Monday, September 15, 2014

Last Day in Genova

Omg I am so late in writing this. Well, in my defense I wrote it while I was on the plane going from Croatia to Munich on the way home and it totally wiped. Sooooo yeah.
Our last day in Genova was pretty packed. We spent the morning doing the shopping we had to do for gifts to bring home from Italy. We both ended up lugging around 2 kilos of Italian coffee to Croatia and then back home. hahaha.
After dropping our goodies off at the hotel room, it was off to the day's adventure. Our plan was to get up to the Castello d'Albertis, which we had seen in the telescope at the maritime museum the say before. The guy at the front desk of our hotel had given us directions which included taking the funicolare up the hill. So we take the metro, walk about 8 blocks and bam there's the funicolare. After getting out and looking around, it looks like the building the guy marked but its an abandoned university building. A castle-like building was up the hill so we hiked up the hill toward it. Only to discover it was a private home. What the heck, right? Back down the hill we walked and tried the next hill over, which required we walked up about 1 km worth of switchbacks going uphill. It was hot and humid. Eventually we found the castle and were grateful for the shade!
Castello d'Albertis, now a museum of culture
Albertis Crest
The castle is now a museum of culture, dedicated to the travels of the last Albertis who was quite the 19th century Indiana Jones! There were old weapons and artifacts from Papua New Guinea, China, India, and other countries. The inside is amazing! It also had displays from Native and Latin American indigenous cultures.
Inside the Staircase
View of the Port of Genova from the Castello d'Albertis
By that time we were starving and under a timeline since we wanted to get back to the Chiesa del Gesu before it closed. Back down a second funicolare (which was like a little car, and went vertical and down a track like a ride at Disneyland.. hahaha), and into the Metro, we made it 40 minutes before it closed.
Let me describe this church for you. It's simply amazing. You walk into the quiet, the domes overhead letting in natural light. There is marble everywhere. Beautiful geometric designs of marble in the floors, warm rust colored marble pillars, leading up to the altar where the marble altar table glows under the reflected light from the ceiling. The walls are adorned with Rubens paintings (and other Renaissance artists) in the many little chapels that line the nave. McC and I were standing admiring a painting of the Assumption when a gentleman approached us. In Italian he asked how we liked the painting. We told him it was beautiful, especially Mary's face as she's carried into heaven by angels. He then proceeded to give us a personal tour of the church. After a couple days being back in Italy my language skills have significantly improved so I had no trouble understanding this man at all. He told us who paid for the gold leaf in the ceilings (not the Church, but private families from Genova who had gone to Spain and the New World but continued to sponsor art there), the different styles of art at the time Rubens created his masterpieces and even how Rubens painted his family into a painting of St. Ignatius's miracle. McC and I both felt really special for having been able to experience a tour like that, like it a was a treat! 
Chiesa del Gesu
The salumeria where we had bought meat was open after siesta so we went in and bought another bottle of the Traminer wine. The lady there remembered us and we were happy to have another bottle because that stuff is TASTY! We went back to the hotel and forced ourselves to clean up and get some dinner. The girl at the front desk called over to a restaurant called Osteria d'Piazza and we walked over. It sits right on the Piazza Colombo and theres a prominent statue of Christopher Columbus right there in the middle. (He's sort of a popular guy here in Genova)
Thankfully we were seated immediately because that place got packed with locals quick. We ordered calamari fritti which was delicious! Some wine later, and I just had to have pesto while McC had the risotto. I had the tiramisu for dessert but it wasn't exactly in the form I was used to. It was still tasty though. 
Funny thing about Genova: they have high tech condom dispensing vending machines on some corners. Randomly. HAHAHA 

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