It's €39.40 from the Genoa airport to the Bristol Palace Hotel, which took all of 3 minutes. I gave a scathing look at the cab driver and ordered the missus to get the change from this pillager of tourists. Bristol Palace? An odd assembly of words one could argue an utter contradiction.
Depending on your vantage point, Genoa could boast several identities. Start north from the hills by taking one of two funiculars for €1.50 that connects Zecca to Righi and see the city at its finest. It's mottled buildings of faded complexions; burnt yellows, rustic auburns are redolent of any Pisa, Lucca or Pienza panorama. Walk serpentine down the steep roads back into the heart of the city, reach the imperious stretch of Via Garibaldi and you'll think you've slipped down a magical side alley in the heart of Rome. For €9 you can visit Palazzi Rosso, Bianco and Tursi.
Venture down the winding streets that taper and twine to the harbour and eventually, once you've been accosted by a Somalian immigrant hassling you for change or 'a go' on his wife for 30 minutes, you'll instantly be transported back to Edge Lane in 90's Liverpool. The topography of these narrow streets were designed to defend the city of Genoa from naval attacks by forcing their enemies into a labyrinth of alleys, funneling them into single file and pouring hot oil on them from the terraces and apartment windows overhead.
Once you've escaped, if you escape, you can catch your breath on the The Neptune; a ship replica of a 17th-century Spanish galleon built in 1985 for Roman Polanski's film Pirates. As you look back at the city from the ocean, you could think that Genoa is one big Hornby Scaletrix. It's raised highways encircle the city, much to the chagrin of my missus - 'Stick that crap underground in tunnels, who wants to see that monstrosity'. However, this has given the the urbanites a chance to leave their own creative modern taint on this ancient city by glossing the underneath with animated creatures and fictional monsters. After all this is still Italy and no one does grandiose art better than the Italians.
Place to stay: Bristol Palace Hotel - €115 a night (August) inc Breakfast
Place to visit: The Aquarium - £23 a full adult day pass
Place to eat: Icuochi
Place for awesome Instagram profile pic: Palazzi Bianco Roof Gardens or the Christopher Columbus Column Square.
Place to avoid: Back alleys to the city harbour.
Written by Peter Brooker