Genoa was seedy.
And not hip seedy, the kind of place where men in skinny jeans play digital music for models in refurbished warehouses. Genoa was like, pre-that. So, pre-refurbished warehouses. Still fully furbished. Which I assume means “covered in grime.”
Imagine a big city and add a grey filter. Great, you’re picturing Genoa.
It was probably the only time in Europe where I legitimately felt like I was in a real city. We got lost, we took the bus, we tried not to get shivved in dark alleyways. All the things you might do in, say, New York City. It was the kind of place where twilight makes you nervous about thieves and packs of wild animals rather than excited about the beautiful sunset and vibrant club scene.
That said, we stumbled across a few streets that weren’t abysmal. There was like, a well-lit storefront or two. I’m certain I saw a public park. But these places seemed tucked away, hidden. Secret destinations for the locals, not tourists.
Tourists in Genoa get a giant fountain, several impressive grey edifices, and a warren of cramped medieval streets that feel culturally significant despite the fact that most of the shops sell shitty tourist tchotckes. I remember discovering an ancient Roman wall and being like, “Well, this is here.”
They could create a new tourist campaign based on that idea – “Genoa: It’s Here.”
Or, “Genoa: Cinque Terre Will Seem Much Nicer After You’ve Been Here.”
Or, “Genoa: Don’t Tell the Hotel Clerk That You’re Fitting Four Guys in One Hotel Room Because He’ll Make You Buy an Extra Room.”
Or, “Genoa: Where Our Restaurants Are Named Douche and You Can Buy a Long Island Iced Tea.”