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High 5: Five reasons you should visit Genoa, Italy

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When deciding to travel to Italy, Genoa isn’t perhaps the first place to spring to mind.  However, what this port city lacks in buzz, it makes up for in character, offering all the essentials of an Italian escape – history, beaches and delicious cuisine – without the over tourism that sometimes affects the major Italian cities.

From driving scooters down to the pebbled beach to dining in local seaside restaurants and wandering the narrow, cobbled laneways of the old city, there are plenty of reasons why you should add Genoa to your Italian bucket-list.

Here are the top five reasons to visit Genoa:

1. The location

Genoa’s location makes it the perfect base for those seeking to explore even more of Italy. Visitors can head north to Italy’s fashion capital, Milan, or continue south along the coast to explore the five famous seaside villages, Cinque Terre.  Both options take only around two hours by train.

2. The history

With one of the largest historic centres in the world, history buffs will love Genoa. The famous ‘old city’ features fascinating landmarks including the city gates, the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo, various austere churches and more.

3. The beaches

Genoa has some lovely pebbled beaches offering beautiful views. Lounge with the locals, snack on some focaccia, and head to one of the many seaside restaurants dotted along the coast for dinner.

4. The food

Italians are renowned for their pizza and pasta but, in Genoa, these delicacies sit in the shadow of the city’s famous focaccia (a delicious speciality bread). A simple recipe of flour, olive oil, salt, yeast and water makes for a bread like no other. Enjoy it as the locals do, dipped in their morning coffee or paired with pesto for an afternoon snack.

5. The lack of crowds

Unlike many other Italian cities, you can visit Genoa in the height of summer and still not be bombarded with tourists. You can easily find the perfect spot to spend your day on the beach and won’t have to navigate through crowds to try and catch a glimpse of the monuments.

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When I first started out travel writing, twenty years ago, I was writing a weekly round-up for The Independent. The first PR agency I ever tapped into for their clients' holiday ideas was Travel PR; they were always full of great suggestions for the column and responded quickly. Over the years, I've worked with them on many occasions and their close association with AITO has always paid dividends. Nothing has changed; some of the best story ideas I get herald from them, and their response time remains very speedy. They are a pleasure to work with.

Mark Stratton, Freelance Travel Writer

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