This won’t come as a surprise, but Venice has been feeling the strain of overtourism for many years. During high season, around 100,000 people can tread its picturesque canal bridges and narrow cobbled alleys every day, causing overcrowding, polluted waters, and residents to feel pushed out of their homes. But in recent years, the city has put its foot down and introduced measures to fight the issue. As well as banning cruise ships after UNESCO warned the 'City of Canals' of the damage caused by hordes of passengers, Venice became the first in the world to introduce an entry fee for day-trippers, ensuring those who don't stay overnight are still contributing to its economy.
Perched on the opposite coastline to Venice, Genova is Liguria’s capital and the gateway to the Riviera, but remains a seriously underrated destination. As one of Italy’s busiest ports for centuries and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, it’s no surprise that it has a rich maritime history. Porto Antico, which has now been redesigned as pedestrianised cultural hub, has been active since the fifth century BC, and the Lanterna di Genova is the city’s 800-year-old lighthouse – the fifth tallest in the world. Head through medieval streets (similar to Venice's) to the Old Town and you’ll uncover several UNESCO-listed gems, with fine examples of medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic architecture. Pick up a farinata before you leave: Genova’s much-loved chickpea crepe is still made with a recipe originating from the Roman times.