Genoa is very old and very new. The layout of the city and the famous harbour are said to be fundamentally unchanged since Christopher Columbus was a boy here in the 1440’s. But if you stop and look, you will see modern life at its best thriving, proudly, in Genoa today. Above is the breakfast room at a hotel in Genoa called Palazzo Cicala, which overlooks a very nifty cathedral, San Lorenzo.
If you stepped outside the hotel–and tilted your head a bit–this is what you’d see. Photo from here.
The architect, Renzo Piano still works from his native Genoa, and he has been busy for more than 20 years adding ideas, structures, and life to the city, especially on the old harbour. He designed one of the world’s largest aquariums there, along with a biosphere (above), seen here.
This is a structure/sculpture called Bigo, designed by Mr P to celebrate the hardworking cranes of the Genoan docks that, along with thick-backed shore workers, have loaded and unloaded the world’s heavy goods for a long, long time. One of the arms of the Bigo now lifts tourists above the harbour for a gull’s eye view. Photo above here.
This painting of the harbour, done more than 400 years ago by a man called Grassi, shows the busy-ness of the place back in the age of wooden boats and sails. More here
The above image is of the harbour about a hundred years earlier, around the time that Genoa’s own C. Columbus set out (with Spanish boats and hopes) for America. It shows the fortifications necessary to keep a harbour secure for its customers.
The lighthouse on the left in the above ancient print still stands at the entrance to the Genoa harbour, and people say it’s the oldest anywhere. Its red cross on a white background is the emblem of Genoa and has come to symbolize “help available” all over the place.
This painting of a ceremony that may never have happened is weird and beautiful, from here. It is among the many many treasures of the swell Maritime Museum in Genoa.
Another example of old Genoa meets new Genoa is the street called via Garibaldi (pic above left found here), whose amazing palaces (along with those of an adjacent street) were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Outside, these buildings tell you a lot about what people fancied in the 1500’s. Like great heavy doors and great scary doorknockers.
They also cared about eye catching colours combined with the kind of craftsmanship we are unlikely to see again. Seen at Wapedia here
Inside, past the (heavy, scary) doors of these places, you might see almost anything (these neat chairs in Palazzo Bianco, photo here)
Silence and solitude and arches gently hued. And this is a public building! Nice image and more from here.
Or you’ll find a swish contemporary furniture store called via garibaldi 12, which is its address. See more
Genoa claims both Pesto sauce and Focaccia as its own, .
And there is seafood in endless variety, some of it spooky, all of it tasty, wherever you turn.
Above, dinner for two, outdoors, in a plain but life filled Genoan piazza, yummy to the end.
Just go, when you get a chance.
and go back often.
Two pics above from here.