20 April, 2022
A gem in the picturesque Italian Riviera, Genoa is a port city that many tourists flock to via cruise ships, trains, and cars. About an hour and a half following the coast from the popular string of seaside villages of Cinque Terre and an hour from Savona, Genoa is an easy stop on most northern Italy trips. You can even cross over to Monaco in a little over two hours for a taste of the luxury life. The sights in this ancient city are plentiful with must-visit points of interest landmarks, like the black and white striped San Lorenzo Cathedral, the vibrant Piazza de Ferrari, and the impressive opera house of Teatro Felice.
When planning your trip to the capital of the Liguria region, make sure you leave time for all the excellent shopping opportunities that will present themselves. As you wander through town, the various shopping streets will tempt you with their variety of stores, beautiful buildings, and Italian flair. Venturing off the main thoroughfares, you’ll be able to find a lovely little shop to browse, some of the best street food, and a hidden piazza to take a break. The central squares of Piazza de Ferrari and Piazza Corvetto are great starting points for a wander.
Genoa shopping is varied from budget-friendly markets and vintage stores to mid-range malls and department stores. For big spenders, the shopping streets will have you decked out in the finest Italian and international brands in no time. Regardless of whether you’re shopping for unique souvenirs, a new wardrobe, or some local art, Genoa has you covered. But, before you head out on a Genoa shopping adventure, make sure that you’re not carrying more than you need to. Visit a Bounce luggage storage in Genoa to drop off your suitcases before venturing out. Besides, think of all the pretty things you’re going to buy – you’ll need both hands free to browse and carry the new items.
Via XX Settembre
One of the most popular and centrally located shopping streets in Genoa is Via XX Settembre. This one is hard to miss when you’re sightseeing around town. If you only visit one Genoa shopping destination on your trip, this should be it. Via XX Settembre runs for about one kilometer and juts out from the De Ferrari metro station, which is the ideal starting point for the majority of the shopping here. Named for the historic day in 1870 when the country gained independence from the Pope, the majestic and elaborate buildings that line the street will simply wow you.
As for the shopping, Via XX Settembre is home to many large chain stores that you’re bound to recognize mixed in with some Italian favorites. You’ll find the likes of H&M, Calzedonia, COIN, and Foot Locker here. Recognizable brands, stunning architecture, and liveliness sum up the experience you can expect on Via XX Settembre. Unfortunately, the street is not pedestrianized, and since it’s one of the main roads used to traverse the city, it gets both busy and loud. But, that just adds to the charm, right?
To treat yourself to some luxury shopping, head to the lavish Via Roma, less than a ten-minute walk from Piazza San Lorenzo. This is another one of Genoa’s iconic shopping streets, but it’s either for some window shopping or for those with a large budget. You’ll find all the big designer clothing shops located here, like Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, and Dolce & Gabbana. Prepare to splash out some cash if you want to purchase anything.
The street itself is part of the charm of a visit to the area. The street is surrounded by stunning 19th-century buildings, and the well-thought-out window displays mean that there’s always something to catch your eye. There are also great restaurants and cafes in the area when you need a break. Step off the metro in Piazza de Ferrari and you’ll be in the heart of the most elite street in town.
As you tour around the lavish shopping street of Via Roma, keep an eye out for the Galleria Mazzini on the doorstep of the Teatro Carlo Felice. The gallery actually runs parallel to Via Roma and was constructed in the 1870s. This glass-roofed arcade is full of interesting shops and connects two of the city’s main squares: Ferrari and Corvetto. Is anyone else getting a high-end car vibe from these names?
From clothing stores to antique shops to toy stores, Galleria Mazzini has something for the whole family. During Easter and the few weeks before Christmas, the gallery hosts a book fair. Lovers of a treasure hunt will definitely enjoy the antique fair on Wednesdays and Thursdays. As with many destinations for shopping in Genoa, some of the appeal of this location is in the building itself. It dons glass domes and ornate bronze chandeliers and once built, it was affectionately known as Genoa’s living room. There’s no better way to spend one of Genoa’s rare rainy days in this covered area.
It’s hard to visit Italy without stepping into at least one of the many food markets. For a twist on the usual weekly market, head to the Mercato Orientale. One of the market’s entrances is on Via XX Settembre, so you know it’s convenient. This is the perfect place to pick up supplies for an impromptu picnic or to bring back to your hotel. The name is not indicative of the market’s contents, rather the Mercato gets its name from its proximity to old Genoa’s eastern gate.
This food market is one of the best places for street food in Genoa and is a true treat for the senses. For the eyes, the colorful produce, beautiful paintings, and vibrant flowers are dazzling. For the nose, the smell of fresh-baked focaccia and Italian spices will make you hungry almost instantly. For the ears, the sounds of local Genoa residents chatting to each other and picking up their groceries will make you feel a part of the city. If you only visit one market in Genoa, let this be it. Maybe you’ll even get a free taste of cheese and olives!
While it might seem strange to recommend a shop called Plastic Passion, once you see what the store offers, you won’t want to miss this one, especially if you like shoes. This shoe shop is a wonderful boutique to find unique items with good craftsmanship that you don’t get too often anymore. The heels are to die for many with Italian leather and suede in classic and vibrant colors. If you’re passionate about footwear, head to Via Luccoli to see the collection for yourself. Luckily, you don’t need to walk too far; it’s only a five-minute walk from the Mazzini Gallery using Via Roma.
Many may not be familiar with the large chain store OVS, but in Italy, it’s extremely common. With everything from household goods to clothing to accessories, these department stores can set you up with minimal effort if you’ve lost your luggage or packed poorly. They specialize in fashion for women, men, and children, and there is even an OVS Kids for the little ones. Genoa has three different OVS locations, and the most convenient is probably the one on Via Campetto, which is a two-minute walk from the San Lorenzo Cathedral. For anyone who wants to dress like an Italian while in Italy, this place is a great start.
If the prices on Via Roma are too extravagant for you, head to Lipstick Vintage instead. Less than five minutes on foot from Piazza Corvetto, Lipstick vintage is your home for upscale brands at vintage prices. Although, depending on the piece and its age, a vintage garment from here can end up costing quite a bit. For anyone willing to scour the racks for a treasure or two, you’re bound to find some local boutique gems as well as vintage luxury brand items. They specialize in Italian brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Ferragamo, but you might find Chanel here as well. If you enjoy the hunt for that one unique piece, this is the place for you.
Fiumara Shopping Center
Moving away from the history and charm of the City Center, the Fiumara Shopping & Entertainment Complex is something altogether different. Similar to a North American mall experience, this center is home to over 100 stores, a movie theater, and a children’s playground. This one-stop shop has everything you need from shopping to activities to dining just a 10-minute drive from the center of town.
Aside from the bowling alley, slot machines, and cinema, there are countless dining choices here, too. You can get teriyaki noodles, cupcakes, and pizza all in one place. As for the shopping, you’ll likely recognize Swarovski, Pandora, Timberland, and Foot Locker. There is also a Flying Tiger here, which is fantastic for picking up snacks and other travel supplies like notepads, tissues, and sleep masks. If you need a few groceries, the Conad is your best bet. The mall offers free wi-fi and free parking, and there are tons of family-friendly events throughout the year. All in all, this shopping center is ideal for families with kids and anyone looking to escape the rain or the hot summer sun.
Centro Commerciale L’Aquilone
Sometimes when you’re on vacation, all you need is a supermarket with a few additional useful stores. Centro Commerciale L’Aquilone is just that. The large grocery store is full of fresh produce, pre-made meals, and everything else you’d expect. This is a great spot to do a little shopping followed by a re-stock of your picnic supplies. The shopping center is best reached by car, though, so if you don’t have one with you, this stop is probably best left off your itinerary.
Art Gallery il Vicolo
The Galleria d’Arte il Vicolo, open since 1967, is a necessary stop when you’re shopping in Genoa for art. While original art done by locals may not be in everyone’s price range, a unique piece can be a lovely souvenir of your trip to the region. Art Gallery il Vicolo routinely changes its offerings and generally showcases sculptures, original paintings, art prints, and various other objects. Their focus tends towards more contemporary art and illustrations, but the art gallery in the heart of the Old City Center is certainly innovative and always looking for the next great collection.
Even if you can’t afford to buy a unique piece or something from their shop, il Vicolo is still worth a trip to see one of the oldest galleries in town. You don’t have to go out of your way to window shop here. They are located near Piazza San Lorenzo and Piazza Raffaele de Ferrari and the area is easily accessible from the De Ferrari metro stop.
Anyone traveling to Genoa likely knows to expect that wonderful scenery, amazing food, and historic sights will fill their days. All that’s true, but the shopping here is something else that should make the visit worthwhile. You can shop like a local at the market, treasure hunt at antique and vintage stores, score high-end clothing, and wander a convenient mall. Doing all this will expose you to the culture of the city and all the awe-inspiring piazzas, 19th-century (and older) buildings, and bustling city life. It’s easy to get around Genoa on foot or using the metro, so there’s no excuse not to visit many of the destinations in this guide. Unless your wallet won’t let you, of course!