A Trenitalia train transported us from Milano Centrale to Genoa (Principe) in about 2 hours. We passed picturesque locales and several tunnels on our way to La Superba.
Our hotel, Hotel Vittoria & Orlandini, proved to be a good choice – great location, comfortable room, friendly personnel.
The Old Port Area (Porto Antico)
I LOVE ports. Period. 🙂 And therefore, the Porto Antico area of Genoa was the first place we visited. Buzzing with activity,it has several sights and attractions, and is very popular with tourists.
Yachts and little fishing boats vied for attention. A submarine tried to outdo them. In the distance, ferries came from distant lands (we saw one from Tunisia).
The Neptune, a galleon ship used in Roman Polanski’s movie Pirates (have you watched it? I haven’t!), is a tourist attraction, and can be visited (for a fee).
The architect, Renzo Piano, was involved in the restoration and redevelopment efforts of this area. The Biosfera (biosphere), Bigo (an aerial elevator), the Aquarium, …. benches overlooking the port, abundant supply of YUMMY focaccia and other Genovese delicacies … well, no wonder everyone flocks to the Porto Antico area :).
We hopped onto a little tourist train, Trenino Pippo, for a 40 min ride through the streets (and sights) of the (supposed) birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Well, 40 minutes was definitely not enough time to gaze at the innumerable beautiful attractions. However, the baby in our family was thrilled to ride a train (which does not go on a track!) and we got a sneak preview (or overview) of the capital of the Liguria region.
After that ride, we unanimously voted to spend some more time in the Porto Antico area.
Inside the Biosfera lies a tropical forest (a very small one). Junior (and his parents) were thrilled to see the flora and fauna, especially the scarlet ibises. It was great fun watching the birds from such close quarters.
Our ride on the Bigo had us ooh-ing and aah-ing at the panoramic views – the hills, the sea, the colorful houses, the distant ships… and from up there, we spotted la Lanterna (the lighthouse). The Bigo was originally a crane used to load cargo ships, and was transformed into the current attraction by Renzo Piano.
When hunger pangs struck, we hurried to the food stalls – the one selling a variety of focaccia was the instant choice. And there we sat, on a bench overlooking the port, devouring Genovese focaccia, watching tour groups marching behind a leader, happy kids squealing with joy, families taking a break, docked yachts bobbing in the water, motorboats getting ready for tours, the unique Bigo ascending and descending with enthusiastic visitors, the Bolla standing at the end of a row of little boats, … a warm welcome to the port city of Genoa.