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Leaving Italy For Paris

Coffee is still good. Coffee is still cheap.

The sun is still shining. The Italians are still smiling. My taxi driver was friendly. I got to the airport too early. My check in was easy. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 10 Comments »

Day-Tripping Through Liguria: From Genoa to Cinqueterre and Beyond

Our very own Erica Berman has just landed in Genoa for her yearly stint in Liguria, her favorite region of Italy. This still relatively untouched corner of Italy is one of our favorite spots for experiencing authentic Italian living in a gorgeous, seaside setting. Until the rest of us are able to make it there ourselves, we can live vicariously through Marisa’s gorgeous photography… -Geneviève

Sarzana details

I’ll just put it right out there: I love Liguria, and centrally situated Genoa is the perfect home base from which to delve into and savor Liguria’s many enchanting qualities and seaside cities. A maritime marvel, La Superba (the proud or the haughty, as it was once known) rivaled Venice as a powerful city-state for over 500 years. And while the splendor of its storied past as a seafaring legend is evident in the magnificent UNESCO-protected Strade Nuove and Palazzi dei Rolli, Genoa’s real charm is its present-day incarnation as a working port city.


This is a city that doesn’t bend over backwards to market itself to tourists. The result is an authentic Italian metropolis, more accustomed to the visiting Milanese than Manhattanite. As a traveler who thrives on finding and experiencing those places that aren’t (yet) teeming with fellow Americans, Genoa is a joy for me. Plus, I’m a sucker for labyrinthine medieval lanes, which Genoa has in spades. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 15 Comments »

Fast Coffee in Italy – Quick, Cheap and Delicious

Coffee and focaccia – Breakfast in Genoa

In Italy, coffee is delicious, quick, and to the point.

You arrive, you order, you drink, you go. Now, your day can start or your afternoon can continue.

Your barrista probably knows your name, the name of first born child, where you live and, most importantly, what kind of coffee you want and how you want it.

Small and quick, the morning coffee fix

Your coffee will be served velocemente…. you will stand at the bar, you will chat about the weather, your vacation, your work, your kids, your partner, your pet …. Continue Reading »

Posted in Coffee, Food, Italy tips & suggestions | 13 Comments »

Cappuccino In Italy = Morning Bliss

Cappuccino Genova Castelletto

Life here in Italy comes with simple pleasures. Each morning I start my day with an eagerly awaited Cappuccino. I have found my favorite little hole-in-the-wall right around the corner from my apartment in the Castelletto neighborhood of Genoa.  Here, I enjoy my morning ritual of cappuccino, a glass of water, the newspaper in Italian, and a chat with the barista. Simple, cheap (only 1€10 for this delicacy), and fulfilling! What is your morning bliss, and where do you go to find it?

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Posted in Food, Italy tips & suggestions | 3 Comments »

Trains in Italy – no cars needed here


To get around the Ligurian Riviera without a car (Camoli, Cinque Terre, Santa Margherita, Finale Ligure, Varigotti, La Spezia, Portofino – you need to take a boat or bus from Santa Margherita) from Genoa on public transportation one may take the increasingly infamous Trenitalia. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions | 2 Comments »

Genoa to Camogli, Punta Chiappa & back



July in Genoa and things are heating up. It is time to find ways to get out of the heat. Temperatures in the sun often surpass 90°F, even with low humidity, it is HOT.

One the best places to be is on my 100m² terrace, enjoying my panoramic view of the city and port. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 1 Comment »

Focaccia & Cappuccino for breakfast . . . in Genoa

Focaccia from le Coq Noir

Focaccia in Genoa is a mouthwatering mix of chewy, salty and olive oily. At its best it is crunchy on the edges and soft and warm in the middle. The Genovese wholeheartedly consume Focaccia all day long, but they especially devour it at breakfast.  Initially I was skeptical at this seemingly odd combination of sweet and salty, but I was quickly converted.  There is something magical about the combination of focaccia and cappuccino.  I should know, I have nicely accustomed myself to the mix – every morning.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 4 Comments »

Smiling Cappuccino – Only in Italy


Genoa, June 2009: The search for the perfect cappuccino is on. It’s hard to go wrong when drinking any sort of coffee in Italy, but the smiling cappuccino from the Cafe in Piazza delle Vigne, although good, but not the greatest, takes the award for most adorable. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 2 Comments »

Genoa – what exactly am I doing while here in Italy?

Typical Genoa

So, what do I do here friends want to know? This is my third trip to Genoa, and I still have not been to the Aquarium, to the famous museums that dot the city,  or even to  see the house where Christopher  Colombus supposedly lived. I have thoroughly walked on the winding passageways (caruggi), in and around Genoa’s old medieval center (said to be the largest medieval center in Europe).

I have criss-crossed my neighborhood Castelletto, and I have made it my mission to find the best gelateria, the best focacceria, the best cappuccino,

Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 1 Comment »

Genova, Genes, Genoa, Italy – however you want to spell it – at last!

picture-29Photo: Erica Berman -The path that leads to home

In Genova, finally, until July 17! My third trip. Inquiring friends want to know why I chose Genova. No-one has ever heard if it. They think it is Geneva, and that I am in Switzerland.  The story is quite simple. In the fall of 2007 I needed a flat with high speed Internet in order to participate  in an Intensive Italian language class and learn Italian, finally.  Not wanting to be in the tourist mecca’s of Florence, Venice or Rome, it was proving difficult to impossible to find a flat that was both nice and had Internet (sounds implausible, but it is true). Finally, I came across a penthouse flat with terrace in Genova that seemed beautiful, and had Internet. Although I knew next to nothing about Genova aside from the fact that it was not touristy with the anglo community, that it was a port not far from Portofino and Cinque Terre, that it was home to the best pesto in Italy, that the ferry leaves from there to go to Sardinia, and that Chistopher Colombus was born there, I decided to check it out.

picture-101Part of the door to my friend Maria’s house

The irony, and beauty of the whole affair is that in my wonderful penthouse apartment, despite the efforts of  numerous Italians, the Internet just would not work with my Mac.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions | 1 Comment »