Tuesday, May 01, 2012
We Like Genoa
We get to see Genoa at least once a year generally in early May when MYBA stages its annual Charter yacht Show The birthplace of Christopher Columbus this busy port is a terminus for cruise ships and a turn around point for ferries on the Sardinia run. It’s a working port dominated by a working city that has not lost sight of its roots yet still finds time to enjoy the pleasures of life.
What do we miss when we are not there
The buzz of bustle, the stand up lunches at busy street side cantinas and the joy of finding yet another wonderful specialist shop in yet another undiscovered alleyway.
Fresh pesto and pasta.
What we do when we return
The first thing we do is walk down to the old port, Porto Vecchio, to see the superyachts. The docks of Molo Vecchio are a wonderful example of distinctive, useful restoration and renovation from a state of decay a decade earlier and it is a wonderful contrast to see leisure yachts lay alongside docks once utilised by freighters loading wine and olive oil.
Where we stay
Hotel Bristol Palace, 00 39 010 59 25 41 www.hotelbristolpalace.com, bang in the centre, on the Vis XX Settmebre, walking distance to everywhere, fresh linen sheets every day and a surprisingly good supper bar. Double bedded room with Jacuzzi bath from €200 and up. Since its on the street where most of the shops are located and is close by the market this is perhaps our first choice. We also like the Grand Hotel Savoia
What we enjoy when not working
We admit we love to linger along the streets looking into shop windows. Sometimes we confess we slip in side and Genoa has been responisble for many much loved additions to our wardrobes. We never get bored with the aquarium in the Porto Antico (tel: 010 24.81.205 www.acquario.ge.it) it’s wonderful but do stop before entering and take a look at the exterior, it’s built in the shape and style of an ocean cargo ship docked in the harbour into which it extends. Once inside you should not miss the opportunity to tickle the skate, they love it! The large tanks housing shark and dolphin are quite spectacular.
What not to miss
The Oriental market, on Via Venti Settembre, an undercover haven of produce from pasta to vegetables, wonderful flowers, fresh fish and meat surrounded by smaller perimeter stalls stacked with cheeses, biscuits, salami and cold meats.
We suggest you avoid
Dark ally ways at night, it is not a mater of danger but more one of common sense and self preservation.
You need neither buses or taxis in Genoa and by taking one you would miss out on the myriad of alleyways that contain all the finest shops and cafes. Buses are, however, cheap, clean and plentiful and taxi drivers; honest and courteous and the easy to use Metro, while not extensive, is a fast way to get from place to place.
What we take home
Parmesan Cheese we buy in the market, we love the trofiette, pasta made from chestnut flour and often take it and some local pesto home to serve as a simple supper on the day we get home. When we feel greedy and have room in our bags we might slip in some fresh white or purple tipped asparagus to make dinner out of supper.
What we like to nibble while there
Grisini are high on our list and our favourites are those made with Olives. You must try a warm and tasty slab of Focaccia, and don’t miss out on fritto misto a selection of deep fried fish.
Where we eat
Its is well worth a trip out to the Boccadasse a fifteen minute drive or so from the main square which costs around 12 Euros in a taxi. There, several family run restaurants cluster around a tiny cove onto whose beach, small fishing boats are drawn up. They all serve fresh fish and all we have tried there we would recommend
What we drink
We like the local wines from the Cinque Terre, five tiny villages hanging onto the side of the mountains occupied from Roman times where the wine is little changed and worthy of its reputation. The Genoese wine; Val Polcevera Blanco goes well with a snack of Sant’Olcese salami and fresh fava beans which are always in season when we visit.