Back in Turin, we entered our time-alone phase – my favorite time.
We wanted to see the surrounding areas and looked forward to driving into the Alps west and north of Turin but first, we needed to visit Genoa, our original September destination.
After a two-hour ride, the last 45 minutes through some beautiful valleys, we came to Genoa – a good sized town with 600,000 people nestled in a cove along the Ligurian Sea. It was immediately apparent this is a workingman’s town with numerous shipping and fishing industries. Colorful apartments adorn the hillside overlooking the sea and several good-sized marinas.
We headed directly to our originally reserved apartment in the main marina and near the famed Genoa Aquarium.
The apartment building is positioned well, jutting out into the water. However, my expectations of negotiating a parking deal better than the advertised 80€ a week rate quickly diminished, as all that was available was city parking near the Aquarium and numerous shops and restaurants. (So, the extra 10% Max, our Turin landlord, requested immediately became a breakeven)
We walked the marina, looking at shops, restaurants, and several impressive private boats/ships. We wanted to see the renowned Aquarium. It’s very nice and really well designed, with tank after tank of various fish and coral growth. We spent several hours walking inside and outside the facility. We also felt we may have seen the better part of what’s to see in Genoa and maybe we were lucky to lose our reservation!
Being on the Med and at the apex of the Italian and French Riviera, we decided to head south to see more of the beauty of the Mediterranean coastline, cities, and cliffs. When we came upon Portofino, we knew it was time for more walking and dinner.
Portofino is one of the ten most beautiful cities in Italy, as reported by most authoritative websites. The colors of the hilltop apartments and surrounding sea are breathtaking. Just bring money if you want to buy… but actually not too bad if you want to rent. We walked the shoreline and pristine beaches, stopped at a couple of parks, and investigated the fancy shops still open at 6 PM. Neat town.
Stopping at an outdoor restaurant near the water, we ate pasta, skipped the wine as we were now 3+ hours from Turin, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset and early night. After a nighttime stroll back to our car, we agreed Genoa could have worked out but would have involved almost daily car trips along both Rivieras – not really a bad option.