Our Hidden Liguria Adventure Began in Genova (Genoa)

May 30, 2023

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The juxtaposition of new cars and clipper ship encompasses the life of Genova.

For the first time in my life, I created a group experience with a small number of people (7 including me) focusing on traveling off the beaten path in a part of Liguria rarely visited by Americans, Liguria di Ponente and Liguria dei Fiori. Where else to begin but in one of the most underrated cities in all of Italy, Genova (Genoa in English).

Our official date to begin our journey was 18 May, 2023. Day Zero (17 May) was when we met in the port of Genoa at our hotel. Some arrived from the USA while 2 Americans joined us from within Italy. For me, it was only a 45-minute train ride to La Superba, The Superb One, as Genoa is called by the Italians. 

After everyone checked in, we all wandered along the water, checking out what was available for dinner locally as well as enjoying the scenery of one of Italy’s ports. For many Italians who left their country to move to the Americas or Australia, Genova was one of the ports. Today, cruise ships and large ferries arrive to take travelers to far away places. The mystique of the port remains without the seedier ingredients found in earlier times. 

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Please note that the photo above at the port was taken earlier. Check out the tromp l’oeill, a style of painting that tricks the eye into seeing solide pillars, shutters and more instead of the real thing.

Those of us traveling together simply wanted a meal and time to get to know one another. We stopped at a local restaurant for a few tastes of Genoa, including adult beverages and PESTO. The restaurant was all right but the company was exhilarating. Everyone was excited to explore. 

The next morning, we enjoyed a true Italian breakfast at a local pasticceria in the old town. Our Guide, Cristina Cristini, met us while we were all consuming our coffee, tea, or Italian Hot Chocolate, accompanied by sweets of course. 

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Cristina Cristini, our licensed guide for Genova, her home town.

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One of the many shrines we see along the way as we explore the old town of Genova.

Off we walked through winding carruggi, narrow streets, where we met locals shopping for the day, and witnessed the beauty of a Christian shrine. 

As our walk took us ever upward, we entered the piazza where the Church of San Lorenzo stands.

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The distinctive black and white striped marble edifice complete with two lions is unforgettable. As usual, we saw some repair or cleaning work happening at the same time. So are the lions flanking the entrance.

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Lion in front of Construction

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Other lion away from Construction

This church’s construction began under the French but was finish over the centuries by the Genoa people. Inside is just and incredible as the outside. I highly recommend a visit.

As we progressed further up our path, we saw some examples of the elegant homes of the past, the unique sculptures and the general feeling of the people of Genova.

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We walked past this elegant home before our descent back to the sea and our ride to our next stop.

But we could not leave Genova without stopping in the hub of the old city, Piazza Ferrari and its gigantic fountain. 

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In this square you will find industry, banking, arts and entertainment and the pulse of the city. Definitely stop here when you visit.

Before saying farewell to Genova for this visit, we wandered through one of the ancient gates to the city.

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Outside the wall shown above we found the home where Christopher Columbus grew up across from one of the largest motorcycle and scooter that is in existence—at least I think it is. Did you know that there are over 100,000 motorcycles registered in Genova? They can zip through the tiny streets. They deliver groceries, the mail and who knows what else. It is quite a change from Chistopher’s home. 

That is what Genova is all about. It is seafaring, growth, change, flavors, rising and falling wealth, only to rise again. It is a fascinating city worth your time. And it is off the beaten path of cities. Like Rome, Florence, Venice and even Naples. I love all of those places. But in Genova, it is like a rediscovery of the past and a glimpse at the future of these proud people. Next time, travel with me. Let’s explore some more.

And thanks again to Cristina Cristini for her excellent guidance through this day.

At 1400, we met our bus driver and headed out of Genova Province and into the Ponente. There is so much more to share. 

A dopo.

Ciao for now!

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