"If you don't want to appear “foreign” try not ..."

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Valerie

About Me
My name is Valerie, and I am a retired administrator. I love living in Genova because Genoa isn't too big and not too small. The town lies along the Ligurian coast, squashed between mountains and the sea. There's a fantastic mix of urban, sea and hillside. The busy port, with more/less
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You have to go to
Piazza De Ferrari is the central city square, where the old town and the new town come together. The fountain is a central feature, and every few years the town administration makes some changes to the water spouts. The water may be coloured for special events. In the photo, the water is pink to celebrate the arrival of the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) cycling race, 2015. Facing onto De Ferrari square is the Carlo Felice Theatre, which will interest fans of opera, symphony or ballet. The iconic building replaced a theatre destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. Rebuilt after many stops and starts, it was only inaugurated in 1991. Italy doesn't rush these things! Also facing onto the square is the Palazzo Ducale, home to many and varied exhibitions, with one entrance onto De Ferrari Square and looking down the fine shopping thoroughfare, Via XX Settembre (Via Venti Settembre), and another entrance onto Matteotti Square, where you're already entering the old town, with Via S. Lorenzo leading down past the black and white cathedral to the central port area.
Here's one fun activity you can do
A favourite fun activity is surely a visit to the Acquario di Genova, located in the Porto Antico (old port area, within walking distance from Piazza de Ferrari). On Sundays or public holidays, there can be quite a queue, but if you're lucky you can see a mother dolphin swimming with her baby, or enjoy the sharks, penguins,and many other attractions at this aquarium.
Don't forget to check out one of my favorite places
If you feel tired of being a tourist, one place to visit, halfway along Via XX Settembre, is the oriental market “mercato orientale”. It's a large, covered market where the majority of stalls are selling fresh fruit and vegetables. There are also flowers and plants, nearest the street, and inside, and fishmongers offer an array of Mediterranean fish and seafood. You'll also find grocery stalls and different kinds of butchers (normal, ovine, halal, horse meat). If you wonder why you don't see many food shops along the smarter streets, now you know. Buy some nice, fresh fruit to supplement your tourist diet! But beware, not much is open during the hours from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Enjoy a meal at my favorite restaurant
If you only have time for one meal in the city, you don't have to worry too much about finding THE restaurant, or think that you have to spend an enormous amount of money. There are lots of small eating places, where you can taste the local specialties. You'll have the chance to choose “pasta col pesto” in various forms, especially trenette (a sort of flattened spaghetti) which should be served with a few French beans and some pieces of potato, and pesto (basil) sauce. The pesto sauce is also served with “trofie” (short twists of dough boiled like pasta) or gnocchi. The basil grown in Pra (western part of Genoa) has a special taste. In a word, something with pesto is a must. If you don't like it, just keep quiet about it! You can also fill up on “foccaccia” (salty, oiled bread baked in slabs, also very good in the versions with onions or salvia, or “recco”, filled with fresh cheese) and on “torte di verdura,” which are vegetable pies, the most common being with artichokes or beet-leaves. Ask for a taster of several kinds. “Cima alla genovese” is a sort of cold sausage cooked in veal. It contains a mixture of eggs, minced veal including parts such as tripe, brain etc. which might be replaced by pork, as well as peas, pistacchio nuts, cheese, herbs. If you have allergies or have problems with any of that, choose something else. Then of course, fish, shell-fish and meat dishes are available, but simple and vegetarian meals as above are available in the sort of places where local people eat.
Here's a doable bucket list for you to do in one day
1. Porto Antico, walkaround
2. Visit to the Acquario. If liked, there is also an old submarine to enter, and the Museo del Mare (Sea Museum) which has a good section dedicated to the Italian emigrants leaving Genoa for the New World in the early twentieth century.
3. Take a few photos of Palazzo San Giorgio, with its beautiful pastel colours, where the Port Authority has its headquarters, also worth seeing inside.
4. Close to Palazzo San Giorgio is a statue to Raffaele Rubattino. The name may not mean much, but he was the Genoese shipowner who secretly provided his ships Lombardo and Piemonte to Garibaldi, who left Genoa on May 5th 1860 with his thousand men (and one woman!) to join Sicily to the newly uniting Italy.
5. City tours by bus or “toy” train leave from Porto Antico, close to the Acquario. Good idea if you are ready to sit down. Otherwise walk through the “Vicoli” (old narrow streets) to Piazza De Ferrari.
6. a)If you still feel energetic, take the lift from Piazza Portello to Castelletto. From Castelletto you can look down on the city, enjoy the view of the port, while enjoying a cone or a tub of really nice ice-cream.
6. b) If you prefer museums, go to Palazzo Rosso, in Via Garibaldi, which has some excellent paintings including a fine Van Dyck, Veronese's Judith and Holofernes, Guido Reni's Saint Sebastian, and few Bernardo Strozzi, among others. Don't miss the view from the panoramic terrace. Palazzo Rosso and most other museums are closed on Mondays.
7. If you like the story of Italian Unity and Garibaldi's voyage you can go for dinner to the east part of Genova, called Quarto dei Mille, see the two monuments, one unveiled in 1910, and a new one which has all the names of the thousand volunteers, unveiled in 2010. See the spot where they actually left, then have dinner or pizza in one of the seafront restaurants and enjoy the sunset over the sea.
My extra insider tip for you is
If you don't want to appear “foreign” try not to order cappuccino after a big meal! For Italians, a cappuccino is fine with a brioche at breakfast or as an elevenses or afternoon tea thing. Espresso after a meal, please. Don't hesitate to use the city taxis, but don't try to hail one in the street. There are taxi stands around the city, or ask someone to help you phone for one. Don't be afraid of being “ripped off” as tourists, our drivers are helpful and honest, but use the white city taxis.
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