You say Genoa…

…I say “Salami!”

Yes, we have arrived at the capital of Liguria, Genoa, nicknamed la Superba due to its glorious past.

In addition to many notable achievements (in addition to its salami), it is of course the home of hero/villain Christopher Columbus, who had the distinction of discovering a world that didn’t realize it was undiscovered. The photo on top is the outline of the house where he was born. Breezy in winter, I would imagine.

We feel like we are back in full tourist gear now. It must be that we are just city people and need to have lots of restaurant choices and access to public transport. Whatever. We took the afternoon to wander around Genoa (Genova, if you are Italian) and we like what we saw. This is a real city and it has some lovely features – the usual Victor Emmanuel statue, a gracious galleria, a huge central piazza, beautiful arcades, a busy post-war theater, and a real sense of life.

We strolled by the architecture school – more on Genovan modern architecture tomorrow – and the graffiti will give you a sense of what some students are thinking. (Look it up.) Guess not everyone is into curves.

We looked at a few churches on our walk and admired some 11th century naves and fading mosaics in the church of San Donato.

Then we roamed the picturesque streets until we found the Ducal Palace. Not bad digs. We ate facing this symbol of power, with the police station right next to us. We felt very secure.

We returned to our hotel, which has a few aspects worth sharing. We have a YUGE room, which looks like Mary Todd Lincoln stayed here before she settled in France. The elevator is fantastic – pure early 20th century, but it works quite well. Again, we are getting a lot of variety in our housing!

Don’s Food Corner

We landed in Genoa on a Monday, which is usually the day restaurants are closed.  We also arrived a little late and lunchtime came even later because we had to get some laundry done. By the time we hit the streets, it was well after 3pm, the time when most restaurants, if not already closed for the day, close up after lunch and do not reopen until at least 7pm.  In other words, we were happy to find anything open.

We settled on what was billing itself as a “bar” but had what looked like a pretty extensive menu.

We started by splitting a salad of a mixture of lettuces, two thick slices of Italian blue cheese, beautifully ripe red tomatoes and walnuts.  Sprinkled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this salad was great.  The cheese was particularly interesting.  Not too pungent as the French (or American) version can be.

Then, Jo moved onto a pizza featuring her favored spicy salami.  Although pizza seems to be an imported concept here from much further south, they did a decent job.

I spotted a local specialty, focaccia recco e pesto.  Knowing focaccia as a thick flat bread,  I was expecting a thick pizza-type slab of bread with pesto and something else on top. Instead, it was a local cheese similar to ricotta called crescenza, sandwiched between two very thin layers of flat bread.  The cheese was perfectly melted and the whole thing was covered with dollops of fantastic pesto and drizzles of olive oil.  A very fine dish.  I’ve already looked up the recipe and it seems pretty easy to make — as long as you have the right ingredients. If Fairway or Whole Foods carry the right stuff, this one goes in the repertoire back home.

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