My immediate impression on arriving in Genova two nights ago was one of opulent splendor. I walked with my pack from the main train station (sadly under construction) to my hostel in a minor side street off the main drag of Genova’s principle families from its heyday. Palazzo sits side by side with Palazzo (now mostly museums, banks and office buildings) with entry doors several floors tall and stunning access stairs running up to first floor living and entertaining spaces. I was completely floored – it seemed a new definition of the word opulence and I was determined to absorb as much as possible of the city’s splendor during my stay. I signed up for the city museum pass, a steal at 16 Euros for two day (I visited 13 museums during that time) and made a meandering path through the city to find all of its various cultural spaces.
The most overwhelming thing about all of these spaces is the level of detail in ornamentation. Its impossible to appreciate every part of every building because there are so many layered effects – wall paper, plaster, tile, sculpture painting and the architecture itself are incredibly ornate. Here’s a sampling of the textures I ran into yesterday.
Possibly my favorite of all the museums was this art gallery in a former convent cloister. I really appreciated the design of the building, a stripped down version of the original space and the way it set off individual pieces to be appreciated, often with a slate background to further highlight them. It was easier for the eye to catch detail when set off against a pure background than when surrounded by so much visual noise.