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Genoa - Love at First Sight.

sunny

Sunrise from our hotel room, New Year's Day 2014. - Genoa

Sunrise from our hotel room, New Year's Day 2014. - Genoa

Bringing in the New Year - 2014.

We travelled around Lombardy on a seven­ day Lombardy pass which was great value and there were so many places to see within Lombardy; we missed out loads of them. So when my husband insisted we also went to Genoa, I thought this is crazy. It is in Liguria, so not covered by our pass, why bother? Well, I was certainly glad we did bother as I loved Genoa more than anywhere else I've ever been in Italy, possibly just more than anywhere else I've ever been. I told my husband, "I want to live here. Let's look for a house. "

Colourful Genoa street. - Genoa

Colourful Genoa street. - Genoa

Why did I love Genoa so much? It was a mixture of things. The main streets of the old town were lined with crumbling palaces filled with grand staircases, ornate archways, magnificent chandeliers and imposing statues. Leading off these streets were narrow winding lanes that made you feel that someone would leap out and cut your throat if you set foot on them. OK, I'm exaggerating, we did set foot on them and have lived to tell the tale. Then there were wonderful, breathtaking churches, the wonderful stripy cathedral, the amazing Church of Jesus; plain on the outside, stunning on the inside.

On our second day I told my husband that we should explore the port, then look at the old town again. I guessed the port would not be interesting and our walk there would not take long. Wrong again! The port was fantastic!!! It was filled with a wide assortment of boats, contained an aquarium, a scenic crane, a pirate ship and some truly bizarre works of art. I could have spent the whole day there. The most amazing thing of all, though, was Genoa was not filled with tourists. Only in a country as rich in treasures as Italy could such a beautiful city be overlooked. The churches were filled with locals praying, the streets with locals getting ready to bring in the new year.

Genoa is located on the Mediterranean Sea and is Italy's largest port. It is also the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, ­ though why he wanted to leave here and bother going anywhere else is beyond me. The old town is fantastic; the port is lovely; there are several funiculars that we did not have time to go on. I'm pretty sure their views would have been stunning. We arrived here in the afternoon on New Year's Eve and left around 3pm on New Year's Day. We could happily have stayed much, much, much longer.

Palazzo Reale.

This palace, located on Via Balbi, was quite near our hotel, so this was the first place we wandered into. Palazzo Reale means royal palace. Construction of the palace began in 1618. It was originally the home of the Balbi family. Then the palace was sold to the Durazzo Family in 1677. They enlarged it. In 1823 the palace changed hands again and was owned by the Royal House of Savoy. Since 1919 the palace has belonged to the state. It is now a museum. We're not museum people. We just enjoyed wandering around the courtyard and gardens, viewing the building, the pond, the statues, the grand staircases, the works of art, the mosaic floors.

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

Palazzo Reale - Genoa

The University.

The University of Genoa was also on Via Balbi a short distance from the Palazzo Reale but on the other side of the road. It was another great building with lion statues, huge hanging lights and pillars. Genoa's university was founded in 1481. Nowadays it has around 40,000 students and about 1,800 teaching and research staff.

The University

The University

The University

The University

The University

The University

Via Garibaldi.

The Via Garibaldi was a wonderful, colourful street containing several palaces: the Palazzo Bianca, the Palazzo Rosso and the Palazzo Tursi. I'm not even sure if we were able to go in their courtyards or not. By that stage I was getting so overwhelmed with grand buildings I did not know where I was. I think it is called palazzo drunk.

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Via Garibaldi

Piazza De Ferrari.

Piazza De Ferrari is Genoa's most important public square. It links Genoa's historical heart with its modern, commercial centre. In the middle of the square a large fountain shoots jets of water into the air. Several important buildings are located on this square. The Palazzo Ducale which means Doge's Palace has its main entrance round the corner on Piazza Matteotti, and its second entrance on Piazza De Ferrari. This grand old building was once the home of the Doges of Genoa, but is now a museum as well as a centre for cultural events and arts exhibitions. This palace dates from 1251. In July 2001 the Palazzo Ducale hosted the G8 Summit, which was attended by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States.

Piazza De Ferrari - Genoa

Piazza De Ferrari - Genoa

The Palazzo Ducale - Genoa

The Palazzo Ducale - Genoa

The Teatro Carlo Felice is the main opera house of Genoa. It is used for performances of opera, ballet, orchestral music, and recitals. The hall is called after Duke Carlo Felice, and dates from December 24th, 1824. In 1941 a shell fired by a British warship hit the roof of the theatre making a large hole. Further damage occurred on the 5th of August, 1943 when incendiary bombs caused a backstage fire. After the war the restoration of the theatre began, but it did not officially re­-open until June 1991. There is also an equestrian statue of Garibaldi in front of the theatre. Address: piazza De Ferrari.

The Teatro Carlo Felice - Genoa

The Teatro Carlo Felice - Genoa

­

Genoa Cathedral.

The San Lorenzo Cathedral, or St. Laurence Cathedral, is Genoa's stunningly beautiful black and white striped cathedral. It was founded in the 4th or 5th century. Since the Crusades it has housed the ashes of Saint John the Baptist, ­San Giovanni Battista, the patron saint of Genoa. The cathedral had a very lucky escape on February 9th, 1941, when the city was being shelled by the British. The shell struck the building, but did not explode. The shell is on display inside the cathedral. There is a treasury under the cathedral, which we did not visit. It is said to house the chalice Christ drank from at the last supper. When I went in at first, I was enjoying the dark, slightly gloomy atmosphere. Suddenly someone dropped a Euro into a slot
and one of the walls was beautifully illuminated to reveal various delightful marble statues. I absolutely loved the sad looking lion statues outside the cathedral with their big gentle eyes. Address: Via San Lorenzo. ­

Genoa Cathedral - Genoa

Genoa Cathedral - Genoa

Cathedral nativity scene. - Genoa

Cathedral nativity scene. - Genoa

Illuminated scene - Genoa

Illuminated scene - Genoa

Sad lion. - Genoa

Sad lion. - Genoa

Sad lion. - Genoa

Sad lion. - Genoa

My husband gets friendly with a cathedral lion. - Genoa

My husband gets friendly with a cathedral lion. - Genoa

The Church of Jesus.

The Church of Jesus ­Chiesa del Gesu ­ dates from the 16th century. It is located near the Piazza De Ferrari and near the cathedral. The church is attractive enough from the outside, but even so, this does not prepare you for the amazing beauty of inside. Every inch of the walls and ceilings is covered with works of art. I was gazing open-­mouthed at its splendour and during our visit the only other people inside were worshipers not tourists. There are even two paintings by Reubens inside this church. I wanted to take photos of the inside of the church on our first visit, but my camera batteries died. I returned with new batteries next day, but there was a service going on. We sat for a while listening to the singing and the words of the priest. This is an amazingly beautiful building. Do not miss it. Unfortunately I only have photos of the outside.

The Church of Jesus - Genoa

The Church of Jesus - Genoa

The Church of Jesus - Genoa

The Church of Jesus - Genoa

Porta Soprana and Columbus's House.

In the 12th century a ring of defensive walls was built around Genoa. The only remaining section of these walls is the gate Porta Soprana. This was built in 1155. Go through the gate and walk towards the newer looking part of town and you will pass the elegant cloister of San Andrea dating from the 12th century and a tiny building which was once the home of Christopher Columbus. Address: Piazza Dante ­ Centre ­ East of De Ferrari.

Porta Soprana - Genoa

Porta Soprana - Genoa

Porta Soprana - Genoa

Porta Soprana - Genoa

The home of Christopher Columbus - Genoa

The home of Christopher Columbus - Genoa

The home of Christopher Columbus - Genoa

The home of Christopher Columbus - Genoa

The cloister of San Andrea - Genoa

The cloister of San Andrea - Genoa

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta.

From Porta Soprana we decided to head down Via di Ravecca, because it looked interesting. We then headed down Via Ravasco and ended up at the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano. This lovely church was designed in 1522 by Galeazzo Alessi. Construction of it lasted from more than fifty years. We did not have time to go inside unfortunately, but admired it from the outside and enjoyed the nearby views over the port, too.

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta - Genoa

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta - Genoa

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta - Genoa

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta - Genoa

View over the port. - Genoa

View over the port. - Genoa

View over the port. - Genoa

View over the port. - Genoa

The Harbour.

I loved Genoa's old town so much, I did not want to even leave it to go to the harbour, but I was glad I did as the harbour was stunningly beautiful, quirky and hugely entertaining. We began by looking at mosaics of immigrants getting set to leave Genoa near the maritime museum, strolled past countless boats, saw, but did not go into the aquarium, were impressed by the scenic crane, saw the odd looking biosphere, the Neptune pirate ship and some strange works of art.

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Genoa Harbour - Genoa

The aquarium, Genoa Harbour - Genoa

The aquarium, Genoa Harbour - Genoa

Outside the Maritime Museum. - Genoa

Outside the Maritime Museum. - Genoa

The Neptune pirate ship moored in Genoa's harbour is a prop from a Roman Polanski film called Pirates. It was built in 1985. The bigo crane can take tourists up for scenic views over the harbour and old town. The Maritime Museum is supposed to have interesting exhibitions on emigrants leaving Italy for a new life as depicted on the wall mosaics outside it.

The Neptune Pirate Ship. - Genoa

The Neptune Pirate Ship. - Genoa

Bigo, panoramic crane. - Genoa

Bigo, panoramic crane. - Genoa

Bigo, panoramic crane. - Genoa

Bigo, panoramic crane. - Genoa

Bigo, panoramic crane. - Genoa

Bigo, panoramic crane. - Genoa

Statues at the Harbour. ­

We encountered a weird multipiece statue that looked different from every angle as we walked around it at the harbour. We then encountered a statue of Gandhi. Finally we encountered a rather odd dinosaur statue made out of old tyres and bits of rubbish.

Odd statue - Genoa

Odd statue - Genoa

Odd statue from other angle. - Genoa

Odd statue from other angle. - Genoa

Gandhi statue. - Genoa

Gandhi statue. - Genoa

Gandhi statue - Genoa

Gandhi statue - Genoa

Rubbish eating dinosaur - Genoa

Rubbish eating dinosaur - Genoa

The Biosphere.

The Biosphere is a glass and steel structure measuring 20 m in diameter and weighing 60 tons. It is located in Genoa Harbour and was designed by Renzo Piano who also designed the bigo crane. The biosphere houses a small ecosystem of tropical animals and plants.

Harbour view with biosphere - Genoa

Harbour view with biosphere - Genoa

Harbour view with biosphere - Genoa

Harbour view with biosphere - Genoa

Cuthroat Alleyways.

Not all of Genoa is palatial, however. Leading off each of the broad, fancy main streets are lots of narrow alleyways which add an air of danger to your explorations. They all looked pretty intriguing I must say.

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Cuthroat Alleyways

Washing Lines.

To me there is just something extremely attractive about washing­ lines in warm overseas places. They make a picturesque place look real and lived in while adding even more colour to it than exists already.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Washing Lines.

Christopher Columbus Statue.

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in 1451. During his eventful life, he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. He hoped to find a shorter route to India to trade for spices, but instead he discovered the Americas. Between 1492 and 1504 he made a total of four trips to the Caribbean and South America. He died in 1506. In Genoa you can visit the home of Christopher Columbus. You can also see a statue of him near Piazza Principe Station.

Christopher Columbus Statue.

Christopher Columbus Statue.

Christopher Columbus Statue.

Christopher Columbus Statue.

Piazza Principe Station.

This is Genoa's main station and bits were in a mess and under repair during our visit. As it had turned cold on the day we left, we waited for our train in a formerly grand waiting room, complete with pigeons, beggars and sleeping vagrants and of course lots of fellow passengers. Again a superb mixture.

Piazza Principe Station

Piazza Principe Station

Posted by irenevt 20:48 Archived in Italy

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Comments

"palazzo drunk" . . . what an interesting idea. Seems like a safe thing to do.

I love the laundry lines too. They are pretty and practical. Where we live, it is actually illegal to put out a laundry so we dry ours inside on a rack in our bedroom. We have dryer but it seems silly to use it when nature will dry the things without wasting energy . . . ;)

by Beausoleil

I never knew laundry was illegal anywhere. guess it drips.

by irenevt

It's the clotheslines that are illegal. Hanging clothes are considered unsightly. Everyone is supposed to use a clothes dryer so undies are not hung out in public view. Never mind the electricity or gas that is wasted. It Is the American way. Yes, I know it's crazy. We hang ours on racks inside the house but most people use their dryers . . . and complain about global warming. Makes no sense.

by Beausoleil

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