Genova or Genoa

Since Gourmet Getaways' group was staying on the Italian Riviera and Genoa was only a little more than one hour away form our hotel (more on that later), I knew we had to go to Genoa to see what it was all about.  Much to my surprise we all fell in love with it.

It is the sixth largest city in Italy and it is overshadowed by Rome, Florence Milan and Venice.

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Our guide met us at Piazza de Ferrari and off we went to experience the ancient narrow streets, the many piazzas both large and small, a historic café for a cappuccino break, a pesto cooking class demonstration and tasting.

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The narrow streets were full of fresh produce, fish and ancient stores which is still very active today.

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Remember it is one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage cities.  The city is abundant with Renaissance architecture.  We strolled on Via Garibaldi and marveled at the structural design of these ancient palazzos, some of which are now banks.

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Since I am a chocoholic I wanted to taste and purchase excellent chocolate and I did!  There is an excellent chocolate shop called:  P.Romanengo fu Stefano located on Via Roma 51.  It is one of the oldest confectioners in Genova.  It all began in 1780.  It uses only the best ingredients.  If you are in the area it is well worth a visit to this beautiful and delicious confectioner shop!

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I would definitely go back to this city as it is too large to explore it in its entirety in one day.

My Favorite Little Village on the Italian Riviera

One of our day trips during our stay on the Italian Riviera was to a small fishing village called Camoglia.  As we strolled down to the village we were fascinated by the views and marveled at how crystal clear the water was.

During the Middle Ages this town was a prominent seaport. Now it thrives on tourism and is a great getaway for many Italians in this part of Italy.

 

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The name Camogli refers to the wives (mogli) of the fishermen who watched over the town while their fishermen husbands were away at sea. The population now consists of about 6,000 people and is known for its colorful houses that line the beach.

  As we strolled along the walkway it was dotted with boutique shops and small restaurants. While visiting this little town it was imperative to stop and taste some of the focaccia which is abundant in this part of Italy.  It was beyond wonderful.  The focaccia was thin and the dough was light. It is brushed with olive oil before baked and topped with herbs, cheeses and other vegetables.

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 As we strolled along the walkway it was dotted with boutique shops and small restaurants. While visiting this little town it was imperative to stop and taste some of the focaccia which is abundant in this part of Italy.  It was beyond wonderful.  The focaccia was thin and the dough was light. It is brushed with olive oil before baked and topped with herbs, cheeses and other vegetables.

 Focaccia with mushrooms and potatoes topped with a green sauce.   

Focaccia with mushrooms and potatoes topped with a green sauce.

 

 Cheese stuffed focaccia.

Cheese stuffed focaccia.

Would I recommend my travelers to visit this village?  Definitely YES!

Would I visit here again?  Definitely yes!

Hotel Highlights! MezzaTorre Resort and Spa in Ischia

Another great hotel our JDB team visited and experienced this past fall was the Mezza Torre Resort and Spa.  This 5 star hotel is located on the island of Ischia just north of Capri.

Ischia is a beautiful island and is noted for its thermal hot springs and relaxing beaches.  It is a popular tourist destination for Germans and Eastern Europeans and for the Italians, who frequent this island as their holiday destination.

We stayed on this island for two nights and had the opportunity to explore it. While staying here we had a special tour of the Botanical Gardens: Giardini La Mortella, the thermal spas and the small seaside town of Sant’Angelo.

 The little seaside town of Sant'Angelo

The little seaside town of Sant'Angelo

The Mezza Torre hotel has two personalities.  The main tower houses a lobby, spa and some of the rooms overlook the blue sea.  The other 50 rooms are spread out in a series of buildings on the grounds surrounded by woods.   There is a private beach which is only used by the guests of the hotel. 

I did not take the opportunity to experience the spa but other members of our group did and they were thrilled with the offerings. The spa offers a full range of treatments using the best products.  Within the spa they have their own thermal waters.

 Pool area at the hotel.  The beach is next to this area.   

Pool area at the hotel.  The beach is next to this area.

 

There are two restaurants at this lovely resort.  One restaurant/bar is near the beach so you don’t have to go far to satisfy your appetite.   We had the pleasure to experience this delicious food for lunch one afternoon and the chef really displayed his talents.  The other restaurant which offers a full buffet breakfast and dinners is located in another area. The food here was top notch!

                                                                                                                                                                         

Want that after dinner drink?  The little piazza outside of the tower will satisfy your desire for such.  Sit under the stars and let the waiter cater to your whim.

If you are looking for a different island feel go no further and stay at this relaxing hotel with its own beach.  You can fill your days with exploring other parts of this island:  there are thermal spas to experience, shopping, a beautiful botanical garden, cooking classes, wine tastings and more.

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 Thermal spas on Ischia.

Thermal spas on Ischia.