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Genoa lifts, funiculars and railways

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Genoa has the particularity of being located between the sea and the mountains and being built on a slope, the city is connected to the hillside districts by narrow, steep streets (the creuze, in Genoese).

To facilitate travel, Genoa has over the years developed an efficient vertical transport system consisting of lifts, funiculars, rack railways and historic railways, connecting the areas near the harbour with those on the hills.

In addition to reducing traffic and optimising time, these lifts offer a characteristic journey between Genoa‘s different districts, allowing visitors to admire the city’s fabulous panorama from above.

Let’s discover together the main lifts, funiculars, rack railways, and historic railways in Genoa and the tourist attractions that can be reached using these characteristic alternative means of transport.

Where to buy tickets

The City Council has renewed free vertical transport for all residents of the Metropolitan City of Genoa for 2024.

So for all lifts and funiculars in the city, and for the Granarolo rack railway, you do not have to buy a ticket if you are a resident.

It is sufficient to show an identity document, in case of control.

Non-residents must, however, use tickets valid on the entire urban network.

Tickets can be purchased at newsstands, Amt ticket offices, and on the official Amt Genova website.

The ticket costs €2,00 and is valid for 110 minutes. There is also a 24-hour ticket at an affordable price of €10.00.

On the other hand, the historic Casella railway is chargeable for all.

Genoa’s vertical means of transport: lifts, funiculars and historical railways

Lifts in Genoa

There are a total of fourteen lifts in Genoa and, as indicated above, they are used to connect the hilly areas of the city.

Most of these vertical lifts were built between 1909 and 1980.

Let us look in detail at those that are worth a visit because they lead to some of Genoa’s famous attractions.

Castelletto Levante Lift

castelletto lift

The Castelletto Levante lift connects Piazza Portello to Spianata Castelletto, the city’s belvedere, with a 57-metre drop.

The lift, in Art Nouveau style, was built in 1909 and is the oldest lift in Genoa.

It is open every day from 6.40 am to midnight.

At Spianata, you can admire one of the most suggestive views of the city of Genoa. Go to article

Castelletto Ponente lift

Castelletto Ponente lift is also called the twin of Castelletto Levante because it also leads to Spianata Castelletto and the stops are just a few metres apart.

The lower station of Castelletto Ponente is not located, however, in Piazza Portello but in Galleria Garibaldi (between Piazza Portello and Largo Zecca).

The lift is open daily from 6.40 a.m. to midnight.

Montegalletto – Castello d’Albertis lift

Genoa elevators, funiculars and railways

Montegalletto – Castello d’Albertis lift connects Via Balbi, near the railway station in Piazza Principe, to Corso Dogali, and takes you to the famous Castello d’Albertis and its museum in just 3 minutes.

The lift was built in 1929 and has the peculiarity of moving, for a section, horizontally (this section was added by Amt only in the 1990s).

The lift car, therefore, moves horizontally on the tracks for about 250 metres and then rises again, making a difference in height of about 100 metres.

Montegalletto – Castello d’Albertis lift departs every 4 minutes with a timetable of 7:10 – 19:50 (weekdays), and 7:15 – 20:55 (holidays).

Genoa Funiculars

Genoa’s funiculars also represent a non-polluting and traffic-free means of vertical transport.

There are two funiculars in operation, the Zecca – Righi funicular and the Sant’Anna funicular.

Zecca – Righi funicular

Genoa elevators, funiculars and railways

The Zecca – Righi funicular was built between 1895 and 1897 and makes it possible to travel from the historic centre of Genoa to the heights to the north of the city.

The time taken is 12 minutes and the difference in height covered is 278 metres over a distance of 1428 metres.

There are seven stations where the funicular stops:

  • Largo Zecca (terminus)
  • Carbonara
  • San Nicola
  • Madonnetta with the Sanctuary of the same name inside which is the impressive Perennial Crib. Go to article
  • Preve
  • San Simone
  • Righi (terminus)

Funicular is frequently used by locals as well as tourists and hikers as it allows one to reach the Natural Area of the Parco delle Mura in a few minutes, where one can undertake several interesting treks.

Genoa elevators, funiculars and railways
The Forte Diamante in the Natural Area of the Parco delle Mura

The Zecca – Righi funicular operates daily from 6.40 a.m. to midnight, with rides every 15 to 20 minutes.

To ride the funicular, you only need a city transport ticket (€2,00 for 110 minutes). Continue reading

Lifts, funiculars and railways in Genoa: Funicular Sant’Anna

The Sant’Anna funicular is the oldest funicular in Genoa and is estimated to be used by more than one million people every year.

In 2 minutes, it connects Piazza Portello to Corso Magenta with a route of 370 metres and a difference in height of 54 metres.

The Sant’Anna funicular was built in 1891 and operated with the water traction system for almost ninety years.

When the funicular was upstream, it could descend to the valley thanks to the weight carried by a water tank filled by the driver.

The same, it was connected to another car by a rope.

Thus, when it descended the valley, it pulled the other car upstream.

The Sant’Anna fun icular runs every day from 7 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. and you can use the same ticket as for the lifts (to get on the Zecca – Righi funicular, on the other hand, you have to stamp another ticket).

The Sant’Anna funicular owes its name to the 16th-century convent of the same name, located a short distance from the upper station.

Lifts, funiculars and railways in Genoa: the Granarolo rack railway

Genoa elevators, funiculars and railways
Granarolo rack – Source Amt

The Granarolo rack railway connects the Principe area with the Granarolo district.

It dates back to 1901 and still retains the cog rail, to increase the grip of the tracks on the steepest sections.

The rack, in fact, has a height difference of 194 metres and a gradient of up to 21.4%.

It is in service from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on public holidays.

The Granarolo rack railway has seven intermediate stops:

  • Principe (terminus, near the railway station)
  • San Rocco station
  • Centurione
  • Bari
  • Cambiaso
  • Chiassaiuola
  • Salita Granarolo
  • Via Bianco
  • Granarolo (terminus, from here there is a wonderful view of Genoa).

Even to travel on the Granarolo rack railway, you only need a simple city transport ticket.

Genoa’s lifts, funiculars and railways: Trenino di Casella

casella

The Genoa-Casella railway is the best preserved historical railway in Italy.

It offers a wonderful scenic route, 24 kilometres long in total, crossing three valleys (Valbisagno, Valpolcevera and Valle Scrivia).

Along the route, there are 17 stops where you can get off, hike, visit villages, and taste typical products.

▶ If you would like more information on the historic Genoa-Casella Train, you can read this article.

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Continue reading:

1. Genoa in a day

2. The Lantern of Genoa

3. Where to sleep in Genoa

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