Monday, February 04, 2008

The “Less Discovered” Gem of Genova

When one mentions Genova, people often think of a big port city, too many apartment buildings flanking the autostrada and possibly pesto. It is gritty in parts, even ugly, but once you immerse yourself in the historical center and old port, you will find a city of many faces, beautiful buildings, incredible history and a wonderful alternative to the “Big Three” (Rome, Florence and Venice).

Lui and I have been spending more time there recently (thank you Fodor’s!) and have come up with a list of what to do & see:
  • Strada Nuova (aka Via Garibaldi) - IMO some of the most interesting and beautiful buildings in Italy exist on this pedestrian only street on the edge of centro storico.
  • Palazzo Reale & the National Gallery - Just the building alone is gorgeous and the art inside quite lovely too. There is a nice view of the old port from the back garden as well.
  • La Maddelena (centro storico) - It doesn’t get more real Italian than this, where business men in Armani suits, butcher and prostitutes (yeah, you read right!) intermix in everyday life along these narrow alleyways.
  • San Lorenzo - Over 1000 years old, this grey & white marble striped gothic chiurch is the city’s main cathedral.
  • Palazzo Ducale - The Duke’s Palace was restored several years ago and has some of the most beautiful frescos in Liguria.
  • Via XX settembre - A shopper’s paradise: everything from Zara to H&M to Max Mara under beautifully decorated “portici” (loggias).  Dare I say, I am starting to prefer Genova over Florence for my every once in awhile shopping sprees?!
  • Chris’ house - You can actually visit the little home where Columbus was born.
  • Mercato Orientale - Sensory overload of sights, tastes and smells in this wonderful market filled with stalls of produce, fish, meats and spices.
  • The Port - Great place for kids and adults alike. Explore an old pirate ship, visit the world class aquarium or take a ferry boat out to view the city by sea.

A word on the food and where to eat. Pesto is king here but other wonderful dishes can be found as well. The thing is in Genova, it’s not about the “name” because just about every “mom and pop” trattoria is going to serve you a gastronomic delight. Be bold and enter where your nose takes you. But if you need a little coaxing, here are a few places to keep in mind:

Maxela - Vico Inferiore del Ferro 9/r
Tel: 010 2474209

Enoteca Sola - Via C. Barabino 120/r
Tel: 010 594513

Bakari - Vico del Fieno 16/r
Tel: 010/291936

Hope you can make a visit soon...

A dopo!


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

So nice to see something about Genova; I haven't been yet, but I'll refer back to this post when I make it up there :)

Jill said...

What a great surprise! I have so much to see, and now read about in Liguria… Thanks for stopping by. Tell your husband that tonight we are heading into Catania for St. Agatha. I’ve neer been, so I’m really excited.

PS: Nice choice of background design :)

Jerry Adams said...

If you visit Genova make sure you go all the way to Righi. Grab line 40 bus from Brignole train station and don't get off it until it stops up on the hills surrounding the city.

Bea-u-tee-fullll views await there!

Also once you're there take a 30 minute walk to the Sperrone fort.

Oh sorry, forgot to introduce myself: hello I'm Jerry and I'm a pestoholic ;)

Unknown said...

Hi Megan, your blog is fantastic! I am Italian, from Genova, and I move to NYC 6 years ago. I now live in New Canaan, Ct, a small American town, really a lovely place.
It was nice to find your blog from Lerici, wonderful place, and all your thoughts about living in another country.
I am glad you like Italy and Liguria, on my side I love NYC and I like New Canaan, although it's less easy than NY.
About Genova: don't miss Boccadasse and Nervi ( the gelateria Giumin is a must).
Have fun there....