Trip to Italy – Genoa
At the end of November and the beginning of December, I visited the north of Italy. The city that started it all? Portofino. I am a fan of watching walking tours in different parts of the world and that’s how I discovered the small town on the Italian (or Ligurian) Riviera.
I will dedicate another post to Portofino in the next few weeks.
And talking about walking tours, I even have my own YouTube channel on the subject.
I digress though. Let’s get back to the city where Christopher Columbus was born.
When I started researching travel to Portofino, I discovered that it was wiser to stay in the town of Santa Margherita Ligure (and it definitely is).
However, Santa Margherita does not feature an airport, so your best bet is flying to Genoa or Milan. As Genoa is closer to the town than Milan, that’s where I decided to fly to. The train ride from Genoa to Santa Margherita takes less than one hour and departs from Genoa Brignole (downtown) or Genoa Nervi (east).
But, once I had to fly to Genoa, I spent a few days at the beginning and the end of the trip there.
Checking travel advice from blogs and YouTube videos, the city didn’t seem to have much to offer, but my visit proved otherwise. The town is vibrant (it was hard to walk on some downtown streets on a Sunday, with so many people coming and going), and has fantastic architecture and museums.
The Genovese cuisine has components and dishes I have never come in contact with before, like the Crema Di Noci (walnut cream sauce), the farinata (chickpea pancake), and the pasta variations called troffie, pansotti and corzetti (or croxetti). Testaroli is something in-between pasta and bread, which tastes more like a pancake but is served with sauce just like pasta.
The world-famous pesto and focaccia are also two of the main specialties of the region.
I have Instagram posts with pictures of some of these dishes:
Beer and Wine
Wine is not first on my list of choices for drinks, although I occasionally drink it.
I am a fan of beers with strong flavours, like IPAs, DIPAs, Hazy IPAs, some sours, stouts and ambers.
During my first visit to Italy, more than 10 years ago, the offer of beers out of the mainstream was basically none. At the restaurants, you would only find lagers made by giant beer producers like Peroni or Moretti.
As light beer is not for me, I came to Italy prepared to drink mostly wine. And they are good. Although I did not love any of them, I found them all good.
But I had a surprise with the beers. The beer landscape seems to have changed a lot in Italy and now the mainstream beers are the exception at the restaurants. I had the chance to drink beers I have never seen before and they ranged from average to really good. The posts below will show some of those.
The city’s architecture is beautiful (like most Italian cities I visited) and walking the streets is a delight to the eyes.
Chances are you will be staying close to or at the street called XX Settembre, one of the main in the city. Some parts of the sidewalks on that street have mosaic floors and ceilings held by classical columns, giving you the feeling you are walking in an open shopping mall.
The market in the region is also worth a visit.
If you like museums, don’t miss the Musei Di Strada Nuova. It’s a set of three museums placed close to each other: Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco e Palazzo Tursi. You can visit all three in about two to three hours and see great pieces of classic art and even Paganini’s famous Cannon violin.
If you want to have a taste of the Cinqueterre without going that far, a twenty-minute bus ride can take you to Boccadasse, a charming former fishermen’s village. The visit is short, but don’t miss the opportunity to have a spritz in one of the cafes while you admire the sea and the neighbourhood’s architecture.
But this is just the beginning of this series of posts. In the next post, I will talk about Santa Margherita Ligure.