From Piazza De Ferrari to the Carmine neighborhood: an unusual itinerary to discover Genoa
The starting point of this tour is Piazza De Ferrari. The central square, marked out by the fountain in the middle of it, work by Giuseppe Crosa di Vergagni back in 1936, still is the heart of the city, door to the historical centre, culture centre and meeting point for residents and tourists.
Many buildings overlook the square: Palazzo della Borsa, Regione Liguria and Palazzo Ducale. Looking at Palazzo Ducale we take via XXV Aprile and just on the right side of the street we can notice the portico of the Opera House Carlo Felice, designed by Carlo Barabino and rebuilt after the II World War damages, the theatre is now one of the most technologically innovative in Europe.
Proceeding along via XXV Aprile we arrive in Piazza Fontane Marose where we take via Garibaldi. Once called ‘Strada Nuova’ (New Street), it was designed by Rubens for the beauty of its palaces that became Unesco Heritage in 2006, as part of the system called Palazzi dei Rolli. These palaces were built between the XVI and XVII century by the rich aristocratic Genoese families, decorated with stuccoes and frescoes and with grandiose halls, courtyards and gardens, sumptuous dwellings that best represent what was known as “Il Secolo dei Genovesi” (The Century of the Genoese).
Walking along via Cairoli, once Strada Nuovissima, we arrive in Piazza della Nunziata where there is the church Santissima Annunziata del Vastato with stuccoes and frescoes that made it one of the best worthy examples of the XVII century.
From the square we proceed along via Balbi. The street takes its name from the family who built most of the palaces on the street. Even these palaces are part of the system Palazzi dei Rolli, Unesco Heritage since 2006 and nowadays house university departments and the museum of Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace).
Almost at the end of the street on the left, a stair takes to Piazza Truogoli di Santa Brigida, a small square with an old washhouse and all around pastel coloured houses where once housewives met with their bowls of laundry to wash.
At the end of the street on the right, there is the Montegalletto lift. It’s a unique mean of transport that links an horizontal system (funicular) and a vertical system (lift). Arriving on top, crossing the street Corso Dogali we enter the park of Castello D’Albertis. The park offers a stunning view of the city, the castle now houses the Museum of World Cultures that offers a virtual tour through the continents: from the Turkish Room to the hall dedicated to Christopher Colombus to the Gothic Room.
Going out the park we walk along Corso Dogali towards Albergo dei Poveri, the building dates back to 1652 and was built to host poor people; in the centuries it was used for various purposes until the present one that sees the eastern part of the building occupied by the University of Genoa.
Proceeding along Corso Carbonara, on the side of Giardini Tito Rosina, a “creuza”, typical street of red bricks that goes from the hills to the sea, goes down. Taking this street, Salita Carbonara, we arrive in the heart of the neighbourhood called Carmine characterized by alleys with curious names: vico Cioccolatte, vico della Fragola, Piazzetta delle Giuggiole, to remember the old commercial aim of the area.
At the end of this itinerary we arrive in Piazza del Carmine where the namesake cover market is: a liberty structure built in 1921 to host the local market. Still now there are food stands and a restaurant where you can taste the typical Genoese dishes made with the products sold by the stall in the market.