Going to Genova by train is probably the wisest solution, even if not the cheaper one too.
If you come from the North of Italy or from the Western part of the region (Savona and Imperia provinces), you will be lucky to get off at the Piazza Principe station. I am saying this because this station lies in the old downtown and is, therefore, a good starting point to explore the main attractions of the city, but also because the station itself is located in a wonderful building (more photos to come in a "Things to do" tip).
This is one of the most beautiful railway stations I have seen so far, probably even more beautiful than Milano Centrale or Trieste stations.
You can reach this station with the still short metro line (stop "Principe") or with the frequent suburban trains connecting Voltri (industrial town on the Western riviera) to Nervi (touristic town on the Eastern riviera).
I don't drive, so I always chose train to travel around.. I found travel by trains in Italy is a good way... well connected, quite convenient and good prices.. compares to France and Germany, the ticket are very cheap..
From Genova, it's easy to go to other Riviera towns by train.
I made a 3 weeks trip in Italy with my mom last Sep, from Milano to Amalfitana.. we took more than 20 times train... with slow reginal trains or fast IC(InterCity), ES (Eurostar) ones.. all good.. for shortance, regional trains are good enough.. the ticket could be with or without seat reservation, you need to pay a few euros for it... if you travel on weekend or peak season.. i think it's better to spend a few more euros.. you can easily find the schedule and price on their website in advance..
check out this site, i found it is very helpful:
the ticket can be purchased online through their website.. or at the counter.. not every staff speaks english, but most of them are very nice and willing to help.. I prefer to buy tickets through the vending machine.. you can find many of them in the ticket hall.. it is programmed in 5 different languages (most european).. just chose the destination and the related station you need to go... there could be many train stations in one city on the list... so please make sure which one is the most convenient for you in advance, better to know the exact name of the train station.. follow the instruction then it will do.. you can pay with cash or credit card... the ticket(one way or return) will be printed out after purchasing.. remeber to take it from the slot... be careful in those big train stations, there could be some ppl wandering around in the hall, sometimes they will offer help if "they think" you have trouble with the machine.. after then, they would ask for some small money as a payback.. they are normally not local.. also when you insert your credit card or withdraw it, be ware of the thieves..
one thing more, normally the train ticket are valid for a period.. so DON'T FORGET TO VALID THE TICKET before you hop on the train. Otherwise the train staff could give you a good fine.. though two times we witnessed they gave a pass to some foreigner passengers who forgot to do it... better don't bet on it.
This is the main train station of Genoa - just a few hundred meters off the cruise-port. There is nothing special there, except a big statue of Columbus and a rather expensive internet-cafe across the big square. And when you leaving the station you should be careful not to enter the tiny small streets on the right ( towards the port ) - it might be a bit unsafe at certain times of the day and especially at night...
At Stazione Principe it is almost impossible to park a car there !
They say Mussolini made the trains run on time. Well il duce's legacy has not fared well.
Almost every train was running late. Even the signboard at Genoa station has a specific box to tell you how late each train is - 30 minutes - one hour. Ours was an hour and a half late. It never said that - just every ten minutes the lateness incremented by another ten minutes.
Trenitalia is a disaster. I thought French SNCF was bad but Italian rail services are infinitely worse
I had spent the previuos night in Milano and when I woke up I had not decided if I was heading towards the sea I had never seen or towards the mountains that I had found to be the most beautiful I had ever seen.
Towards the sea I went. From Milano to Genova I took the train. Just remember - even if you are an American the little British flag on the automated ticket purchase system denotes English. You don't have to be British in order to push this button, you just have to share their tongue.
It was a two hour train ride through wonderful country. None of my coach mates spoke English but somehow I got confirmation that I was in the right seat. Very few people in Italy speak English - but I had also just flew in from Holland and everyone speaks English there.
We rose along the tracks into the Appennino Ligure and back down into Liguria. We passed small Roman ruins with no one around them - not much of a novelty here in Italy.
From Milan to Genoa will cost you about 13 Euros one way. Save yourself the confusion - you are going to Stazione Principe in Genoa, one of several train stations that feed into Genoa but the one you want to get to from Milano.
Genoa town isn’t the biggest in Italy, but if you get off at the biggest central station you’ll have quite a bit to walk to the stadium.
A better idea is to choose a train that goes all the way to station Brignole. From there you just turn to the left outside the stadium, and then follow the road and the river until you after 10-12 minutes will see the stadium to your right. But make sure to take the train!
By car it’s easy, just follow the “stadio”-signs if you’re in the city-center. If you come from the highway it’s good since you then don’t have to go through the center. Just search for a “stadio”-sign also there.
Coming in by car to Genoa is really nice, since then you’ll see all the surroundings and the city itself from above.
I had it all printed out neatly and precisely from Bahn.de. All stations, platforms, times, cities, secret codes.
Lady selling tickets told me my printed trains do not exist. She does not have the on-line timetable, but she knows it all. So I got two tickets, hand written, many names of towns I should pass through ... no numbers at all. Some similarities with my perfect printed travel plan. I was checking both, to figure out where and when and what to do.
Villach? OK. Waited 2 hours for the connection towards Milano. It seemed simple. But still I decided to ask the conductor if this train is going to Milano. Train number was the same as the one on my paper, but you never know. No signora, you have to get off at Venezia Mestre. Two hours, dusk in Venice, not romantic at all! But somehow I arrived to Genoa at the same time as planned on my perfect printout. OK! Un caffè macchiato, prego!
So now I know, I have to ask the conductor for every station on my way back. And I did, and he told me that Venezia S.L. means Venezia Santa Lucia. OK. So instead at Mestre, I got off at St. Lucia. Bad conductor! No, bad lady who wrote stupid things on my ticket.
Now what? Gentili signori at the station told me I have to go to Villach (oh, no, not Villach again!) to catch the train to Ljubljana. Met a nice boy from Canada on the train, and one lovely lady from Gorizia who gave me a bottle of water. So we have to get off in Villach.
Guy from Italy who speaks no language other than Italian and wants to get to Monaco opened the door, looked out, this place where the train stopped did not look like a railway station. He opened the door on the wrong side of the train, we realized while the train was passing by the sign Villach West.
So we got off at Villach Oest. I have 3 hours, kein problem, but my fellow travelers were desperate to catch their connections.
We found someone in a uniform who advised them to take the taxi. He told me there is a train to Jesenice coming soon, don’t worry.
But I did, and I checked the itinerary, and realized that the train to Jesenice indeed goes to Jesenice - and not further to Ljubljana!
Met again with my travel-mates, Canadian asked If I have some Aspirin or something, will Paracetamol be ok? No allergies, how do you feel? He might join VT some day, I told him it’s a great travel site.
3 hours on my "favorite" station Villach West. Cold, empty, old clock clumping every minute. Staring, dreaming, hallucinating. Checked the Departures probably less than 30 times. Just in case. Finally, at 03.57 I dragged myself up on the train. I don't remember much.
Ljubljana is so beautiful at dusk.