The sprawling port city of Genoa (Genova) is made up of a number of distinct neighborhoods, each with its own history and identity. One of these is Boccadasse (Bocadaze), set on the waterfront to the east of the city center. Once a tiny fishing village, it is now a delightfully colorful and quaint quarter to explore on foot.
Small-group Genoa tours and specialized food tours often include a side trip to Boccadasse and pesto genovese and gelato tastings. Wander the narrow streets lined with tiny restaurants and galleries, stop in a local gelateria, relax on the bay’s tiny pebble beach, and watch the local fishers launch their small rowboats into the surf. Then capture sweeping views over Liguria's riviera as far as the promontory of Portofino from the scenic overlook at the top of Cape Santa Chiara near Turcke castle.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A Boccadasse district tour is great for travelers with kids needing a diversion from museum-filled days.
- If you’re visiting as part of a walking tour, wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
- Wheelchair users might find it hard to navigate the old town’s steep lanes and stairs.
- This hamlet is one of the most picturesque Genoa attractions, so be sure to bring your camera.
How to Get There
The Boccadasse neighborhood is at one end of the Corso Italia promenade, making it an easy walk along the seafront from the Genoa city center, particularly on a nice day. Travelers from capital cities like Rome, Florence, and Milan, can easily catch high-speed trains to Genoa, one of Italy’s main rail hubs, or the regional train to and from the Cinque Terre.
When to Get There
The Italian Riviera is one of Europe's most popular areas in summer, and towns along the coastline can be very crowded. The best seasons to visit are spring and fall, with weather mild enough to enjoy walking outside without the summer tourist crush.
A Mysterious Name
There are various theories regarding the origin of the name Boccadasse. Because the neighborhood sits on a small bay shaped like an open mouth, one theory states that the name means “donkey's mouth.” Another claims the hamlet was named after the river that used to run through Boccadasse, called the Asse. Since the Italian word “bocca” means mouth, either of those theories could be right.