Intu mezu du mä gh’è ‘n pesciu tundu
Che quandu u vedde ë brute u va ‘nsciù fundu
Intu mezu du mä gh’è ‘n pesciu palla
Che quandu u vedde ë belle u vegne a galla
Out at sea is a round fish that sinks to the floor when he sees an ugly girl
Out at sea is a puffer fish that floats to the top when he sees a pretty girl
–Song from folksinger Fabrizio de André’s Creuza de mä
When I took my first trip to Italy, now over 15 years ago, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the country of amore. For me, there is something about Italy, that is just magical, charming, romantic and absolutely magnetic.
Each time I come, I find myself drawn more deeply to Italy’s history, natural beauty and architecture. This summer, my family and I are spending our holiday in Italy frolicking in Liguria, also known as the Italian Riviera, a classic summertime playground.
Sandwiched between the French Riviera and Tuscany, Liguria has often attracted those with an interest in poetry. It’s coastal geography reads like verse, from the Gulf of Paradise to the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fables, and on to the Gulf of Poets. Some of the most stunning coastline in the Mediterranean is found in Liguria, including the Cinque Terre, one of Italy’s top tourist attractions, and beautiful sea-side villages like the glamorously famous Portofino. Liguria is also home to a special rose that produces a long, elegant stem. “Long-stemmed roses” might be sold around the world, but the originals are found in Liguria.
Dividing Liguria into two parts—the Riviera di Ponente on the west and the Riviera di Levante on the east—is the port city of Genova, once the world’s largest maritime powerhouse. Nicknamed La Superba (The Proud), Genova rivaled Venice and Pisa in strength and splendor, but it fell on hard times after 1492, when native Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Thanks to much renovation to the city some 500 years later, Genova is now a vibrant cosmopolitan city and back on her feet. Not as glamorous as its old rivals, Genova is often overlooked by tourists, but in my opinion, it deserves a closer look. Ranking with Marseilles and Naples as one of Europe’s most seductive port cities, Genova can enchant anyone willing to spend the time to discover the gems that lay beneath its rough exterior.
Steeped in history and architectural charm, Genova’s artistic and cultural treasures are significant. Modern life seamlessly merges with historic buildings and I enjoy idly wandering the maze of narrow alleyways, the caruggi, in the old town. It’s almost like participating in a treasure hunt – each turn of the corner revealing remains of an astonishing past. I feel as if I’m traveling through time, this ancient town my doorway and I look forward to discovering what other treasures Liguria may hold.