Tag Archives: Genoa

In transito: Genova

27 May
27 May 2016. In transito means passing through, and that is what we did in Genova (Genoa to Americans, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus). We made a one-night stop on our way to the French Riviera. As we are traveling by train (as usual), breaking the trip from Roma to Antibes, France, had some appeal.
Fritto misto chock full of fried anchovies.

Fritto misto chock full of fried anchovies.

We are very fond of the food in this part of Italy, the region of Liguria, having visited the famous and famously overcrowded Cinque Terre four times, but we had never stopped much outside the five lands. Genova seems to be a city few Americans visit. While old Chris Columbo was born here, there are no “must see” sights to draw the tourist.
What we found, surprised us and we passed an incredibly pleasant half day.
The hotel was near the port, only a few minutes walk from the Aquarium of Genoa. The 20-minute walk from the train station was fine, although the last 50 meters was through an area of “working girls” even at 13:00 on a weekday. But that was the only seediness we encountered. It is an old city, with tiny alleys and ancient palazzi, and while it resembled its much rougher cousin to the south, Napoli, it was far less chaotic.
Cavour 21 - Pesto World Champ!

Cavour 21 – Pesto World Champ!

Le Nuvole Residenza d’Epoca is a gem. Created from a centuries-old palazzo that had been abandoned for decades, today it is a charming blend of old and modern, employing green building practices and old-fashioned customer service at an amazing price. 
Hotel staff led us to two fabulous restaurant experiences and the aquarium, the largest in Italy, is one of the best we’ve seen anywhere.
Trofie Pesto at Cavour 21.Yum!

Trofie Pesto at Cavour 21.Yum!

The advice to go to Cavour 21 for lunch was spot-on. We would NEVER have chosen this place on our own. In fact,  we would never have seen it. But a short walk from the hotel, we happened upon a happy crowd on an elevated sidewalk waiting for a chance to eat here. Mamma Mia! Che stupendo! We waited 25 minutes to get in, ate in about 40 minutes, and walked out for €21.00 which included a half-liter of wine. The owner is a gent who enjoys his work and the beautiful food he brings to the table. Cavour 21 won the Pesto World Championship in 2014. As you can imagine, the pesto is mighty tasty. Pesto, thin green beans, and chunks of potato are mixed into perfectly al dente trofie pasta. A shared dish of pesto, tasty seafood fritto misto with lots of acciughe, and a healthy serving of bietola (boiled beet greens and yes, they are delicious) made for a substantial lunch even though we shared everything.
A customer contribution at Cavour 21. The walls are lined with customers' sketches.

A customer contribution at Cavour 21. The walls are lined with customers’ sketches.

Osteria di Vico Palla

Osteria di Vico Palla

Down a dark alley for dinner to Osteria di Vico Palla was another winner. Low-key, popular with locals, moderately price, great food; what’s not to love? I think our dinner, with a small Italian-style tip, came to €50.00, including a wine. We ate lunch and dinner for less than we pay for most dinners out in Roma.
Cozze (mussels) marinara at Vico Palla.

Cozze (mussels) marinara at Vico Palla.

Between the meals, we managed to walk about 7 km and to see the fine aquarium, which is complete with dolphins. Well-curated in Italian and English, it was busy but not crowded on this fine, late-May day. The tanks are immaculate, the animals seem healthy and stimulated, and the displays stunning. If you get to Genova, it’s a fine way to pass a couple of hours.
We are happy we passed through Genoa. Since we’ll be in Liguria again in October, we just might have to stop in at Cavour 21 for lunch one more time.
Schoolkids on a filed trip enjoy the dolphins at play.

School kids on a field trip enjoy the dolphins at play.

Tartaruga, Aquario di Genova.

Tartaruga, Aquario di Genova.

Jellyfish at Aquario di Genova. There were at least half a dozen different species.

Jellyfish at Aquario di Genova. There were at least half a dozen different species.

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