When I first accepted my job offer in Genoa, I knew very little about the city other than salami and her seaside location near the 5 terre. A NYC colleague told me, “You have to see the movie with Colin Firth . . . it’s filmed in Genoa.”
Luckily, that movie happened to be streaming on Netflix, and I watched it over and over and over as I prepared for my departure. I was mesmerized by the medieval center, the stunning coastline, the scooters, and other aspects of the city. I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in La Superba!
Before my departure (as well as several times after) family and friends have shared this great NY Times Travel Article: 36 Hours in Genoa. I have hit many of these items, but a few remain (including the aquarium).
Anyways, with all of my crazy travels, weekends in Genoa are actually quite rare. I love exploring with a visitor, and this time it was with my Dad. Dad celebrated his 60th birthday just a couple of days after I left NY this summer. I was so sad to miss it, and I wanted to make it special. This visit was about seeing me, but also about seeing Europe and celebrating this milestone.
[important note: My parents are happily married of 37 years, but they do not travel together because of the cats. Ask me later . . .]
So, I came home from work and began preparing a special birthday dinner for Dad. I wrote a letter of recommendation for Fordham University for a student / daughter of my colleague. As a thank you, the mother gave me a jar of delicious homemade sauce.
I used that sauce to make some fresh pasta, and I whipped up one of my favorite treats: I take round focaccia (oily, crispy yum found only in Liguria . . . well, it’s only good here), and spread it with pesto (again, only good here). I slice tomatoes and bufala mozzarella (sometimes just regular fresh mozzarella), and spread on the focaccia followed by garlic powder and fresh ground pepper. I bake in the oven until it smells amazing and serve. It’s absolutely delicious.
I served these things for Dad along with salad and some beer. Then off to the city center for drinks with a bunch of my coworkers. Yet another fun al fresco night in Piazza del Erbe, the social center of Genoa.
The next morning, I made Dad coffee and French toast, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon (can’t find maple syrup here). I finished the recommendation process for the student while Dad took a stroll down to the sea. Upon his return, we took the bus to the train station then transferred to the metro to the port. Genoa’s metro only has a few stops, but it’s convenient even if it doesn’t have any maps at the stations! Once down there, we visited the resident submarine at the sea museum.
The museum was such a surprise. After a visit to the sub, we had an hour and a half to explore. We didn’t realize that we spent almost an hour on the first floor at the Columbus exhibit; as we finished that first floor, two workers came to tell us that we had to hurry as there were only 45 minutes left and 3 more floors to see.
It was well-layed out, interesting, engaging, and fun. The top floor featured a replica of a ship that immigrants would have taken to the USA and Ellis Island. I was retracing the steps of my great Grandfather who came from Podenzano (near Piacenza). He left the port of Genoa for Ellis Island!
The museum closed before we got to finish, rushing a bit at the end, so I will certainly be back. What a wonderful suprrise!
Then to dinner along the port, in one of the most stunning settings — something I will miss dearly whenever I decide to move on from my life here in Genoa. We enjoyed absolutely fantastic appetizers (fried vegetables), a great meal and ambience.
We had great conversation, and then dessert. I had pernod flambet — it was like absinthe and I couldn’t feel my lips. I was perfectly content as was Dad. What a nice life.
Back to my apartment and to sleep.
The next morning, we had cereal and coffee, then out for a scooter ride. I took Dad onto Corso Europa, the fastest highway I can go on with my 125 — then we wound our way up a local mountain before heading back. It was exhilarating. Come along for a ride with us:
Then back for our bags and to the Genoa airport for a quick flight on Volotea to Palermo, Sicily — where Dad’s maternal grandparents emigrated from!