Anna and Emanuela, from Beautiful Liguria, took me wandering one day …deep into the heart of the medieval section of Genoa. And it felt a little like a magical carpet ride but perhaps that was because we began at Drogheria Torilli.
It's more than just a spice shop but, for me, the initial impression was that I had stepped into the pages of a book I read long ago … The Mistress of Spices. A story about a priestess who knew the secret and magical powers of spices. Drogheria Torilli seemed to promise ancient magic based on scent alone.
However the true story of this Genoese shop goes like this. In 1929 the grandfather of the current owners was working at the port of Genoa when an economic crisis hit and the work ran out. Way back then he decided to open a small supermarket, one of the first of its kind.
Moving forward, through time, into the 1970s and new people began to arrive in Genoa. Immigrants from Morocco and they were searching for spices from home. Over the years other immigrants followed and with them came the demand for spices from all over the world.
Drogheria Torilli began selling spices and, in the years since, this shop has become a place were a melting pot of cultures meet. More than that though, they are consciously attempting to maintain a balance between tradition while embracing the new.
Standing there, taking photographs, watching customers come and go, it occurred to me that Drogheria Torilli represents a miniature version of what makes this city something special. The world wanders in through their doors.
Address: Via San Bernardo, 32r.