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Fishing Villages and the Old Town - Genova

More Rain and The Amazing Cinque Terre

We had arrived in Genova, a beautiful seaside city that is known more as a cruise ship town than anything else. It isn' an area that is talked about too much but we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. We were staying with a lovely lady in an apartment in the old town again through AirBnB. The old town is a massive area and backs onto the old port area that has been transformed into a beautiful seaside promenade.


We spent the afternoon exploring the port with the vast array of yachts and cruise ships. Crazily this wasn't the only harbour that they anchor in! There is more around the coast. We started exploring the numerous narrow winding streets of the old town. It is pretty hard to contemplate walking past shops that have been open since the 1700's!! The funicular took us up the hills and we discovered an area overlooking the old town and port areas.


We sat and watched the sun go down and the sky transform into a radiant masterpiece of a sunset from this perfect spot. It was a stunning silhouette especially with the tugboats going through the harbour and the lighthouse slowly blinking away. We made our way back down the hill to find a stunning church right near our house. The small amount we could see on the street through the open door on the street drew us in. Going inside was something else. The frescos were amazing and tended to pop out of the wall. It was an awesome find!


After hearing the bangs of fireworks echoing through the town I ran through the alleys, leaving Lewis behind to watch them from the harbour. They went for 30mins and were beautiful... it nearly seemed the sky was raining with colour at one point. After the sunset and the fireworks we both decided that Genova had put on a pretty amazing welcoming show for us! :D


Sa Pesta is an old farinata we ended up at for dinner. We tried farinata, a chickpea pancake cooked in a wood fired oven. It was deliciously spicy and flavoursome and the taste and texture reminded us both of the skin off KFC chicken.
We had mushroom risotto (good risotto) and chestnut gnocchi with bolognese sauce. Just like the farinata it was delicious and flavoursome. On our way in we saw stunning looking tarts and opted for chocolate pear tart to share as it reminded me of Wybo's pear tart he makes when I am home. The tart was heaven. A crisp chocolate crumb base; thick heavenly dark chocolate filling and poached pears to garnish. I enjoyed and savoured every mouthful.


Our next day we were blessed with more gorgeous weather and headed to the Cinque Terre with Lewis friend Jack. The boys were both a little worse for wear with a lack of sleep from a night out. We arrived to our first village, Monteresso to find they had only just opened the trail. We left the small fishing village with caste ruins and started the trail thinking 3.5 kilometres can't be that difficult. We were straight into hundreds of steps and vertical walks. Lewis and Jack definitely woke up from their night out after all of those stairs!


2 hours and plenty of photo stops later we arrived at Vernazza. Walking into the bay was amazing! We walked past vineyards and olive groves with the nets still up from the olive harvest. The town had a massive old fortifications on the hill. We stopped for refreshments (the boys beer and me gelato... Cinque Terre flavour with cookies which was delicious).


We headed under the tape blocking the path to the next village, the path was similar to the first with plenty of climbing up hill. We saw a few others on the trail (this made me feel better that they had just forgotten to remove the tape and we weren't walking a closed path). Halfway along we came across a Bed and Breakfast offering free water so stopped for a chat with the owner. This place was isolated and would have been a simple yet blissful retreat. We learnt about his dog he adopted from Serbia via Facebook and how it had saved his life during the 2011 floods in Cinque Terre. His dog had jumped into his lap as he was driving home. The man stopped to put him in the backseat and at that moment a giant landslide happened in front of the car. Apparently the dog has won awards for this show of heroism!


We arrived in Cornigila, just in time for lunch. This town is the smallest and is 100m above the sea. We looked through the church as we came in and then headed to a local restaurant for pasta. I opted for the traditional Trofie al Pesto; Genovese Pesto with twisted pasta. The pesto was smooth and flavoursome. It didn't have a gritty feel to it at all. I have to say that Mum's chunky version is equally delicious and really you can't compare the fine stuff we had with the variety I am use to at home.


We couldn't walk the last two paths. They are closed due to slips. Sadly these were also the easier and quicker paths that followed the coast compared to the last two we had just completed. We took a train to Manarola, our next village. It wasn't the same feeling walking in to the village from the station. We walked along the path and saw the slips that blocked it further along to take pictures looking down at it. It was a stunning spot


We arrived at the final village, Riomaggiore via train. Hurriedly we grabbed the boys beers and headed to a look out point for sunset. It was mesmerising watching the sun vanish into the sea, the colours disappearing and the village slowly beginning to glow with the streetlights. I couldn't think of a better way to end a perfect day. Jack thanks for coming along with us.


Our next day was all about beating the weather and avoiding the rain. We stumbled upon a chocolate festival of the artisan makers of the area while looking for the massive fountain in Genova. There was every sort of chocolate and it was hard to resist.


We saw the beautiful cathedral while exploring the streets and eating focaccia. Focaccia is everywhere and is a stable snack here. You can get focaccia with numerous different toppings. It is like Genova's version of pizza. Our afternoon was spent at Boccadasse, a small fishing community on the outskirts of Genova enjoying the view and eating semifreddo. The place was beautiful and watching the storm coming in over the ocean was pretty spectacular yet daunting.


Our last day in Genoa a storm hit. Schools are closed in preparation for the storm. To be honest it was mild but that s OK. We explored more streets and saw more of the boats at the end of the wharf. Sadly we couldn't see Jack's boat as the electrical storm was to scary for Lewis.
Instead I went to a confectionary store from the 1700s. They made cinnamon fronds, sweets with essence in the centre and fondant sweets...I got the chance to sample them all... They were all rather spectacular and the flavours were unusual as they were natural and mainly floral like violet and lavender. They weren't the tastes that we are use to in confectionary of today and I don't know if I am a fan of things tasting like flowers. The fondant sweets were smooth and creamy and not at all like Christmas cake icing taste I was expecting them to taste like.


Overall Genova was a spectacular place. The area has amazing small fishing villages with huge jaggered cliffs surrounding them. The old town was amazing to explore with all of the narrow winding streets and the port beautiful with the upgrade. It was another area where we didn't have to fight the tourist hoards and got mainly to ourselves. I think this is what helped to make it memorable and special. It was sad to say farewell. We will come back.

Posted by chellebelle 13:08 Archived in Italy Tagged rain fishing sunset town village walk old terre cinque airbnb farinata

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