Surprisingly, after last night’s dinner of local Genovese beef au natural, we slept very well. After a pleasant Sunday morning hotel breakfast, we walked across the lobby to a meeting room for an appointment with new friends Massimo Traffano and Alica Careddu, a lovely couple who spoiled us with their excellent English. Franco had told me of Massimo, saying something to the effect that the guitarist had created a novel harp guitar, only Franco wasn’t sure that’s what it was. I had met and spoken with Massimo at Fabrizio’s concert Friday night, and remained as confused as Franco was about it! Curious to see it, Massimo offered to bring it to our hotel (carrying it on foot from their home, it turned out!), and so here we were!
We spent a good hour together as Massimo shared the story of his clever invention. It’s sophisticated and complicated enough that it warrants a full investigation, so I’ll follow up with a separate blog about it. Suffice it to say that I was thrilled to find such harp guitar dedication and modern creativity in Pasquale Taraffo’s hometown!
With so much of historical interest to see in Genoa, Jaci and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the modern sights, including what is said to be allegedly Europe’s finest aquarium.
Another was the Galata Museum of the Sea, a recently updated Maritime museum – Genoa being of course a major port since humans learned to sail.
Franco’s daughter Rosella hadn’t yet been there, so offered to take us. It turned out to be a spectacular modern 4-story achievement, with everything extremely well-executed.
Naturally, there were traditional galleries of framed historical paintings (lots of ships if you couldn’t guess).
Replicas of the famous 3 ships in the Christopher Columbus gallery
Two statues: masthead, lunkhead…
…and a fantastical carved torch holder
Recreated armories featuring authentic 16th-century weapons and armor.
A large and beautiful parchment nautical chart from 1561
An entire floor was devoted to transatlantic ship travel through the 19th-20th centuries. Everything in the displays seemed to be of authentic appropriate vintage.
There were many clever life-size looping videos incorporated into various sets to recreate activities of the period – the customs agent seemingly interacting with the public was particularly hilarious.
Inside a full-size cargo ship recreation, other videos provided further character, educating while entertaining the public (Click image to open/play clip).
The enclosed rooftop patio gave a nearly 360-degree view of the city…here’s about 180.
All in all, the museum was a tremendous experience. Afterward, Jaci wanted to find a bookstore, so we were directed to the main shopping district where we took the opportunity to stroll the hundred+ year-old promenade. Lots of great architecture, doors, doorways, tiled sidewalks, filled now with modern stores and business. As always, here are some of our favorite architectural discoveries (click, then magnify for full-size images and we hope you will be similarly entertained):
Detail from above
After a simple dinner at Franco’s, we retired to our hotel…only one more day for adventure left!
Monday morning: We had queried Franco about antique stores, discovering too late that everything was closed on Monday. Nevertheless, he called for a taxi, we took a short ride, then a little walk and found one open…he had made his usual secret calls and the owner was there to open up just for us! (Over our many trips, we’ve learned that Franco has connections in all the right places…) Feeling now a bit guilty, we felt compelled to find something – anything – to purchase. After some meticulous searching, we found a couple things. Under one pile, I spotted the corner of an interesting textile, which was promptly unfolded, revealing a 200-year-old Genovese – well, we’re not sure – to us, a beautiful piano shawl. Sensing that it was well over our budget, behind our backs Franco did his thing, the owner called the consignor, and we shortly had an offer we couldn’t refuse! (This was of course all in Italian…the only thing we caught was the graciously-low final figure.)
Our purses lightened and shopping habit satiated, we voted on taking a long, leisurely walk home.
Just another random, wonderful building covered with trompe-l’oeil.
As we went right by the bank office of special friend Alberto Basso (middle), we stopped in for a surprise visit. P.S: Here I must report that I am wearing one of Franco’s shirts (and filling it nicely, thanks for noticing). I had packed nothing light, and Genoa had turned unseasonably warm!
I have to admit that his ceiling was a bit nicer than my own cubicle’s drop-ceiling tiles…
…as was his view – straight up this long thoroughfare is the Basilica Santa Maria Assunta next to Franco’s home.
Our last walk with Franco for this year’s trip.
After lunch, we stepped across the hall to visit neighbors and special friends Jans and Else in their wonderful home. Then back for one last presentation, as Franco demonstrates one of the earliest phonograph records – a single-sided 7” Berliner. Smaller than the later 78s, it was made of a different material and weighed a ton. He sent us home with one that we can play on the 78 player he had previously sent as a gift (which opens our Taraffo documentary).
Family and friends join us for a farewell meal at our hotel restaurant. Once again: Franco, Margarita, Giorgio, Rosella, neighbors Else and Jans.
I wish there was more to tell, but sadly, only our tearful goodbyes. Ever-gracious Alberto Basso picked us up at 5 in the morning for the short ride to the airport. The trip home was actually nice, inasmuch as we again went business class, a rare treat!
PS: The Priano made it back just fine. (As of this writing, it graces the lobby of our Carlsbad Harp Guitar Exhibit Oct, 2017–April, 2018)
Next: My travelogue is over, but there’s more on Massimo and his Brahms Harp Guitar!