Faces and PlacesFood and wineGenoa

Genoa’s Old Shops: a walk back in the time! Part I

By August 7, 2010 No Comments

Think to the list that you are going to read here below as a friendly, modern list of places that you should not miss when you visit Genoa’s medieval centre, the largest in Europe. Think to this list as one of those written before the arrival of the Internet days. Maybe you’d remember, when you’d ask a trusted person that used to travel, to write down on a piece of paper all its travel suggestions.

So, these are my travel in Genoa’s historical centre suggestions…

If you decide to visit Genoa’s medieval centre then, browse the following old food shops “botteghe storiche”, and taste their unique products. You will be captured by their manufactures and, for a day, feel Genoa’s real old charm.

In fact, wandering toward Genoa’s old shops, mean rediscover unique flavors of the genoese cuisine, a cuisine that is a mixture of mountain and seaside products, that uses eastern spices.

In the old town there are numerous ultra centenarian food shops and boutiques. Wandering through them is like to take a walk back in the time!

So, let’s start to scribble down the list…

Antica Bottega “Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano”

In Via Soziglia you’ll certainly notice the famous “Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano” store. Its shop windows are rich of traditional manufactures of candied fruit, chocolate, drages, bonbons, preserves and desserts. The products are made with the same recipes used centuries ago by the “confiseur-chocolatier”. In fact, the company was founded in the second half of the 18th century.

Its good reputation spread in Genoa very soon and they provided their goods also for the Prince Umberto wedding with Margherita of Savoy in 1868. Today the store still preserves its traditions and qualities, such that it’s known also abroad.

Antica Bottega “Gran Bar Pasticceria fratelli Klainguti”

Next door, in Piazza Soziglia, there’s Fratelli Klainguti, a bar/pasticceria shop dating to 1826, where the Composer Giuseppe Verdi loved to spend his time tasting the pastries. Here they serve not only caffè under the crystal chandeliers, but also a wide variety of cakes, pastries, homemade icecream.

The store, that has mirror-filled, gold and white dining rooms, was founded by Swiss bakers, that dreamed to open another shop in America, but left in Genoa, because they literally missed their boat for the for the New World.

Antica Bottega “Drogheria Torielli”

I suggest to you to have a stop in Via San Bernardo, a genoese medieval alley, that hosts the old shop “Drogheria Torielli”. The store is the kingdom of scents and flavors of spices, herbs, homemade chocolate, tea, rice, imported curries, essences and body care products that come from all over the World.

I love this store and its white wooden shelves on which are arranged all the products with hand written labels in a beautiful calligraphy. The owners are two brothers, the fratelli Torielli, that have served their clients for fifty years.

Antica Bottega “Barberia Giacalone”

Gentlemen, if you need a haircut or a shave, then stop in the small Art Nouveau barber shop, set up by the Giacalone Family in 1882, in Vicolo Caprettari.

The experience of an old-fashioned shave and haircut in this historic environment is unique. The 10 square meters shop was purchased by the Genoa Delegation of FAI (Italian Ambient Foundation). It worths a visit just for the architecturale details…even if you don’t need a haircut or shave.

But it continues…read more on our Second Part of Genoa’s Old Shops: a walk back in the time!

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