One Sunday in Italy a few weeks ago, a local friend offered to give me a quick tour of Varazze and Genoa. The weather for some of my trip had been drizzly, cloudy and very much like you’d expect to find in the north of Italy in October, but somehow over the weekend the temperatures warmed up to about 85 degrees and that was perfect for visiting two Mediterranean spots. I peeled off my sweater! I took off my socks! It was a wonderful break.
First we went to Varazze, a small city along the coast west of Genoa. People were on the beach in their swimsuits, kids playing, people strolling. There were kids doing their sailing classes, proud parents waiting on the pier. It felt like summer! Eventually I had to stop for the obligatory gelato. A very nice town.
And of course there were dogs, lots of them out and about enjoying the gorgeous weather. Luckily my friend was (sort of) okay with me snapping away with my camera, taking pictures of his countrymen’s dogs. Actually, after noticing more dogs than he normally would, he’s beginning to consider getting himself a dog. :-)
This gorgeous full-of-life boy is Athos, and I just love his stride. You can see that he enjoys cruising along like he owns the harbor (maybe he does?) and occasionally stirring things up with the other dogs he meets.
Next, we jumped into the car and zipped off to Genoa. I was shocked (okay, horrified) to see a dog riding on the Vespa directly ahead of us. It’s not so much that the dog was on a Vespa (although that’s scary enough) but this dog was not in any type of carrier and was free to move around the rider’s feet! At one point his head was sticking out from the right side, and then he completely turned to poke his head out the left side, which is when I took this photo. Look closely and you can see the pup’s brown and white head. Hmmm :-/
Genoa was a much larger city than I’d expected. It was also very interesting, with some of the most beautiful buildings and narrow streets I’d ever seen. My tour guide/friend pointed out lots of interesting places and offered some historical background and facts (for example, the streets are narrow to cut down on strong winds). When we arrived, he pointed out one area in particular near the waterfront saying “you probably wouldn’t want to walk around in there alone at night.” Okay. So as the sun began to set, the reason became obvious: the prostitutes started coming out and doing their thing. What’s surprising about that, at least to me, is that it was still relatively early evening, around 6pm. People were still out with their kids! I think even my friend was a little shocked.
So I have to admit, somewhere along the line (design school? some movie?) I’d heard something less than nice about Genoa. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I think it was described as nothing more than a grubby port city. I didn’t find that to be the case at all, nothing shabby about Genoa. In fact, the whole seafarer/exploration aspect was evident everywhere and I could feel its adventurous maritime past wafting in the air. After this quick day trip, I’m looking forward to spending more time in Genoa myself, and I’d highly recommend it to you also! And yes, there were lots of dogs (and pesto & focaccia)!