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Bimbe in Viaggio

Family Travel Blog

Nervi: the marina, promenade and Parks

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Nervi is a residential neighborhood on the far outskirts of Genoa.

Thanks to the high ground that rises close to the Ligurian Sea and acts as a shelter when the tramontana wind blows, Nervi often has a mild climate with a couple of degrees more than the Ligurian capital, making it a great destination even for a walk in the winter months!

We don’t often go to Nervi because, if possible, we have an even harder time finding parking for the car than in Camogli.

However, if you are in the area it is definitely worth a visit also because between the promenade, parks, museums and, if you have children, playground, you can pleasantly spend from a couple of hours to an entire day!

And if you happen to be there at sunset time, stop for an aperitif at one of the many bars on the promenade, overlooking the sea… Unforgettable!

So let’s see what to see and do in Nervi even with children in tow.

What to see in Nervi

Nervi Marina

Nervi Marina
Nervi Marina

Between the end of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, the natural bay of Nervi was transformed into a small harbor as the City of Genoa wanted to encourage tourism in this location so beloved by outsiders, thanks in part to its proximity to the station.
A small harbor was also built where fishermen’s boats are still moored today.

The small harbor is overlooked by the typical colorful houses of Liguria overlooked behind by the heights; the setting is picture-postcard!

Today the small port of Nervi is a meeting place for young and old who, especially on summer evenings, drink a beer or eat a pizza or a fish dish in the many clubs in the area.

Nervi promenade “Anita Garibaldi”

A bit of history

Promenade Anita Garibaldi Nervi Genova
Promenade Anita Garibaldi
Steps leading to the cliff Nervi Genova
Steps leading to the cliff

From the small port of Nervi starts the striking Anita Garibaldi Promenade: this is a pedestrian path, about 2 km long, that runs along the sea and ends at the public beach of Capolungo.

The promenade stretches right down to the sea, and on clear days it is possible to be able to see the outline of Corsica and the promontory of Portofino.

The promenade, built in the late 19th century, was originally a path used by farmers and fishermen to reach farmland and fishing grounds and thus earn a living.

Since the path provided enchanting panoramic views, in 1862 Marquis Gaetano Gropallo decided to create a real promenade by the sea so that citizens could relax and appreciate that splendid view.

Unfortunately, however, a section of the path belonged to another family that disagreed with the marquis’ idea, so the promenade was divided into two paths: the first went from the Nervi marina to the Gropallo tower, and the second joined Via Serra Gropallo to Capolungo.

In 1945 it was named after Anita Garibaldi, and in 1956 it became completely pedestrian.

The Nervi promenade is an easy walk that is almost flat (except for the initial part that rises briefly). It is really pleasant to take a walk on a sunny day perhaps enjoying an ice cream.

Along the way there are several benches to rest and admire the view and also a couple of drinking fountains.

From the sea side in some places you can find steps leading to the cliffs: here you can sunbathe or swim in summer as small natural pools form between one rock and another. Be careful with children because some spots are poorly protected.

Torre Gropallo

Gropallo Tower halfway down the walk Nervi
Gropallo Tower halfway down the walk

About halfway down the walk is the Gropallo Tower, dating back to the mid-1600s and now home to the National Alpine Association. It can be visited (free of charge) and a guide will tell you the history of the tower.

Gropallo Tower is named after Marquis Gropallo, who devised the walk and bought the tower in the 19th century.

Previously it was known as the Hay Tower because hay was burned on its roof when it was necessary to signal imminent danger to those at sea.

About two-thirds of the way down the promenade finally, you will find the access point to the park with beautiful gardens, museums, a rose garden and a beautiful children’s playground inside.

Useful information and where to eat along the Nervi promenade.

You can bring a stroller.

The promenade can be accessed from several points but our advice is to walk along Via Felice Gazzolo so that you arrive at the Nervi Marina, take a look and then head left and start the walk.

Along the way you can find several restaurants, aperitif bars, pizzerias, and ice cream parlors. Almost all of them have tables overlooking the sea: great locations but quality not always up to par, unfortunately.

For a quick toast and an ice cream or granita with cream, we recommend the Bar gelateria graniteria at Pisacane, which remains near the access to the Parks.

Nervi Parks

Gardens within the Nervi Parks
Gardens within the Nervi Parks
Frugone Collections Museum Nervi
Frugone Collections Museum

The parks of Nervi are gardens that once belonged to private villas (villa Gropallo, Serra, Grimaldi, and Luxoro); today they are owned by the municipality, which has turned these spaces into museums.

If you want to visit the museums, there is a daily cumulative ticket that costs 10 euros. If you are also interested in visiting the museums in the city center, it is worth purchasing the Museum Card, which also includes public transportation.

The Nervi Parks area covers 92,000 square meters and has more than 100 botanical species.

It is truly a lovely place to take a walk or spread a towel on the lawn and have a picnic. You may even have a close encounter with some squirrels looking for pine nuts!

Inside the park, you will find a beautiful children’s playground shaded by large maritime pines. Here there is a drinking fountain with drinking water.

Also at the end of the walk (starting from the marina), you will encounter the rose garden which was established in 1981 and initially housed more than 800 species of roses. Today many fewer remain, but it remains a lovely place to take a stroll in the spring when the roses are at their peak.

Access to Parks from Serra Gropallo Street Nervi Genova
Access to Parks from Serra Gropallo Street
Playground within the Nervi Parks
Playground within the Nervi Parks
nervi roses

Park hours and access points

Access to Nervi Parks (as well as the promenade) is free.

The park is open from 8 am until sunset time.

There are several access points to the Nervi Parks from both the carriage road and the seaside promenade. From the latter you have to take Serra Gropallo Street and after a few meters on the right you will find the gate indicating the entrance to the park.

This entrance is not very easy because there is a staircase so if you have a stroller the advice is to continue along the promenade to the next access point which is more convenient because it has no stairs.

How to get to Nervi and where to park

By car – At the Genova-Nervi freeway exit, you need to turn left on the overpass towards Nervi and continue for about 3 km.

The major (paid) parking lots are in Via del Commercio, Via Bartolomeo Pagano, a few in Via Guglielmo Oberdan.

You can then continue on via Marco Sala, via Capolungo: you will feel like you have gone very far but an entrance to the Parks is right in that area so eventually you can do the reverse route i.e. parks and promenade and lastly marina.

Finally, there is a small parking lot next to the station but it is very difficult to find it free.

Train – The Genoa-Nervi station (Piazza Antonio Sciolla, 1) is close to the promenade and the entrance to the parks so it is very convenient (timetables here).

Bus – From the Genova-Brignole station, you can also reach Nervi by bus n 15 and n 17 (departure about every 10 minutes).

Boat – In warm weather there is a boat service from Genoa’s Old Port, offered by Golfo Paradiso. The price is around 15 euros (round trip).

Sunset at Nervi Parks
Sunset at Nervi Parks

Where to sleep

Appartmento con garage KATE – Very nice apartment with exposed beams, with a small terrace and garage parking included. It is located in the vicinity of Nervi Parks. It does not have crib availability. Click here.

Hotel Villa Bonera – Possibility of family rooms with breakfast and parking space included. The villa is located in a 15th-century building with frescoed ceilings, very charming. Possibility to request crib at an additional cost. Click here.

You might also be interested in:

1. Trekking at ponds of Nervi

2. Aquarium of Genoa

3. Camogli

4. Sestri Levante

5. Portofino

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