I am pretty fearless when it comes to most things.  It truly takes a lot to rattle me.  We stayed one night in Genoa because we wanted to stay on the water, check out new places and it was en route to Lake Como.  Could have returned to Florence instead for that one night but was curious about Genoa.  You know what?  I felt uncomfortable in Genoa.  I felt more comfortable roaming the streets of Mexico City.   We both knew it the minute we got there.

Our hotel was fine and nothing to write home about.  Even the woman at the desk told us if we were going to walk to dinner to make sure we stayed on the main streets.  Great news.  The city feels depressed, there are people just hanging on the streets and most of them are immigrants.  It is really unfortunate.genoa

We walked down to the seaport to check out Eataly.   It is located on the 2nd floor of a building overlooking the port.  The one in NYC is a hundred times better.  Then we walked to our dinner which was about a 5 minute walk from the port.  We were both feeling on edge.

blackboardWe finally found the place, Vico Palla.  A local dining spot with a black board menu that probably never changes.

octoWe ordered a few things to split.  The first was the octopus tomato salad over olive oil mashed potatoes.  This wasn’t great.

pestoThe pesto pasta was amazing.  Pesto is the thing in Genoa.  Light long wide pieces of melt in your mouth pasta with a smooth pesto over the top.   I had thought about going to Taggiou before dinner for meat and wine and also check out San Lorenzo Cathedral but after surveying the city and where they were both located we took a pass.

sepiaThis was interesting.  A sepia roasted dish in a red wine sauce.  I liked it but only needed a few bites.

fishPoached sea bass with pine nuts, slices of potato, black olives and a white wine sauce.  Also pretty good.  The mixture of salty, savory and sweet really was a nice combo.   The food was just ok but I liked the concept of the two main dishes.  Might have to make it myself when we get home.

We asked for the check and was acknowledged and acknowledged and acknowledged.  Then we noticed people just got up to pay.  All he has to do was tell us that you can pay at the front and we would have left 45 minutes earlier.  Lesson learned.

We walked back to the hotel because I did not bring my wallet.  I carry the cash.  I also wore zero jewelry.  We ended up walking home because we couldn’t find a cash machine and it was only a 15 minute walk.  Really suspect on the way home.  I think we both sighed a huge relief when we got back to the hotel.

The next morning we were going to go Mercato Orientale the daily greenmarket but instead we got up the next morning at 615am and drove quickly up to Lake Como.  Gorgeous and insanely relaxing the second we got there.  A 180 degree different from the night before.

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Enjoy the lakes. One of my favorite vacations. I enjoyed taking one day to take the train to Milan.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Milan is great. We went a few years ago.

  2. awaldstein

    Hasn’t happened to me in a long while but get the feeling.Mine was in Italy also about 5 years ago. You can hike down from Revello, down the miles of beautiful terraced vineyards and after a long while end up in some sketchy area at the back of Amalfi.An afternoon of peaceful wandering with an abrupt alert of where am I and move quickly.Thanks for the share.

    1. Gotham Gal

      abrupt is the best way to describe the feeling.

    2. JimHirshfield

      We lived in Ravello when I was two. My parents have wonderful pictures. Wish I remembered it.

      1. awaldstein

        So beautiful.We had friends who ran this place and used to go often and take the bus up to Revello and walk home.www.amalfi.ot/scarparrielloSome really beautiful over the top tiny hotels there that to brunch at was honestly as good as it gets on the patio.www.amalfi.ot/scarparriello

        1. JimHirshfield


          1. awaldstein

            Yes it truly was.We would rent a boat for the week and just boat to dinner up and down the coast. Walk the hills. Anglianico was everywhere.

          2. JimHirshfield


  3. Alexander Ainslie (@AAinslie)

    The next time Fred and yourself are in Florence, try Ristorante “In Fabbrica” | Pampaloni …it’s an experience.

  4. David Semeria

    I love Genoa, its edginess is typical of many port towns and reminds me in particular of my hometown, Liverpool.Tourists generally flock to the far eastern part which is very pretty and quite safe.That said, I can imagine how walking though the centre of Genova could be unnerving for the uninitiated. Just remember that person-person violence is extremely rare in Italy. You’re much more likely to have your car broken into or bag stolen in a restaurant.

  5. William Mougayar

    yup…Genoa hasn’t changed. but it had its glorious days as a main seaport a few hundred years ago.

  6. CCjudy

    Smart lady as always

  7. David Miller

    About 10 years ago, we were on our way from Sestri Levante to Bellagio and decided to stop in Genoa for lunch. We made our way to the port area and, after looking around a while for a suitable place to eat, followed a rag-tag looking group of dock-workers into a small restaurant. As I recall, it was that place or finding the car and heading on up the road.Acciughe was the lunch special and I immediately ordered it. Picture three, 6-inch long, perfectly butterflied anchovies, deep-fried to a golden brown, forming a perfect triangle on a plate. Maybe there was a wedge of lemon, maybe a stray piece of rocket. It was delicious.So Genoa scarred me, too: it seared anchovies into my brain, and I’ve been on the hunt for more perfect anchovies ever since. I haven’t found them yet. I’m not sure I ever will.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Go to Spain. Anchovie heaven

  8. LE

    That sounds really scary. What’s even scarier is that people away from their home place tend to feel safer in similar places that they wouldn’t feel safe in their home town. More fearless. So this must have really rung the bells with you if you felt the way you did.I think the lesson learned here is that no meal or experience is worth taking a risk if it was apparent to both of you that you were in an unsafe place.I’m kind of upset that both of you didn’t listen to your instincts actually.

  9. AG

    Probably not the type of thing you want to go through, but probably an interesting experience to have in hindsight. I was intrigued because I did not realize the atmosphere was like that in Genoa.

  10. Doug Ellis

    Whoops. Posted this to the wrong thread.We had a similar experience once in Perugia, which took me by surprise. I always look for that in the South. The place that I’d always worried about is Palermo.In Palermo, I was ready for trouble. I waited with the kids in a piazza while my wife visited a church. When she was done, we set out for the port. However, we were accompanied by a pair of rangy dogs. They weren’t threatening, but they strangely and doggedly, followed us as we crossed the Via Roma — no easy fear for a dog — and headed North.The streets were mostly empty, which for a New Yorker feels off. Every time I turned around to look, the dogs stopped and sat. It was almost as if they were trying to act inconspicuous and disinterested. However, when the four of us continued on, the dogs followed.When we finally got to the wall by the coast, the dogs hung around in an alley until we were done. They then tailed us to our lunch restaurant. Certainly now we were done with them.Leaving our lunch spot, we again came upon our guardians. Now it felt that they were there, not to ask for scraps or companionship, but to offer an escort through the port, to ease our anxiety.We walked a few more block and then I had an idea. We should split up and see who the dogs followed then.We each walked a bit in different directions. Our guardians considered a moment and the lumbered off behind my 7 year old son. That won him the name “Lordy King Boy”, which we break out from tome to time to this day.Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  11. RichardF

    I pretty much always get up to walk out if I’ve asked for the bill and it doesn’t show up. I also don’t leave a tip when that happens. End to end customer experience.