Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thursday Genoa

Ducal bedroom
Today was going to be a fairly low key day. Four of us were going to get together and take a closer look at some of the places we didn't have time to do yesterday. Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco, now museums, were formally palatial residences of some of the richest Genoans. We chose to spend time in Palazzo Rosso first and see how the time went. We drooled. They lived like princes. I will let the photos tell the story.

The security guys must have liked us four old bats because they unlocked the top level and took us up out on the roof to get a panoramic view of the city. What a treat. You can really see how the city spread up into the hills.
View of Genoa from the roof of Palazzo Rosso

Paganini's violin
After spending a few hours here we went across the street to Palazzo Tursi, city hall of Genoa. Our goal here was to see the violin of Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840). It was made by one of the best violin makers, Guarneri, and after Paganini's death it was left as a gift to the city. Paganini is not buried in Genoa. It is a rather sad story. Apparently, after giving a Ducal concert, Paganini was asked to perform an encore... of the same piece he had just done. He refused, stating that he did not reprise his same work but the Doge did not want to hear a different one. He was banned from the city and he never returned. He left the violin as a reminder that his home city snubbed him.

Next we explored some of the alleys whose shops had beckoned the day before. We indulged ourselves mostly by window shopping but collectively we picked up a few trinkets here and there. We were ready for lunch which we ate outside in one of the Piazzas and people watched. Gelato and sorbetta (for those who are lactose intolerant) was for dessert. Time to go back to our hotels and rest up for dinner.

Dinner was planned by the folks running the convention at the Aquarium. First was a tour of the Aquarium, then hors d'oeuvres and drinks followed by a sit down dinner. There were almost 500 of us spread over several rooms looking at the shark tank. The whole thing was rather impressive. The attendees got to relax after listening to technical papers for 2 days and the spouses got to socialize.

There are a lot of feast days and Saint's days in Italy and every city/region has their own. Friday was going to be such a day in Genoa. It was the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. We noticed while we were walking around all the preparations that were going on. Bonfires were being built, churches were being decorated, etc. Nothing was going to be open.. this was a real holiday. There was still one more day for this convention and we needed something to do on Friday that would get us out of the city.

Stay tuned for the next installment!