I colori di Genova
AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY ON “COLOURS OF GENOA”
Ah Genoa, how hard it was to leave you!
You, queen of seas, land of assaults and conquests, triumphs and defeats, you will always reign over me, sovereign.
When I arrived in this city – for me, it was the first time -, even though its beauty was well-known, unconsciously the melody and the first strophes of Paolo Conte’s song came to my mind: “ With that face just so, the expression just so… that we have before we go to Genoa…”. It aroused the suspicious melancholy that only a refrain can awaken.
But, as soon as I arrived, while the sun was shining, Genoa appeared beautiful to me, to say the least. Above all the old town and, especially, the well-known carrugi (the narrow streets passing through Genoa), where colours were challenging light contrasts, blue sky and dark shadows, made me feel such strong emotions that I remained confused and dazed.
I visited most of Genoa, I came to the old port, I walked through the length and breadth of the city, without losing its enchantment.
It is not my job to talk, in this context, about Genoa’s history, which is very interesting too, with its highs and lows similar to its carrugi, even if not everyone knows that the majority of the old town and many of Genoa’s buildings are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Now, I would like to focus my attention on my Genoa experiences. First of all, I passed, unharmed, through the old town (included the neighborhood called Prè), an urban area that is still defined disadvantaged and dangerous. I do not think that I would have made friends with the non-European citizens who live along the carrugi – thing that in the end happened – if I had allowed myself to fall prey to fear. But, I was so determinate to discover new things and people, and I was so bursting with joy that everyone I met on the way was influenced by me, I think.
Among the Genoa citizens, who, spontaneously, got in touch with me, I remember some old people. The first one stopped beside me, while I was contemplating a tabernacle dedicated to the Virgin. The lady took me aside and told me that in the past those who would have had to embark on a sea voyage for many days, used to commission tabernacles, depending on taste and financial resources, either dedicated to the Virgin or to some Saints. The tabernacles were usually located on the sides of the streets and called “votive aediculae”. Moreover, she said that any sailors, who had built up one of them, had come home safe and sound from the voyage.
Another old man, in the city centre of Genoa, took me aside telling me, very pleased, that all the beautiful churches, which are in Genoa, cannot be found in any other Italian cities.
At the port, near the Aquarium (among the most important in Europe), an old lady told me that since her husband had died, she had never come back there (to the Aquarium), although she had felt very nostalgic. However, she refused my invitation to go back there with my husband and I, since she did not have enough time that day. But, at the same time, she insisted that my husband and I went there. She was right. In fact, we spent there a very long time contemplating, astonished, flora and other beauties, works of art, which surrounded different types of fish!
These three people, spontaneous and friendly, who started to talk to me as if they had always known me, still shining in my mind, when I think of them, such as precious pearls do.
In the matter of young and beautiful women – who are a permanent feature of my photo albums – I looked around for those Genoa citizens who had these features, especially at coffee shops and non-touristy places – it is true that nowadays Genoa population is, in the majority, based on old people –.
When I was entering a coffee shop – especially near the port – if there was a waiter, I was asking him, shamelessly and frankly, if there was a waitress. If she was and if she reflected my photographic interests, firstly I would have asked her if she was from Genoa then I would have asked to take candid pictures of her to obtain more natural results.
At this point, I can conclude only this way: Genoa cast a spell on me and I am grateful, for everything I have already said above, to Genoa and all its citizens (native or not). If my photos do not match with the taste of those who watch them, I suggest that they read, at least, these words, which I wrote with sincere fondness for Genoa citizens and with true, pure and disinterested pleasure.