Genoa, a city of surprises by Nina Hsu, BA student

Marist Italy BA students went to Genoa and Monte Carlo in April for their annual BA trip. 3 months after, our student Nina Hsu is still marveling at the charm of the city of Genoa and the delicious food she ate there


It surprises many Italians when I tell them that Genoa is, so far, my favorite Italian city.

There’s something about the stained-grey braided alleyways and the salty seaport air that shrouds the town with a mysterious allure…that to most maybe only I can feel. Although nine out of ten (and the 1 probably has never even been to Liguria) will agree with me that Genovese cuisine is out of this world.

Fresh seafood aside, pesto Genovese, a refreshing concoction of garlic, basil, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and parmigiano reggiano, is the beloved original that has delighted taste buds across the globe.

Upon our arrival to the Genoa Piazza Principe station after a morning of traveling, depending on our interests we split up to visit the maze of art museums and galleries in the city, go to the famed aquarium by the port, or experience what it is like to be visually impaired at Dialogue in the Dark.

After a revitalizing lunch of fresh, cheese-ladden focaccia on the steps of Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, we had some free time to enjoy the town or hike up to the Belvedere Montaldo for a view over the city.

In the late afternoon, we had the rare opportunity to visit specialty shops in Genoa in order to better understand and also gain a unique perspective to the city. During the tour, we got to savor some of the best biscotti amaretti in town, sample different sweets in a confectionary that also makes traditional bomboniere, tour a vintage boutique, all the while traversing through the winding alleyways of Genoa. The spectacular dinner that night included amazing Ligurian dishes that ranged from mixed seafood with trofie and the famous pesto Genoese with mandilli (that had me scraping the plate with my fork because it was just that delicious), to stuffed calamari cooked in seafood sauce.

Some students headed back to their rooms early for the early morning train tomorrow after the fruitful but tiring day, and others took a more languorous walk back to the hotel from the restaurant, enjoying the contrast night brings to the city.

For me, the best part of the trip wasn’t the special tour, the museums, or even the amazing food, but it was seeing a completely different part of Italy. After two years of living in Florence, I’ve grown somehow accustomed to the Florentine rhythm in the city: the blaring traffic before 10am, the tourist groups that seem to exponentially increase with every second starting at around 9am, the beautiful people sipping on spritz out on terraces, and the hodge podge of English, German, French, Japanese, and Chinese exaltations of awe towards Santa Maria del Fiore.

Not only were the streets of Genoa a welcome repose, but it also gave me and my fellow students the opportunity to experience the varied cultures that make up this beautiful Mediterranean country we’re lucky enough to call home.

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