Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Shore excursion: Genova & Portofino

You will be picked up at the cruise ship pier by our private driver and vehicle for the day.This tour will take you to the most interesting places in Genova & Portofino
The Aquarium. It is located in the marine park that the architect Renzo Piano created in the oldest part of the harbour.The purpose was to give the city a space in which resting,walking,cultural and touristic activities could merge.The aquarium itself is said to be the biggest in Europe.Very beloved by children,it is extremely interesting for adults too.Top visited are the penguin,dolphin and shark basins.
You will stop first at the panoramic terrace of Castelletto.From here you’ll see the historical center of Genova,the port and the “Lanterna” or lighthouse which is considered the symbol of the town.Next you’ll enjoy a walking tour of the old city starting at the so-called “House of Colombo”,near the medieval gate of “Porta Soprana”and Piazza De Ferrari,the contemporary heart of the town with the Carlo Felice Opera House and beautiful fountain.
St. George Palace.In the XIII century,the government of the Republic was installed in this building which later became property of the Banco di S.Giorgio,the administrator of the public finance.The most recent part,facing the sea,includes several beautiful halls decorated with paintings and sculptures.The medieval aisle has been strongly restored with a certain amount of fantasy about a century ago.Howevwe,several original parts are still there.
St.Lawrence’s Cathedral.The construction took several hundred years until the XVI century and different styles can be recognized.Elements of the XI-XII century church ,which replaced the previous IX century one,are still visible along the sides,namely the portals,tombs and epigraphs.The black and white banded façade is rather common in Genova as well as in part of Tuscany.The sculptures in the façade are scenographically enhanced by the staircases rising from the lower square.Among them,the gotic column supporting lions and the Apostol with sunclock,commonly know as “l’arrotino”(the knife-grinder).The gotic portals of the façade outstand in the Italian architecture of the time.The lunette of the central portal,showing the Martyrdom of St.Lawrence,is particularly relevant.
Palace of the Doges.This was the palace of the former rulers of the Republic of Genova,built at the end of the XVI century.The neoclassic façade co-exists with the remains of the previous medieval building at the left.A double courtyard opens toward the very center of the city.A majestic staircase introduces to the upper floor where the halls in which the government activities took place,the private apartment of the Doge and the Chapel are located.All of them are nicely decorated with paintings,frescoes and tapestry.Today the palace is well developed cultural site where exhibitions,meetings and so on are currently held.A permanent settlement of antiquarian object and “brocanterie” shops is also hosted.Portofino has long been and still remains a capital of high society and the so-called “jet set”,but it is also so much more than that.It is a bay and village of astonishing beauty with an important natural pier.It offers lush Mediterranean hillside forests and a charming village loaded with and history and beauty.Portofino began as a Phoenician port ,then was ruled by Rome and finally served the Republic of Genoa.It is a cultural meeting point and has been loved by writers and philosophers like Nietzsche,Maupassant and Truman Capote who all lived here.Your walking tour of Portofino includes the Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta,where is possible to see the traditional “Cristi”,a huge Crucifix that is carried through the town by the faithful during religious processions.You will also visit the church of San Giorgio on top of the promontory,with its extraordinary view down on the village .You will walk to the Lighthouse,through the verdant Regional Park and up to a terrace outlook facing the tranquil Tigullio Gulf.By the time you have finished with your private guided tour you too will understand why this place is so highly regarded and famous the world over. Ask your quotations info@clabservice.com