Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Italian Riviera

Last weekend we went on a last minute road trip to the Italian Riviera. Why? Because...
 1. Why not?
 2. It was a short 2.5 hour drive away.
 3. We don't have the apartment to ourselves on the weekend (that's going to change this week! We're finally moving into our own place).
 4. We both like exploring Italy! Obviously.

We chose to stay overnight in Genoa because it wasn't far away and neither of us had been before. 

It's called Genoa in English, Gênes in French, and Genova in Italian. I like the Italian because it reminds me of the fake country Genovia from the Princess Diaries books/movie. I kept mentioning that all weekend and David was confused every time. What are the odds that I could get him to watch that movie with me?

One of the reasons Genoa is interesting to visit is because of all of the palazzi! It was a very prosperous city around the 16th century, and lots of rich families built beautiful palaces.

We started out our trip by visiting the Palazzo Reale, which was just down the street from our hotel.

It exceeded expectations! It was a lot like Versailles, but much smaller and with no crowds.

There was even a Hall of Mirrors.

We walked through the more medieval part of the city on our way to our next stop, the Duomo. Genoa is full of tiny little alleyways. It reminds me of the Middle East a bit. I probably would have explored more in this area, but for some reason David wasn't a big fan of dark alleyways. I had no problem with it. I'm probably the weird one.

This one was a little cuter!

The Duomo:

They are in the middle of renovations.

Just down the street we saw another church, the Chiesa del Gesù. We ended up being very glad we stepped inside. Italy really does have the most beautiful churches in the world. 

The Piazza de Ferrari is the center of Genoa. 

It took a little while to find the right street, but eventually we made it to the Via Garibaldi. Pretty much the whole street is lined with palaces. Several of them are art museums now. A few of them were open so we could go peek in the courtyards.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped in one more church. No surprises here, it was also beautiful and full of gold and paintings.

It wasn't our original plan, but we ended up with extra time the next morning (thanks to being ready too late to go to church haha). We decided to go to Portofino!

Portofino is a small fishing village/resort town. It was only about 45 minutes from Genoa, and it was a gorgeous drive. I tried to capture some of it.

I apologize for the not so great videography and our dirty windshield ;)

We walked around town by the water, and the colorful buildings were so cute! Every view was postcard-worthy. It reminded me of Cinque Terre, which we hope to see this year too.

There was one last town on our agenda- Dolceacqua, which is near the French border. So near the French border that I think we heard more people speaking French than Italian there.

Dolceacqua has ruins of a medieval castle up on the hill and a bridge that looks straight out of a fairytale. 

We climbed to the top of the hill. I loved the little streets with all the arches.

And of course there's a colorful church.

When we finished exploring we were both kind of sad that we were out of things to see and had to go home. It was a weekend of Italian beauty overload.

The end. And here's a creepy doll in a window picture for good measure.

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