Genoa: the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and Paganini, Italy’s biggest port and, as Charles Dickens remarked in 1844 "A city of the strangest contrasts." Renaissance palaces, grand 19th-century boulevards and gilded Baroque churches are squeezed alongside, and on top of, a warren of steep medieval streets. Fine restaurants and chic bars are hidden in the narrow alleys. Genoa is made for exploring and getting lost in the medieval quarter – one of Europe’s largest – and is all part of the experience. With one of the biggest universities in Italy, Genoa’s student population guarantees a buzzing nightlife.