Friday, April 11, 2014

“Perché Genoa?”

“Why Genoa?” It is a question we’re asked many times each month, when a local finds out that we picked Genoa for our year in Italy. The perplexed query stems from Genoa being off the usual tourist circuit, known historically as a center of commerce (vs. the appeal of Tuscany’s holy trinity of Art, Wine and Food), while not exactly known for the gregariousness of the Genoese people! 

We now enjoy hearing the question, since it allows us to enumerate the many reasons why Genoa is such a good fit for us, and also why its rising status as a tourist destination is so well deserved. 

Here are a few of our typical replies:

  • With the same population as Portland, Genoa is large enough to offer the assets of a big city, but small enough to be comfortable and easy to navigate.
  • Also like Portland, Genoa is surrounded by incredible natural beauty - nestled between Sea and Mountains. It is also well situated for explorations throughout Europe.
  • We enjoy being away from the tourist-centric cities, giving us a more “authentic” experience of Italy. Plus, it forces more use of Italian, since so few people readily speak English in Genoa.
  • Although it is a dense and sometimes severe city, we have likened it to a jewel box: Genoa hides its many charms, and opening a door or turning a corner often reveals astonishing sites and insights. The same applies to the Genoese themselves, who have been uniformly welcoming and generous once lowering their guard. 
  • And, for these last 6 months (with our thanks to friends A. and R. for making this rental possible!), we've enjoyed Genoa from a perfectly located and beautiful apartment.    

That last point is especially relevant this weekend, since we are sad to be moving out - heading into the heart of the historic district for our remaining time here. The breathtaking views from our windows and balcony are first among the many things we will miss, and the photos below are a small sampling of what has been a daily reminder to enjoy every moment: to the East, the sun rises over Monte di Portofino; to the South we look over the ancient city and Mediterranean; and to the West the sun sets over Genoa’s lighthouse and harbor.  

“Sunrise, sunset, 
  swiftly flow the days.”
     - Fiddler on the Roof


  1. Beautiful, breathtaking photos. Wow...thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi there, I was just shopping for wine in the historical center and the shopkeepers mentioned your blog. I am originally from Portland myself, but have called Genova home for 4 years now... I am literally just about to fly home next week, but wanted to take a moment to wish you all the best during your time in the historical center. There are so many wonderful treasures to discover -- even if not obvious at first. I have (slow) come to deeply love this part of town.

    1. Thanks so much for the note and the reassurance! We are actually loving being in centro and its many charms. Not sure if you are going "home" to Portland, permanently or not, but there are a few Genovesi/Portlanders living there, which is in part how we came to be here. The world is certainly small so perhaps we will cross paths at some point;-)