Sunday, September 7, 2014

Genova - Remnants of a Maritime Republic

Another late morning but hey we're on vacation so what do we care...hahaha. We walked down the Via XX Settembre to the Piazza de Ferrari and grabbed cappuccini and foccacine at a cafe on the piazza for a somewhat early lunch. We had to see what time the churches opened, and it turns out they opened in the afternoon so we went back to the Palazzo Ducale and saw the Robert Capa exhibit of his photos documenting the Allied liberation of Italy during WW2. The pictures were very moving and the moments he captured on film of our soldiers, German prisoners and the Italian and Sicilian people made it easy to imagine what they were feeling. Working with veterans in my spare time, it struck me how much things change and how much they stay the same. The fatigue and maturity beyond their years reflected in our soldiers' eyes, were ever present. Yet those same eyes and faces are now encased in supreme personal protective equipment and advanced communications and firepower. How did my grandfather survive Europe in WW2 without all the kevlar?
After the exhibit we walked down the street to the next metro stop at the old port so we head over to the Galata Museo al Mare. This place was a pretty cool museum of Genova's maritime history with a big exhibit about Columbus. It was interesting to see mock ups of his three ships, and even see actual letters he wrote to the bankers who financed some of his voyages. There were displays of armor and canons from the 16th century and even and a complete scale model of a ship. The top floor is a glass encased rooftop patio with excellent views of the city and the port. They even have an Italian Navy submarine thats now a museum. McC and I took some pictures and walked down the waterfront path where there were fruit and veggie stands. The people here are very friendly and the produce was beautiful.  You could even buy wheels of cheese, all privately made. McC bought some fruit and we got back on the metro.
We went to the Catedrale di San Lorenzo. The black and white stacked marble is very common here in Genova but the soaring columns in the church were impressive. They had an exhibit on the church's treasure so we checked that out too. Among the items they were showing was a beautiful green glass bowl made in Roman times, and many reliquaries from the medieval period. Our tickets included entry into the diocese museum which was across the alley. At one time this was the chapter house for the priests on San Lorenzo. There were beautiful frescoes, inspired Renaissance style religious paintings and much of the original building had been preserved.
We made it over to the Chiesa del GesĂș, SS. Andrea e Ambrogio but there was a Mass going on so we couldn't look around. We decided to come back the next day. McC saw a sign that the church was having an exhibition of Rubens paintings so we knew we had to come back.
By that time we were exhausted and starving so we went back to the place we had eaten that morning. They had a pre-dinner wth 4 courses and we decided on that. The food was so good for being so simple, and of course we had to have more wine!
While we vowed to sleep early alas we both had insomnia, although I was awake until nearly 5am. I soo paid for that the next day.

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