for two years. Her opinion is not the same as yours.

I do like to pick one non-touristy location on each of our trips and enjoy staying in a town that isn’t on everyone’s short list. It’s a good chance to practice our limited Italian, and the locals have been gracious to us.

Posted by
868 posts

One of the attractive things about Rick Steves' travel books is that they started with an idea that it was enjoyable to travel in a way that not many people traveled, through the back door, staying in places that weren't all that well known or popular, for a different and fulfilling travel experience.

Rick is a born again adventurer, and is passionate about seeking to find undiscovered places and most importantly, to tell others that they, too, can return from a trip with memories different from those on tightly structured tours to a limited number of "must sees" in select cities.

Well, guess what? He was immensely successful in his efforts, and I have truly enjoyed his tips and guidance over the years. His books and this website are my "go to" resources when I begin my travel research. Now, however, I look deeper into other areas, other back doors. I purchase other guides to areas of interest. I check out different experiences. Genoa is such a place, and so is Bologna. Each has its own charm, yet they are not on the radar for a lot of Americans (Rick's biggest target audience). As stated above, other guidebooks do cover these areas comprehensively, and well.

Posted by
197 posts

Hmmn, your response is contradictory wbfey1. On the one hand you state that Rick is known for, "staying in places that weren't all that well known or popular, for a different and fulfilling travel experience". Genoa is not very popular with Americans, and is the gateway to charming Ligurian coastal villages and the Cinque Terre, so I am surprised the city is not mentioned at all in his Italy books.

After having lived in London years ago I was able to do quite a bit of traveling to other countries. I have had the opportunity to travel to Europe twice a year for the past 10 years with just my husband, and we have come to rely on Rick's experiences through his books, which are usually quite thorough. I don't follow every word he says, as or example years ago he did not recommend the Pompidou Center because he was not a fan of modern art, yet that was one of my favorite museums Paris when I first went in 1985, so I have learned to sift through his recommendations. I have purchased other guidebooks over the years, but to me there is a difference in the personal touch Rick brings to his books. The three books we purchased for the Italian Riviera for this trip were more picture books than comprehensive do-it-yourself travel guides.

I have been on Trip Advisor since it began in 2000, so I have been able to glean info from various source which has helped in our independent travels through Europe. There are people, though, on TA as well as this website who are not seasoned do-it-yourself travelers, who give irrelevant and or condescending comments for experienced travelers. Fortunately there are enough posters who know from experience what they are talking about, and I have benefitted from their expertise and knowledge. I appreciate when those travelers share their insight.