Lokafyer Profile: Loving Genoa with Antonella

Genoa stands like an overcrowded and beautiful still life painting; with it’s cathedrals, medieval dwelling and stucco embellishments, how can you negotiate your way in such an overflowing place without the help of a local whose window opens to this painting? So we sat down with Antonella for you to help you find your way in this overcrowded painting!

View from a Window, Genoa by John Singer Sargent

1.Hi Antonella, can you tell us about yourself?

I'm an Italian and I have been living in Genoa since I was born. I have graduated from the University of Genoa with a degree in languages and cultures, and it is why I love meeting people from all over the world!

Antonella at 'The Prince's Garden'

I know my city quite well: the monuments, the streets, the buildings with their secrets and above all the hidden places full of the charm of this Mediterranean city.

2. Why did you decide to join Lokafy?

During my Erasmus experience, I got to meet a lot of people from different countries of Europe and after this adventure, many of these new friends came to Genoa to visit me. I loved to be a Cicerone - a travel guide - in my own city. I must confess that in order to make sure I always gave the precise information to my guests I began to study the history of the monuments of my city so when Lokafy contacted me I was happy to join this big family and follow my new adventure as a guide in Genoa.

3. What do you most love about Genoa?

As with every Mediterranean city, the first thing must be the sea. I love when in the port the water slips into the gulf and the mountains around seem to be falling into the sea. Every corner of this city has an individual beauty. Genoa is filled with continuous astonishment among the narrow scratched alleys with the old houses almost touching to new modern buildings. Genoa is where the sea and the sky mingle in perfect harmony every sunset to create wonderful colors at the day’s end. Every wall, every house, alley, and palace, every villa, park, and fortification, preserve the charm of the ancient Genoese Maritime Republic. "City of arms and trade", its artistic beauties are preserved inside the noble palaces called rolli and in the many city museums.

“I am now in a beautiful city, a really beautiful city: Genoa. You walk on marble, everything is marble: stairs, balconies, buildings. Its buildings follow one another closely; passing through the streets, you can see large patrician ceilings all painted and gilded. "

Gustave Flaubert.

Photo by Chris Curry courtesy of Unsplash

4. How do you perceive yourself in the city?

I feel I'm connected to this city quite deeply, I couldn't live in a city without the sea. I'm like a lover with her beloved, and when the beloved is more than a mortal being, love is a continuous meeting. Every day I discover something new and beautiful in my city, a mysterious and enchanted city full of secrets waiting to be found as you do when you’re getting to know a new lover and above all, I take care of it. So I think I’m the lover of Genoa…

Photo by Nick Fewings courtesy of Unsplash

5. If someone comes to visit you, where would you take them to eat?

My choice would depend on the time of the day. For lunch, I would take them to ‘The Mog’. In the heart of the city, we can find The Mog, a cultural center, a social hub that is inspired by the major European markets such as La Boqueria in Barcelona, the Markthal in Rotterdam, etc.

The Mog is a simple acronym for Mercato Orientale di Genova (Genoa's Eastern Market) is mainly a food market. It is quite large and completely covered and was built in 1899 on the site of an older convent cloister. There are dozens of fruit and vegetable stalls, as well as stalls offering all kinds of foodstuff, household goods, and other items. The market is very popular with both local residents and tourists.

On the second floor inside the colonnade, one of the Genoese symbols projects the visitor – with a lot of crystal domes that flood the whole structure with light – upwards. The Mog has eleven food corners where enogastronomy is linked to the territory and research of raw materials of the highest quality are used to prepare dishes, desserts, and Ligurian specialties.

Another place we’d go to go surely the Expo' where you can taste local dishes in a little bakery like focaccia (a kind of oily brad which can be enriched with many other ingredients such as cheese, onion, and sage for example) a delicacy to try absolutely or fried fish in a typical shop near the sea.

At night it is really very suggestive to eat in one of the numerous restaurants overlooking the sea where you can end the day eating fish, seafood and drinking local white wine gazing into the shimmers in the waters.

6. Where would you take them to drink?

Genoa has lively nightlife because it's a University city, full of students during the week. Bars, wine bars and pubs are popular in the city center. A lot of these pubs are located in a pretty small area and people tend to hop from one to another as the evening progresses. You can start the night tasting an Italian aperitivo (a pre-meal drink) and follow drinking different wines if you like.

Piazza Delle Erbe is a characteristic place to drink. It is a small square with tables around where several bars serve locals and travelers food, beer, and wine. At night, especially on Fridays, the atmosphere is as bubbly as champagne, swarming with life. The square fills with people, not just students happy to drink in company.

Genoa also has, like everywhere in Italy, the tradition of drinking coffee during the day, perhaps together with a sweet pastry. There are the city's historical cafes like the “Caffè degli Specchi” where the furniture reflects the taste of the Belle Epoque when artists and intellectuals met in it. The same feel is also evoked by the shiny cream-colored tiles, which come from the original “porcelain grotto” (the randomly tiled ceiling), a feature that characterizes this historical cafè in Genoa.

7. Let's say someone can only visit one place in Genoa, where should they visit to experience the culture of Genoa as much as they can in just one place?

I think the link between Genoa and the sea has always been inseparable. A visit to the city, in this ancient maritime republic, can very well start by visiting the old port and is the most suitable way to know Genoa.

Photo by Chris Curry courtesy of Unsplash

The soul of Genoa is enclosed in the characteristic alleys of its historic center which, to date, is among the largest in Europe and its important symbol: the Lantern.

The alleys have always occupied a fundamental place. The Genoese claim that the characteristic alleys of the historic center preserve the soul of the Ligurian city. Of medieval origin, the alleys represent the heart of the historic center, a world heritage site of humanity. At the end of the colorful alleys, small squares unexpectedly open onto which elegant palaces, which belonged to the Genoese nobility, have hosted important personalities over the course of history. The Genoa of the “carruggi” is also the part of the city preferred by thousands of tourists.

Photo by Dave Robinson courtesy of Unsplash

Walking through the narrow alleys of the historic center you have the desire to get lost as if it were a natural consequence of an itinerary that has only been sketched out and which leaves ample room for creativity.

8. Many cities have pieces of art/artists dedicated to them. Does Genoa have any cultural stones like that?

In Genoa there is no artistic piece dedicated to the city itself, rather there is a piece dedicated to the Genoese themselves (and don’t you think a city is the people living there?). It is a very beautiful fountain located in the center of a square that acts as a watershed between the modern part of the city center and the old part. It is located in the center of Piazza De Ferrari, in the ancient Portoria district.

Photo by Belinda Fewings courtesy of Unsplash

On the innermost basin of the fountain you can read the motto "Tenacious affection of Ligure / overcoming destiny / he donated to his city", referring to Erasmo Piaggio, for whose desire the fountain was donated to the city.

The fountain has been equipped with a LED lighting system that allows it to be illuminated with different colors in the evening and on particular occasions and often on these occasions the water is colored with different colors depending on the occasion.

Photo by Claudio Meirana coourtesy of Unsplash

9. When you're not working for Lokafy what do you do for fun?

Music and dance are my greatest passions. Everything related to rhythm interests me. I play with other guys in a samba group called “The Faladeira Band” . We often play in the streets of my city on a variety of occasions such as fairs or festivities.


I also attend a salsa class with some friends and I like to go dancing on Saturday with them .

In my free time I enjoy socializing. Going out for a cup of coffee or for some healthy snack, meeting friends. It's important to me.

I like walking and considering how much time I spend sitting at work I try to move as much I can in nature but this depends too on the weather and on my mood and energy levels so on some days I prefer to stay at home listening to some music, read a good book, watch a documentary movie on my laptop or even sleep...

10. And lastly what kind of changes Lokafy caused in your life?

It is a special pleasure to be able to talk about my city with people from other countries as I have already said so every tour I do gives me a huge charge, I feel good when I can convey the love I have not only in what I do but for others too. I consider my experience with Lokafy as a great cultural and relational enrichment that has certainly had a positive impact on my life now.

If you find all these interesting you should book a tour with Antonella!