Thursday, July 29, 2010

Genoa – Genes - Genova

June 26, 2010

We left our villa early Saturday morning and headed back to France.  On the way we were passing Genoa  – home ofResized_P260610_10.48 my favorite salami, and decided to stop in.   I find it amazing how much the names of the cities we visit vary depending on the language spoken.  I mean, why does this happen???  It can’t all be accent…

Well, rResized_P260610_11.01egardless of what you call it, it is still located in the same spot.  As soon as we parked, I was forcibly reminded of the other big Genovese claim to fame: Christopher Columbus.

That’s right -- he was born, raised and rejected right here in Genoa.  You can’t really tell – but the flower shapes behind the kids and I are none other than the famous Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.  They weren’t labeled, but it’s the only logical explanation.

I had read online that the largest wall in the world (outside of China) was located in none other than this city.  That’s right, the Great Wall of Italy!  So, naturally, we wanted to find it – André was particularly interested...  We ended up asking some very nice cops (who had never heard of the thing) for help.  They pointed us to the street I had written down and we went onward.Resized_P260610_11.08

On the way, we passed a wonderful market – it reminded me a bit of Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia – but more authentic.  Of course, RTM is an authentic market, so what do I know?  Maybe it was just the fact they were all speaking Italian and there was LOTS of garlic.

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I got some salami from a vendor – she said it was traditional for the region – but not “the” salami that Genoa is famous for. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get – money is running out this late in the game so we get 5 slices…. 2 Euros please!

We walked on, enjoying, yet again, the lovely covered walkways with marble paving that is so prevalent in Italian cities.  We eventually reached the Piazza di Ferrari.  I loved the fountain there.

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We didn’t see the Great Wall of Italy anywhere – but did find the St. Lawrence Cathedral.  All but the first photo are thanks to Wiki – ours did not come out at all.  I think of this as the Zebra Church – for obvious reasons…

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I thought it was interesting to read that this cathedral was bombed, but not destroyed during WWII. “The cathedral had a fortunate escape on February 9, 1941 when the city was being shelled as part of Operation Grog. Due to a crew error, the British battleship HMS Malaya fired a 15" armour-piercing shell into the south east corner of the nave. The relatively soft material failed to detonate the fuse and the shell is still there.”  Of course, the local residents consider this a miraculous intervention – and maybe it was…

We took a short break to eat our salami (awesome) and then head back to the car.  On the way we passed a strange French artist who gave the kids free Matchbox cars.  We also finally saw a part of the city named after yours truly.  I am standing next to Via di Ravecca (translation: Rebecca’s Way).

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The Via di Ravecca was part of an enormous gate.  It is known as the Porta Soprana and is only a part of the extensive network of walls that remain within the city from medieval times.  As we continued past the gate (theorizing it must be a part of the supposed ‘great’ wall) we noticed a little ramshackle ruin remaining standing alone on the street.

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That’s right – the building at above right is none other than Christopher Columbus’s house!  How cool is that?  Accidental discoveries are the best.  Below you can see a view of the square with the gate and the house – and also the extensive wall we observed while leaving the city.  It was pretty huge – but not what I was expecting.

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You’d think I’d be used to that, by now, wouldn’t you?  Goodbye Genoa, our last stop in Italy.  We loved being here….

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