After a wonderful evening downstairs in our hotel at the private reception Franco hosted for us following the special concert of Fabrizio Giudice, Jaci and I had only to amble over to the elevator, press “5,” locate our passkey and topple into bed.
I woke (late) to Jaci working on origami, of all things. She was folding Euros, making a present for Franco’s granddaughter Giulia and newly-wedded husband, Hiroki. She’s good, but that’s with dollars…Euros are a different shape! So while she re-engineered her little project, I went for a morning stroll.
Just a block or so away was the towering Church of San Giacomo, one of the seemingly endless supplies of gorgeous ancient churches of Genoa (ancient church, building new since the 1890s).
You’ve probably noticed over these many blog years that Jaci has trained me well on documenting all interesting architecture with an emphasis on – yes, doors!
No photography allowed, and so once again I apologize for being a crass tourist.
Naturally, I took a photo of this particular stained-glass window for Jaci.
Another few blocks towards the coast and I found myself at the Villa Croce. This is still fairly near Franco’s home, so was familiar to me from walks he’s taken us on in past years.
A 19th century neoclassical– style villa, the Croce family donated it to the city in 1951 and it is now a local modern art museum. If this was my view, I’m not sure I’d want to give it up.
Checking the doors and finding them unlocked, I strolled in. A small staff was setting up for an event and let me wander and take photos of bits of it.
The original hand-painted walls and ceilings are still in surprisingly good shape.
Jaci now ready to head up to Franco’s, we stopped at a flower shop along the way to create her arrangement. The proprietor was happy to pose during her work.
I was taking Franco’s Gazzo harp guitar back to him (from the concert display the prior evening) – which got an occasional glance or two. Waiting in the flower shop while the owner worked, she asked what I had and Jaci replied “a harp guitar,” to which she replied, “Oh, like Spock plays?” We cracked up at that one.
We had some more time now to ask Franco to demonstrate some of his collection. Our favorite is the large Swiss music box. We asked him to wind it up – here’s a clip.
This I believe was his childhood “boom box” – a miniature Victrola-type player he would play opera records on incessantly.
Among Franco’s many new collectibles scattered around the house, I was especially curious about this one I had seen on his sideboard.
He then proceeded to demonstrate the “Mikiphone,” a portable, fully operational record player. All this stuff unfolded out of it – arm, needle, miniature acoustic speaker and voila! Franco placed a children’s record upon it and it worked fine. Here’s a charming video clip.
He turned the 1920s children’s record over and I heard…Hawaiian guitar?! A Milan pressing of “At Three O’clock in the Morning,” artist unknown. Here’s a clip.
After a light lunch, it was time for another nap (not ours), so Jaci and I went back to our hotel for a little planned photo session. I had come from California, traveling through Scotland, and now Genoa, with a huge empty guitar flight case – rather like Chico & Harpo in The Cocoanuts, “That’sa all right, we fill it up before-a we leave.” Yes, after 4 visits in 8 years, I had finally talked Franco out of his incredible Priano harp guitar. A very special and sentimental acquisition (currently on display in the lobby of The Museum of Making Music).
We walked down the block to that incredible stairwell, where Jaci took a bunch of nice promo shots.
We took the opportunity for a few more photos next door…part of the “Dr. Seuss-designed” part of the city. We’re standing on the street at left. At picture’s bottom is the ground floor of the 6-story building, just a dozen feet or so away. The tenants thus drive across the tiny bridge from the adjacent street onto the roof of their building. Only in Genoa.
Time for us to go back and wait for Franco to wake up. As we relaxed on his back patio, a cruise ship was coming in. You may recall that on our last trip here, this same view contained the horrific wreck of the Costa Concordia undergoing its slow dismantling after its tragic accident.
Posing for a keepsake photo with Margarita.
Recently married granddaughter Giulia and Hiroki soon arrived from Milan. We didn’t have much time with them as they were preparing for their first major show in Florence of their new line of leather goods.
Jaci’s Flowers & Origami Hearts was well-received.
Later, neighbors Jans and Else took us out to dinner at one of their favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, of which Genoa has an ample supply. I don’t remember a menu – usually, you just ask the owner to bring you that night’s specials.
Franco asked for beef tartare (i.e: “raw”) and got it.
Mine was some special cut of local beef. Fantastic, but I’m glad I asked for “medium” (seriously)! I didn’t spot a lot of vegans in the place.
To our unique and beautiful friendship!