Boccadasse: unique and perfectly preserved fishing village


Since we’ve moved to Genoa, this has become one of our favourite places. We go there as often as possible, especially during sunny autumn and winter months, when we can fully enjoy its peaceful lifestyle. The Italian region of Liguria is surrounded by cosy fisherman villages, and even if Portofino is the most famous one, Boccadasse has its unique charm. This perfectly preserved fishing village in the heart of the city of Genoa has remained almost unchanged over the last 200 years, becoming also a place of inspiration for painters and artists. 

After a walk along Corso Italia, Genoa’s seaside promenade, you will reach the church of Sant’Antonio, a beautiful church overlooking the sea, founded in 1240 by Franciscan monks and later dedicated to sailors and fishermen. What we find most unique about this church, and worth a visit, is its interior decoration with beautiful miniature ships made of wood, left as votive offerings in the years after the foundation. On the other side of the church, there’s a little square from which people enjoy one of the city’s most beautiful views, and also to reach the flight of stone steps that will lead to the secluded rocky beach of Boccadasse, surrounded by unique coloured houses and narrow streets. 

What to eat in Boccadasse

At Boccadasse there are a few bars and restaurants with tables overlooking the beach, everything shielded from the noise of the city. There you can try not only street-food classics like focaccetta (fried cheese-filled fritters) and fritto misto al cartoccio (mixed fried fish and seafood served in a hot paper cone) but also Italian artisan gelato or even dine at a Michelin starred restaurant overlooking the sea. We love to go there to eat the traditional cheese focaccetta at Il Genovese (there’s also the option to add homemade pesto to it) and sit on rocks facing the sea while we enjoy it. And for a true artisanal gelato, Antica Gelateria Amedeo is the place we go. It’s one of the historical places in Genoa and one of the best gelato we have ever had. It’s 100% homemade, with lots of unique flavorus and the fruit flavours are full of real fruit pieces.

On weekdays the beach is usually empty, making it the perfect place to sip an aperitif at sunset gazing at the sea and relaxing, even for those who have small kids, as the younger ones can have fun playing on the bay’s tiny pebble beach. Unfortunately, you might not have the same experience if you visit it on a sunny weekend, especially during the summer season when the beach can be easily overcrowded, and it might be a challenge to find a free table in the bars or restaurants. But if you have no option but to visit it during the summer holidays, I highly recommend arriving as early as possible to escape the tourist crowds.

Why we love Boccadasse

To have a glimpse of the local life, walk along the narrow streets with the coloured small houses that characterise Ligurian villages, and don’t forget to take many photos. What strikes me the most about Boccadasse is its simplicity. The colours and atmosphere that envelop us are simply enchanting. It’s one of those places where time seems to stand still, and is one of the most beautiful things to see in Genoa. In my opinion, without visiting Boccadasse, a trip to Genoa, however brief, cannot be said to be complete. It’s a real gem, and I never get tired of this enchanted spot. One of my favourite places to just sit and relax, watching the gentle waves hit the rocks and the seagulls flying in the sky.

We also love Genoa Aquarium for a different kind of family outing!

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