Francesco spots a shark

Laura’s back with her child-centered articles – this time an itinerary for a winter weekend in Genova with activities and museums for kids, including what (and where) to eat!

Last week we took a long weekend in Genova. For children it’s got a famous acquarium, the “city of children” and the Museo Luzzati (cartoons). But it’s also a really fascinating city for adults with its old and modern corners, the melting-pot at the harbor and the noble palaces in the center. And good food based on fish, herbs, pasta, and vegetables. Here’s what we saw and ate!

We went there by train (Firenze-Pisa then Pisa-Genova – about 130,00€ with a Trenitalia family promotion) and reserved at the confortable Cairoli Hotel (via Cairoli, 14) whose very nice personnel suggested excellent places to eat and visit. A room (with a tiny bathroom) was 90,00€ a night, breakfast included.

Dessert at Douce

We arrived in the afternoon and walked to Piazza De Ferrari (a square with a European feel) and to see the San Lorenzo Dome (with a sad lion, according to Francesco). We enjoyed a break at Douce, in piazza Matteotti, with the maître patisser Michel Paquier identified as “Pasticciere emergente 2012” by the Gambero Rosso guide – see the photo for the excellent dessert. Later we had an aperitivo with fried blue fish and ‘farinata’ (made with chickpeas flour) at Friggitoria Carega in via Sottoripa 120 in front of the harbour.

We bought a specially priced combined ticket to visit the Acquario di Genova and Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi (Childrens’ City) in the Porto Antico area (it was half price till the end of January otherwise it costs 20,00€ for adults and 5,00€ for children of 3 years).

Francesco enjoys games at Childrens’ City

The Childrens’ City appears to be less busy in the morning than in the afternoon. There are areas for children of any age with labyrinths, educational spaces, water games, strange mirrors and musical instruments, etc. For older boys and girls there are many scientific and technological corners. Have a look at the program as there are interactive readings, special initiatives (space, stars, biodiversity, etc) for children of any ages!

For lunch we opted to check out the newly opened EatItaly, with a view of Genova harbor and a lovely selection of Italian enogastronomic specialties, followed by an ice cream at Grom.

In the afternoon we visited the Acquarium. An infinity of pools full of any sort of fish from Piranhas to Sharks, Dolphins, Penguins, etc… But what do all children like best? Nemo (clownfish) of course.

The acquarium offers an unforgettable event that we weren’t able to participate in, the “Notte con gli squali” (night with sharks) for 7 to 13 years old children who have a sleep over in front of the sharks’ pool.

Genova acquarium with stroller, photo flickr @angelagennaro

To relax you can visit “L’albero delle lettere” (via del Canneto il Lungo 38) a bookshop for children and adults any language speaking with a  rich program of interactive readings (3-5 years), creative ateliers, exhibitions and guided tours.

At night a rich starter with affettati and cheese + a glass of wine at Taggiou (vico Superiore del Ferro, 8 ) and then at Gaia restaurant (with high chair) 20 metres far from the hotel (vico dell’Argento), where we had traditional recipes with innovative ingredients.

The day after we walked cross the Magazzini del Cotone (an example of restored industrial architecture) arriving at the Porto Antico.

Then we went to the Luzzati Museum (Emanuele Luzzati is one of the most famous and poetic Italian illustrators – an artist!) with an exhibition of Mordillo (wonderful!), storyboards of a tales illustrated by Luzzati with videos ongoing and a great bookshop. There are also laboratories to book every Saturday at 15.00 inspired by one of the tales illustrated by Luzzati but they are only for children aged 5 and up (5€ each participants with two adults entering the Museum for free followed by a Tigullio milk break included in the entrance).

Francesco tired after the Luzzati museum

We then walked in a different part of Genova: to the old fashioned buildings and streets near the Embriaci square and tower, Teatro della Tosse and Museo di Sant’Agostino, arriving at piazza delle Erbe where we had our last farinata and cheese focaccia with pesto (yum) sitting at Bar Berto. We also stopped for coffee and to pick up some local products for presents (Amaretti di Volteggio di Cavo and chinotto marmalade) at Bar Pasticceria Marescotti (via di Fossatello 35/37).

Bye bye Genova! See you soon… but not too soon because you’re no good for my diet!

Catch up with Laura De Benedetto on the with and within network for women and moms, and read her other Florence for children posts on this blog!

Francesco and daddy fabio at the port

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