Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our 1st Day Trip: Genoa Port and Lighthouse

Over the course of living in Genoa, Italy, we will take  day trips every Tuesday (with the exception of 3 or 4 due to week long travels), every week, for the entire semester. Most will be spent in parts of Italy, while a couple might be outside of Italy in other countries. For each day trip, we will have a "tour guide," Giuditta, who is from Genoa and knows much about Italian history and architecture. For our 1st day trip, we toured the Port of Genoa. The day was actually very dreary and it rained all day long. So we spent our first hour or so (in the rain) walking through the harbour obtaining as much historical information as Giuditta could put out in a short amount of time. We saw some beautiful, historical architecture that she knew just enough about to make you feel like you had had a crash course on the history of Genoa and its port. We then moved on to a boat tour that included a view of the entire harbour area from the sea. We had the boat all to ourselves, and it was the perfect way to begin the our 1st day trip of the semester.

View from the boat looking back at the harbour. 

After our boat tour, we headed over to see two architectural complexes between the harbour and the historical part of the city. The first was Palazzata Della Ripa and the second was Palazzo San Giorgio. Both held significant importance to the city's harbour and were ideal for the architecture students first sketches. 
We then headed to Galata Museo Del Mare for a tour of the museum of the sea. This partiuclar museum was built on the original site of the 17th century arsenal main dock. In the main hall, when you first come in, you can see the entire map of the waterfront of Genoa. 

An aerial view of the entire waterfront of Genoa. 

After finishing up at themuseum we had a quick lunch around the harbor. We thenmoved on and took a tour of La Commenda Di Pre' which is one of the most historical centers in all of the Mediterranenan, founded during the 12th century. 
This building was used as a hospice to knight monks and pilgrims that were traveling through the area to reach the Holy Land. There are two parts to La Commenda Di Pre', an upper and a lower.
From La Commenda, we went to the Palazzo del Prince, which was the mansion and the headquarters of the Prince of Genoa. We toured the entire mansion; bedrooms, gardens, and banquet hall. It was very old and very beautiful.

The interior of the upper church of La Commenda.

One of the rooms inside Palazzo del Prince. 

Lastly, we ended the day with a trip to the tip of Genoa to se La Lanterna. It was quite the trek, but well worth it once we arrived and the perfect way to end our 1st day trip. It was the perfect backdrop for such an important structure to the Genovese history. The Lighthouse was first constructed in the 12th century, then a new one in the 16th century, and finally restored as a museum from 1995-2004. La Lanterna is the symbol of Genoa; it rises some 85 meters (279 feet) from the base and 117 meters (384 feet) above the sea. It remains a functioning lighthouse and navigational aid for sailors even today holding a light beam that can be seen for up to 33 miles away.

La Lanterna.

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