Stay near La Lanterna
Genoa's old lighthouse, known as La Lanterna, is one of the city's major landmarks, having guided ships into its harbour for hundreds of years. Perched atop a hill near the Sampierdarena neighbourhood, the lighthouse is within easy reach of the city centre. When you visit, you can climb 172 steps to reach the lighthouse's first terrace, where you can look down on the port and Genoa’s historic centre.
You could book a mid-range hotel in Sampierdarena, or you could look for accommodation overlooking La Lanterna from the city centre. There are plenty of places to stay in Genoa all within walking distance of La Lanterna, including high-end hotels, cheap B&Bs and mid-range accommodation.
History of La Lanterna
The first lighthouse was built on this hilltop site in 1128 and burned dried wood until an olive-oil fuelled lamp replaced it in 1326. One of the lighthouse's most notable guardians was navigator Christopher Columbus' uncle, Antonio Colombo, who was listed as lighthouse keeper in 1449. The tower has been struck by lightning several times over the years, the most tragic occasion was in 1481 when one of its guardians was killed.
The original lighthouse was damaged by bombs during fighting with a French army in 1506. A new lighthouse was built in 1543 and this is the one you can see today. At almost 250 feet tall, it's the world's second tallest traditional lighthouse and the world's fifth tallest lighthouse. A Fresnel lens was installed in 1840, before being replaced by an electric light in 1913, and now fully automated since 1936 sailors can see it from is now visible from more than 30 miles away.
La Lanterna Museum
Next to the lighthouse is the Museo della Lanterna, which chronicles the history of the navigation in Genoa, as well as exploring the history of the city and the port. Crammed full of lamps, lenses and other lighthouse-related objects, the museum even houses a section of a Fresnel lens so you can see how it works.
Book a room in a hotel near La Lanterna to visit this must-see attraction and to be within walking distance of the picture-perfect old Genoa.