Genoa / Genova - Part One

Today was Day One in Genova. This morning I took the train from Asti to Genova. The weather here is not good. When I arrived it was threatening to rain. Luckily, there are all kinds of street vendors harassing people passing by to buy their umbrellas. These guys sure do know their target market.

The place I am staying is called Morali Palace.  My room is on the fourth floor of a building from the 1700's. The room is nice with a great view of the harbour. It is located in the Piazza della Raibetta, very close to the Aquarium, which is one of the largest in Europe. The aquarium has a domed-like structure that is remarkably similar to the Expo Ball / Telus Science World (or whatever we are now supposed to call it) back home in Vancouver.

After checking in I decided to walk around the city for a little bit.

Genova is the capital of the province of Liguria, and is the sixth largest city in Italy. The city has a nickname of La Superba (the glorious one), due to it's rich history and many impressive landmarks. Several buildings within the city have been recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The city has a vibrant art, music, food and history. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and Niccolo Paganini.

The city's name is derived from the Latin word for knee (genu, plural genua). When looking at a map of Italy, Genova is located just under the "cuff" of the "boot" right where the knee would be. So this makes perfect sense.

The first place I came to was Piazza de Ferrari. There is a beautiful round fountain in the center of the square. The square is surrounded by both financial and art buildings. These include the Palace of the Doges (Dukes), the Theatre Carlo Felice; home to opera and ballet performances, The Ligurian Academy of Fine Arts and the Stock Exchange building.

There are many churches and cathedrals in Genova. The most noted is the Cattedral de San Lorenzo, with its striking black and white striped exterior. The cathedral was first founded in 6th century AD, and through various stops and starts and fires and additions and refurbishing, was finally completed the way it looks today in the 17th century. That's a VERY long time to build a church. There are a number of exceptional artworks and frescoes within the church, as well as a 15in shell from WWII, which struck a corner of the naive but failed to detonate. It is proudly displayed, with the inscription (in Italian):

This bomb launched by the British fleet while breaking through the walls of this great cathedral here fell unexploded IX February MCMXLI. A perennial gratitude of Mary, the city of Genoa wanted engraved in stone the memory of such grace.

Time to eat. Genova is famous for its pesto and fresh focaccia, so those were first on my list of things to try. I found a little pizzeria, and sat down and had myself the BIGGEST pesto pizza you could imagine, along with some red wine.

After dinner I wandered around a little more, but by that time it was starting to rain. Walking back to my palace / hotel, I was not five minutes in the door before the thunder started and the lightening began to flash. Hopefully it will all blow over and tomorrow will be a beautiful day for site seeing in this historic city.

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