The first itinerary
This itinerary takes you to Nervi, the picturesque marine town of ancient origins, just to the east of Genoa. From the city center, Nervi is reachable by trains leaving frequently from Piazza Principe or Brignole, or by bus 15 or 17.
Our point of departure is Nervi's bijoux harbor. The harbor is the historic heart of the town, with its lively-colored houses, little beaches, and small boats arranged on the quay between two rock spurs.
From the marina begins the romantic Anita Garibaldi walk, which extends for two kilometers out to the cliffs above the sea, set among agave plants, olive and tamarisk trees. The scenery is spectacular, with a view extending along the coast all the way out to the promontory of Portofino. In fair weather, you can relax outside, enjoying the villas surrounded by olive trees and lowers, and perhaps enjoy a luncheon against the backdrop of a tranquil panorama.
Toward the end of the path, right alongside the famous Nervi parks, you will see a large, 10-hectare green swathe, created from the joining of the gardens of the Villa Grimaldi, Villa Serra, and Villa Groppallo. It's a marvelous stroll along the paths among large English meadows, maritime pine trees, exotic plants and a rose garden, in flower from April to November.
Villa Serra, from the 17th century, houses the Galleria di Arte Moderna, with works by Italian artists from the 1800's and 1900's. Nearby is the splendid Villa Grimaldi Fassio, which houses an art collection by the Frugone brothers.
The second itinerary
This itinerary takes you to the charming little towns of the Genoese valley by way of the Genova-Casella train, a narrow-gauge railway which has run a limited schedule since 1929. The departure station is located in the high region of Genoa, on Piazza Manin (from the city center, take bus 33 or 34).
The train climbs up the inside of the valley, offering a lovely view of the Cimitero Monumentale (monumental cemetery) of Staglieno. Above you loom the shapes of the Sperone, Puin, and Diamante Forts. Getting off at Campi, you can hike your way to the Forts of Genoa.
Continuing by train, you will climb into the mountains of the hinterlands, zigzagging between blooming chestnut trees and meadows; you'll also pass by some picturesque mountain villages. Among these villages, Sant'Olcese is famous for its artisanal salami. Getting off at the S. Olcese Chiesa station, you can visit the Salumificio Parodi (Parodi Salami Factory; for reservations call 010 709827 or 010 709945), which has produced traditional Sant'Olcese salami for more than 10 years.
The last stop on the railway is Casella, where it's worthwhile to take a walk through the piazza and admire the 16th century castle of the Fieschi. In front of the station, train passengers can rent a mountain bike and pedal through the greenery of the wild and unspoiled Alta Valle Scrivia.