Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Thursday, 2 February 2017

{quotable thursdays-postcards from Genoa}

{view from the flat I'm staying in!}
Ciao da Genova!!! I got here last night from Milan and am staying in a fabulous charming flat. In a beautiful palazzo, with antique furniture with large windows looking onto a typical Genoese square. Fab!!
Today's quote comes from Henry James, summing up the place perfectly:
Genoa, [...] is the crookedest and most incoherent of
cities; tossed about on the sides and crests of a dozen hills, it
is seamed with gullies and ravines that bristle with those
innumerable palaces for which we have heard from our earliest
years that the place is celebrated. These great structures, with
their mottled and faded complexions, lift their big ornamental
cornices to a tremendous height in the air, where, in a certain
indescribably forlorn and desolate fashion, overtopping each
other, they seem to reflect the twinkle and glitter of the warm
Mediterranean. Down about the basements, in the close crepuscular
alleys, the people are for ever moving to and fro or standing in
their cavernous doorways and their dusky, crowded shops, calling,
chattering, laughing, lamenting, living their lives in the
conversational Italian fashion. 
-Henry James, 'Italy Revisted, 1877, in Portraits of Places, 1883

I have to say, not much has changed since the 19th century. The palazzi still stand tall and proud, many striped black and white, with architectural details that in some ways point to Venetian architecture. Indeed, this city of merchants, also a seapower like Venice, has a resemblance to the Serenissima. But instead of canals, one is jostled hither and thither by tiny winding streets--the vicoli--where shops spill out onto the pavement and above ornate Baroque icons tower down on the observer.
{my flat is above this lovely shop--those windows to the left, with the big green shutters is where I'm staying!}
{the archives!}

As someone who grew up sailing the world on tall ships, I suppose it's no wonder I feel slightly at home here, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. I'm here on research--spent the day in the beautiful archives (Archivio di Stato di Genova), but am hoping to explore the city a bit more this weekend. I have caught a flu, but hoping that I can quickly overcome it.

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