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Imagine being one of a small group of women who meet up in a country not their own.  Each intent on making a similar journey into the world of photography.   In Italy …exploring the light and the layers of a city created over 2,000 years while experiencing that particular Genoese way of being.

Come join me on a journey of discovery – your camera, your self, and an ancient Italian city.

Is this the workshop for you? Read more over here.


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the quick brown fox

Come travel with me to...

Rome from xx to xx December 2099


The Problems of Life Lived as a Flatlander ...

I like Genova more than I like Venice.  I prefer Nervi over Cinque Terre.  And perhaps I am one of the few who arrive in Italy and lose weight every time I am here.

It's the walking.  Twice a day, at very least, my camera and I head out.  Genova is located on the sides of some fairly spectacular hills.  The city reminds me of Dunedin or Wellington in terms of position between sea and hills.

The walking here involves hills.  The first 4 days are hellish for me.  A trip that winds down through the old part city involves a rather steep climb back up to Piazza De Ferrari.  'Steep' depending on how long I've been away from Genova but finding the easiest way home is the only time the engineering part of my brain is used.

Is it simpler to walk back up Via San Lorenzo and then, should I follow the steady slow climb up Via Porta Soprana to the gate or should I turn left and arrive in Piazza De Ferrari, meandering some more on the 'flat' before climbing the stairs that take me up through the gate at Porta Soprana ... steeper than that first option but over more quickly. Unless I have a suitcase.  Or I'm carrying groceries.

And they are only two of many options that must be considered depending on where my feet have taken me that day.  Salita S. Matteo is the worst of the climbs back up and out of the carruggio for me.  However it is the climb I'm most proud to walk easily when it comes time to leave.


Pietro Romanengo Fu Stefano, Confettieri, Genova 

On Friday I spent some hours with Anna, from Beautiful Liguria, visiting the laboratory of Genovese confectioner Pietro Romanengo Fu Stefano.

Our tour was followed by an interview, one that opened a door to the confectioner's history, spanning some 234 years. 

The details were fascinating.  The machinery is only replaced if the new equipment leaves the quality of the end product uncompromised and so it was a tour of an older way of doing things.  Attention to detail was everywhere. 

I was offered the opportunity to taste as we wandered.  The delicacy of the products startled me.  I have never tasted anything like the marzipan, the pastilles, nor the chocolates, flavoured as they are, with real flowers and candied fruits.

I will write more but the pastilles below ... delicate and surprising, as they melt in your mouth, releasing the most divine liquid. 'The perfumed pastilles, known also as “ginevrine” (Genevans),  have a very ancient processing where the colour and the aroma given to the sugar are absolutely natural. They can be purchased loose in 500g bags with the taste of rose, banana, Chartreuse liqueur, aniseed, peach, marasca cherry, mint and violet.'


Porto Antico, Genova

Last Friday I found myself at one of end of Porto Antico looking back at the city of Genova.   It really is rather beautiful.


Catching My Breath in Genova

On Friday, I was 12 hours out in the city ... and for 10 of those hours I was carrying my 6kg+-heavy bag of camera gear.  And still, it was sublime.  It was one of those dizzying days where it feels like I flew with the eagles ... perhaps.

I set out with Shannon, an American living here, and we wandered and talked.  She knows this city, 2 years living here after some time spent in New Zealand.  That's how she found me and my blog.  She searched New Zealand and Genova.

We said goodbye only when it was time for me to meet my traveling companion off the train.  It was a brisk walk through the city to Brignole train station.  Home for 10 minutes, refreshed and I was off to a confectionery laboratory that has been in the hands of the same family since 1780.

A tour that astounded me was followed by an interview with the loveliest gentleman.  Hours later, Anna, from Beautiful Liguria, and I walked back through the city and I had just a few minutes to change, to finally drop off that camera gear, before heading out to dinner. 

What a dinner!  If you find yourself in Genoa, you must try Ristorante Il Genovese because there is nothing about the experience that can cause regret.  And if you do, and if you love meat and pasta, then the Ravioli fatti in casa al 'tuccu'di carne is the one that I fell entirely in love with.

The sauce is 5 hours in preparation and you can taste the time and the care taken.  But everything, from the gnocchi di patate fatti in casa al pesto,  the cima genovese ricetta antica con patate al forno, the brandacujun di stocca fissoe, and the latte dolice fritto, even the canestrelli ... all exquisite.  And that was only what we actually ordered.

I know I read like I'm exaggerating but I was there with a Flemish Belgian, famous for being a people of few words perhaps.  He loved it too.  I think the secret lies in the attention the Panizza brothers pay to the details.  Quality products and a love of food.  It's an absolute must when you're here but remember to book.

And just as I thought the day might ending I received an email from an art gallery in NYC.  They would like to represent my photography in their gallery. 

So sleeping was a bit of an issue that night but I had to ... I was exhausted by the week I had just experienced.  The rings under my eyes were black and maybe a container ship could park inside of them. 

This is Genova for me.  I go high, I go low ... but oh how I live when I am here.


Meetings ...

One of the things I love about arriving in Genova, is catching up with the people I know.  Last Tuesday I had plans meet up with Outi, an ex-photography workshop client who lives here in the city. Like me, she fell for with this place but unlike me, she managed to move here.

We met where everyone meets, on the steps of Palazzo Ducale, and immediately headed inside for coffee and much-conversation. We had months to catch up on before deciding we would set off for the port area as Outi had international provisions to buy - spices from Thailand and Africa and,being a port city, there are two supermarkets jam-packed with foods from all over the  world.

Lunchtime rolled round and my idea was that lunch at Trattoria Ugo, where she hadn't yet eaten, might be a good idea.  Oh ... it was a very good idea.  They do things with anchovies that really need to be tasted rather than explained.

I worked through the afternoon, fighting a huge desire to nap, then met with Barbara for an aperitivo at the end of her working day.  She took me into one of the old cafes here, down in the ancient part of the city, and we caught up  on much over hot chocolate.

It was a talking/working kind of day.  A good day spent with good people.

The photograph below ... a glimpse of one of my favourite carruggi here.