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Report 1176: September Song: High Notes of a Few Precious Days in Italy

By Roz from Massachusetts, Fall 2006

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Page 9 of 16: Genoa and Camogli: Here Comes the Sun

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Fishing nets and boats in Camogli's harbor

We awoke to very strong winds, which fortunately were blowing away the clouds, but unfortunately also blew away the laundry we'd hung out on the terrace. We retrieved all the shirts and underwear we could find, and set out for Genoa. First stop: the very impressive striped cathedral of San Lorenzo, with its barbecue motif. (Lorenzo was the saint who met his death on a grill, and told his torturers at one point that he was done on that side, so they could turn him over.)

Another great Slow Food lunch was at the Trattoria Sa Pesta, via dei Giustiniani, 16r. The mixed antipasto of Genoese specialties showed us why farinata (the chickpea pancake called socca in Nice) is one of the Riviera's great taste sensations when eaten fresh and hot from a wood-fired oven. And that yellow egg pasta with fresh green pesto is something we now dream about when we boil up pale white spaghetti with pesto from a jar. The only problem with eating such amazing food in Italy is that nothing at home ever tastes right again.

Genoa is a good town for walking -- full of historical sites evoking luminaries such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Andrea Doria. Then down on the harbor everything is the last word in modern science and design. We watched Renzo Piano's sail sculpture move about in the wind, experienced a mini-rainforest in the Biosphere, and gawked at the phony pirate ship from a Roman Polanski movie.

As we left Genoa, the sun came out just in time for our stop at Camogli, and we understand why it's Fred Plotkin's favorite place along the Italian Mediterranean. (Plotkin wrote Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, and another great book of local interest called Recipes from Paradise: Life & Food on the Italian Riviera.) We all savored the picturesque, colorful, and photogenic walk along the Lido, with its views out to sea, pastel houses climbing up the hill, fishing boats and nets in the harbor. Camogli also has excellent gelato!

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