PORTO ANTICO (ANCIENT PORT) – PEGLI – VILLA PALLAVICINI
On foot (and Navebus): 3 h
Bus: 1, Navebus
From the Porto Antico (Ancient Port) take the “Navebus” to visit Pegli. The sea excursion is a unique, charming experience (the fare lasts 30 minutes). Genoa is seen from the sea, along the dam which marks the south border of the city and protects the wharfs from the waves. The huge port stretches for 22 km. It is the largest industrial port in Italy and one of the most important in Europe.
When you get off at Pegli, the octagonal pink dome of the Santa Maria Immacolata church will be the centre of the stage. Go along the promenade and turn right into Vico Sinope. Above you, you will see the typical green Genoese shutters ready to welcome the breeze in the so-called ‘village of two springs’ due to its climate, among the best in Liguria. Here is Viale Ignazio Pallavicini, the railway station lies on your left as well as the entry to Villa Durazzo Pallavicini. Behind you, the houses drawn with a pencil climb up the church dome like ivy. At every corner bergamot trees drop juicy fruits onto the tar which cannot and does not know how to appreciate them.
Before getting to the entry of Villa Durazzo Pallavicini, let the small bridge inside the station above the iron river draw your attention. There you can wait for beauty for long moments, among people walking past… Once you have picked it up, you will hear it whisper: «…Pretend that today is no particular date, start from scratch again».
The Villa can be reached if you walk along a road that stretches among tall buildings and accompanies thoughts as far asthe Santi Martino e Benedetto church and Palazzo Pallavicini, home to the Archaeological Museum, from which lacklustre steps go down toward the heart of the villa. Designed as a maze, its goal is to make you feel stranded. The classical avenue goes over the motorway, with a small stream of water pouring from the fountain. The closer you get to it with your ears, the stronger is the contrast with the devilish tyres. You can let your hearing rest when you walk past the triumphal arch and observe the thick vegetation from a small wooden window inside the ‘hermit house’ and the charming lake at the centre of which lies Diana’s temple. The strong, hanging branches of the CedrusLibani and the Camphor tree try grazing it without being able to do so. The approximate care of the place, the black signs of humidity on the marbles and the brambles sprouting from the hedges give the landscape a charming taste of violated, raped Eden, like a liberating shout choked in one’s throat or the pleasant bitter taste of a liquorice stick.
After the visit to the villa, if you still have time and you feel like walking, you can continue to discover the Val Varenna and its trekking paths (read more here). You will have to take bus 71 in Via Opisso, which can be reached from the botanical garden of Villa Pallavicini along via della Maona.
[Pegli, photo by Diego Arbore]
[Villa Pallavicini, photo by Daniele Orlandi]