The Italian Riviera Travel Guide: Genova
by Irina Tikhonova
Monday, February 12, 2018
To visit Genova means to understand Italy…
Coming to Genoa, at first, you do not know where to put yourself: there is a temptation to climb uphill, and wonder, watching life in the old houses stuck together. But first, it’s better to stay below: in fact, almost all “places of power” are concentrated there. At the sea edge, to which you steal for every time, roaming the seaside area, school history lessons are well remembered, on which we were told that Christopher Columbus was born in Genova.Do you remember this? A noble Columbian profile is found here everywhere: in the names of clubs, rides, eateries, medium-sized hotels and annoying advertisements. By the way, there is also a monument to a seafarer.
Columbus, Paganini and piano-piano
Genoa is not used to anything behind her brilliant rivals on the sea and on land. Thus, she vehemently disputed with Venice the title of the lady of the seas, and in Florence – the title of the main money bag of Europe. And if Venice was called the Lightest (La Serenissima), and Florence – the Holy (La Santissima), then Genoa got no less lush nickname – Magnificent (La Superba). And for good reason: without her knowledge, for centuries, no one could have stuck in the good half of the Mediterranean, the wealth of local bankers and businessmen were legendary, and even the all-powerful Venetian doges flinched at the sound of her name.
Upgraded by another Genoese celebrity – the architect Renzo Piano – The old port leads powerfully, and it is not worth resisting. Having spent in the piano’s creations – a giant Aquarium and Botanical Garden “Biosphere” – at least half a day, or even a day, you can again boldly return to the narrow streets of the old city. There you will certainly bring to the outstanding striped Cathedral of San Lorenzo, which stores a huge number of Christian shrines and fulfils the functions of the local Duomo. And coming out of it – will stumble on the sprawling and booming Ducal Palace. From there it is also close to the obligatory “dessert” – the area of Strada Nuova and Balbi streets, entirely built up with baroque palazzos. Half of them (about fifty) since 2006 are protected by UNESCO.
Luxury of the past
In the most famous – the Royal Palace (Palazzo Balbi), the Palazzo Rosso, the Palazzo Bianco and the Palazzo Turci – are collected masterpieces of Baroque painting – from Caravaggio to Rubens, antiques and the favorite violin of another great Genoese, Niccolo Paganini- from Caravaggio to Rubens, antiques and the favorite violin of another great Genoese – Niccolo Paganini.
It was the recalcitrant Genoa, which had not been the capital of Italy for a day, for the first time in the nineteenth century “thought about” its unification. The mouthpiece of these ideas was the Genoese, the patriot Giuseppe Mazzini, after wanderings around Europe, found peace at the famous monumental cemetery of Staleno.
The Italian Riviera – Genoa
From Genoa in 1860 sailed to southern Italy with a thousand soldiers future unifier of the Italian nation – Giuseppe Garibaldi. Today, as in many Italian and not only cities, in Genoa you can see the equestrian monument dedicated to it. And the main front street of the city built up with bourgeois palazzo since 1882 bears his name.
Having sat down for half an hour at the fountain in Piazza De Ferrari, you can finally storm the hills with winding serpentines, along which buses and cars rush, and to examine houses and remains of fortresses on the long-inhabited territory. Rushing along the hills, you will necessarily go down again – to the Old Port.
Perhaps, you will have time to see the sights that were not mastered for the first time: for example, the wildly popular panoramic lift Il Bigo all the same Renzo Piano and the air-glass creation of the Spanish Consuergi – the building of the Galata Sea Museum. No doubt, this is the most important museum of the city, gave the world to Columbus and held in prison the Venetian Marco Polo.
The Italians still consider the Genoese as artful scoundrels, greedy for money and able to wriggle out of any situations. Genoese in their defence say that life, they say, forced: try to go on a narrow strip of land, squeezed from all sides by the sea and overhanging rocks.
Hence – the crowded and crowded buildings in the old city: the place was saved so much that even the squares were not built using cathedrals for people’s gatherings. By the way, appeared in the XIX century, the Plaza de Ferrari made a real furore in Genoa. After all, the Genoese before this time were deprived of the opportunity to stroll in a cunningly roundabout way, to cool around the fountain and stare at the sides.
Tidbit for the rich
After standing at the lighthouse of La Lanterna, you can finally want to stay with Columbus and go to “conquer” unfamiliar and insanely picturesque places on the coast of Liguria – dearly loved by Russian oligarchs and Arab sheikhs – Portofino or the towns of Cinque Terre.
And you can not burden yourself with obligations to see what thousands of people have seen before you. And – jerk to the most trendy and close to the city centre beach in Albaro. Or escape from the hustle and bustle of the remote pebbled beach of Arenzano, where you can have a great time and also learn fish for dinner.
Anton Chekhov mentions Genoa in one of his most famous plays, The Seagull:
There’s an excellent street crowd. When you leave the hotel in the evening, the whole street is crowded with people. Then you move in a crowd without any purpose, back and forth, along a broken line, you live with it together, merge with it mentally and you begin to believe that in reality, one world soul is possible …
Italy like a woman
Do you want to know Italy, understand it, read countless stories, guidebooks? In fact, all this is meaningless. It is impossible to understand Italy. It’s almost like understanding a woman. But to find out Italy, you definitely need to be in Liguria. Genoa – a respectable lord will tell about Italy much more than any journalist, traveller. Come to my city to see that life is beautiful, and Italy is amazing!
by Irina Tikhonova
International journalist, illustrator and photographer, chief editor of the science channel QWERTY. From Saint Petersburg, now based in Italy, Genova. What's more? Freedom-loving girl, who wants to change the world and find herself.Read more at smislyona.com