Lanes, Cobbles and Amazing Ceilings.
Yellow and Oranges.
Beauty and the Beast.
Ships, Pirates, Yachts and a Submarine.
Those 4 sentences summarise the main impressions that I came away from Genoa Italy with, and will always stick on my mind.
Genoa Italy is a place that I had heard of, but knew very little about and had no need – or desire – to visit it. In the end I discovered when I did go, a remarkably beautiful and interesting place. Visiting places you have not actively desired to go to usually do provide the most surprises, and enjoyment.
I went to Genoa as I was attending a travel blogger conference in the city. I did not have very high expectations of the place, and had not been inspired much by what I had read online about it. I actually wondered why the conference had chosen to be there.
Initial impressions were of an unattractive, industrial and unappealing city. Until I entered the time machine.
The drive into the city revealed an unattractive, industrial and unappealing landscape. It looked like a highly industrialised post World War city. My expectations lowered. It was only once I arrived at my hotel, the Grand Hotel Savoia, that Genoa started to get really interesting. The hotel, as I have written about in my article “Grand Hotel Savoia: A Hotel From Hercule Poirot Era”, was like stepping out of the modern world and stepping back into the 1930s. I felt like I had just been transported back in time.
Then the beauty started to reveal itself.
From the hotel I could see yellow and orange buildings and apartment blocks stretching up all around the hills around the city. Yellow and orange seems to be the dominant colour of the buildings spreading out from Genoa. It will be a lasting memory.
From my hotel, I set off to explore the city. As strolled, I discovered that Genoa is packed full of incredible buildings and many narrow cobbled lanes. The buildings get even more breathtaking once you were inside as so many have most stunning and impressive ceilings and architecture.
It was then I decided that Genoa would for me always be the beauty and the beast.
The beast is the industrial side to the city that makes it an important economic centre, but there is also a real beauty that is the old town. The beauty side of Genoa is stuck in, and embraces, a past of glorious buildings, rich heritage and constant discoveries. As you explore the city and the tiny lanes, you keep finding new buildings, museums, galleries and shops. The city was a European City of Culture in 2004, and is investing in restoring and maintaining these old buildings.
There is also really a new and 3rd aspect to Genoa which is all around the port area. Here there are wide walkways, a massive new Aquarium with 10,000 species, the huge Maritime Museum with a decommissioned submarine mored outside, Roman Polanski’s Pirate Ship from his film “Pirati”, the Bigo ride and hundreds of fishing boats and yachts.
For the maritime and ship buff, Genoa has a strong link to shipbuilding that still goes on today, a busy cruise ship port with almost 300 ships visiting each year, is the base of the Costa Cruise Line, holds a massive International Boat Show and welcomes thousands of visits by passenger ferries and yachts every year. For more about Genoa’s link to ships read my article: “Genoa: City of Rich Maritime History”.
The best way of explaining the beauty and interest of Genoa is through pictures, not words. So these pictures I took that does just that.
Read more that I have written about Genoa:
Genoa: City of Rich Maritime History
Grand Hotel Savoia Genoa. A Step Back To Hercule Poirot Era
See all my photos of Genoa on Flickr