Commercial Harbor, Genoa
In the new era of Genova's history the year 1992 has the special and very important significance. It was year when Genova, and the rest of the world aswell, have celebrate the Columbus Quincentennial. In that ocasion the EXPO was entrusted to the city of Genova.
The world famous architect Renzo Piano designed the new look of the Porto Antico and, as it happens usualy, his work submited different controversials. From enthusiasm up to total denying.
My first visit to Genova was around 1985 and I still remember the look of the Porto Antico from that time. It was ugly part of the town and everybody was avoiding it. Therefore, I like this new face of this area, most of all because it become clean and bright. Porto Antico was torned from oblivion and become again very vivid part of Genova, as it used to be in its past.
If you go down the alleyways leading to the port you will find an amazing array of markets. Mostly selling clothes of Asian manufacture, the crowded and well laden stalls seem to extend for miles along the waterfront. A word of warning however is to remember that the Asian manufacturing system means that the clothes are way, way smaller than the sizes shown on the packet and it is not usually allowed to try them on or even to take them out of the sealed cellophane packets. Still it is a great way to spend a few hours and some of the other things available are toiletries, perfumes, dried flowers, cameras, computer games and so on and so on and so on.
The contrast between the harbour and the historic centre is quite big I think.
In the harbour you can see modern architecture and streamlined boats and with your back turned to the old city you can almost forget where you are.
On the right you can see the Expo.
We encountered a weird multipiece statue that looked different from every angle as we walked around it at the harbour.
We then encountered a statue of Gandhi.
Finally we encountered a rather odd dinosaur statue made out of old tyres and bits of rubbish.
I loved Genoa's old town so much, I did not want to even leave it to go to the harbour, but I was glad I did as the harbour was stunningly beautiful, quirky and hugely entertaining.
We began by looking at mosaics of immigrants getting set to leave Genoa near the maritime museum, strolled past countless boats, saw but did not go into the aquarium, were impressed by the scenic crane, saw the odd looking biosphere, the Neptune pirate ship and some strange works of art.
The Neptune pirate ship moored in Genoa's harbour is a prop from a Roman Polanski film called Pirates. It was built in 1985.
The bigo crane can take tourists up for scenic views over the harbour and old town.
The Maritime Museum is supposed to have interesting exhibitions on emigrants leaving Italy for a new life as depicted on the wall mosaics outside it.
The Biosphere is a glass and steel structure measuring 20 m in diameter and weighing 60 tons.It is located in Genoa Harbour and was designed by Renzo Piano who also designed the bigo crane. The biosphere houses a small ecosystem of tropical animals and plants.