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Stay in Genoa with family - or in Camogli

Stay in Genoa with family - or in Camogli

Sep 27th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,586
Stay in Genoa with family - or in Camogli

I am researching hotels for our family of four. During our trip to northern Italy, we will be traveling from Varenna to Genoa. On the way, I want to stop at the designer outlets in McArthur Glen.

I understand the drive will take about three hours. I admit to being spooked about some of the information I have read about Genoa. One guidebooks said it is the most unsafe city next to Rome and that pickpockets, and even armed robberies (?) are common.

I wanted to see the palaces (specifically Spinola) and the narrow alleys in the Caruggi district. Would this be do-able as a day trip, and then we can continue down to Camogli and spend the night there?

The following day we are planning to spend two nights in Montorroso.

What is the driving like in this section of Italy? The same guidebook (frommers) now also has me concerned about driving in Italy. We have driven in England (which we thought was extremely stressful) and in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (which we thought was easier than in the United States).
karens is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
I never have had a thought that Genoa was dangerous but I never thought Rome was either. I found Genoa a wonderful city with very friendly residents. I have various Italian friends in Italy that have family memebers that live in Genoa and consequently they visit there from time to time and not once has any of them commented about Genoa being a dangerous city. Regarding driving in Italy different people have different thoughts. If you are a good driver and are use to driving in large cities you shouldn't have a problem. Learn the rules of course. I have never read a Frommer's Guide Book so I have no idea about what they suggest but it sounds from what you have posted that they are over the top "nervous" about Italy perhaps.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 432
I agree, I have been to Genoa many times and never felt unsafe, and many people I know have stayed there without any incident. The old town is quite charming and unspoilt, maybe there are, as in all cities in our modern world, unsafe areas to go, but I don't think you will find them unless you look for them. I wonder what Frommers says about Naples?

You could also stay in Camogli, Sestri Levante or Santa Magherita and take the train in if you preferred a smaller town, and they are all very charming.

Driving in Italy is not so difficult as long as you remember that its hard to rent an automatic shift. Big cities like Milan and Rome may be challenging, but then I also find driving in NYC a challenge. Check out: http://www.fodors.com/wire/archives/001686.cfm
Sampaguita is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 10:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
I live in Camogli and have never faced danger in my many, many trips to Genova, roaming over most of the city day and night. Pickpockets are concentrated (as usual) around train station, open air markets and the tourist-attractions of the port. They look for easy targets and it is easy to keep your wallet secure once you know the problem. That said, I don't think you will be unsafe but given your worries you might feel unsafe, because Genova has many blind, shadowed alleys even in daytime and a fair number of poor people, which many people mistake for a signpost of crime. Like other Italian cities, but closer to some major tourist attractions, there is also in some areas open dealing in vice (drugs, prostitution) that isn't dangerous but unsavory, and unnerving to people unused to being around it.

But I think if you want to see the palaces and the caruggi you would be better to stay right in the city in a well regarded hotel with parking before moving on to Monterosso,.

I don't know what to say about the driving. I don't know what your comfort zone is. Are you going to be a nervous passenger or a nervous driver? Driving in Liguria is more of a challenge than driving in other parts of Italy. There's just not a lot of road room around here, and lots of mountains to cross. You don't need a car to see Varenna, Genova or le Cinque Terre. All are reachable by train. Have you thought of not having a car for that portion of your trip?
zeppole is offline  
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