Saturday, 10 July 2010

Medieval, Maritime & Movie Time - Part I

So, what does Genoa have to offer?  The tourist map suggested three walking tours:  1. the medieval area of town, 2. the Renaissance area and 3. the maritime area.

We first checked out the towers, 


which were a gate to the city, and were just outside our hotel to the right.  These towers, called Porta Soprano, stand either side of the gate which ...
was the entrance to the medieval city from the West after it was enclosed by the city walls in 1155, built to protect Genoa from Emperor Barbarossa, Frederick I. 

Turns out this the landmark for Genoa, like the Tyne Bridge for Newcastle.  The view to the left, down Via di Porta Soprana, was pretty good too,

and this church in the square just down the street towards the sea reminded me of

some other church we saw elsewhere that had stripes as a predominant feature.  I was thinking it was The Duomo in Florence, but looking at my photos the resemblance isn't really there. 

According to Wikipedia, this is called Genoa Cathedral.   

We followed the map through what looked like a residential area of narrow alleys between buildings 3 or 4 stories high.  As elsewhere in Europe, the ground floor was often a shop or had a grand doorway; 

laundry hanging from above indicated people lived above.


We could occasionally see signs where the existing facade was covering an older structure.  This was not always a very pretty area, but we found it interesting all the same.  


One feature that fascinated me was the trompe l'oeil  

 painting on the outsides of buildings.  


It looked like carved stonework, but it was in fact just a flat stucco surface.

That walk took us the rest of our first day.

The next day we headed for the Maritime Museum, which I would say was the second best deal we found in Italy, after Dante's house.  It wasn't as cheap, but it was huge and fascinating.  

On our way to the museum, we happened upon this Palace, the Palazzo Reale,  

now a national art gallery, with a lovely garden. 


We didn't go into the gallery but enjoyed a few moments in this gracious green space.  

I'll show you all about the Maritime museum tomorrow!  Are you thinking you need to visit Genoa (Genova) yet?


Boywilli said...

I need to visit Genova again. What about Friday?

Jo said...

The contrasts on what has been kept up and whan has not is interesting.

Shelley said...

Joanne - That is especially true when I was reading about the Porta Soprano. Apparently the 1960s saw everything else of that age in the vicinity knocked down (excepting Columbus's house of course). A similar process lost Newcastle a large part its Georgian buildings and made the name T. Dan Smith infamous. I grew up knowing that buildings like the old Huckins Hotel in OKC were doomed...

Rick Stone said...

Yep, never understood knocking down our past/history in the name of progress. Just think of all the beautiful downtown OKC buildings that were sacrificed to Urban Renewal.