I’ve been to many cities around the world, Chicago, Charleston, New York, Paris, London. I’ve found that every city has surprises in store: London felt disorderly, the buildings haphazardly placed, and Paris was indeed beautiful, so long as you refrained from looking at the roads and sidewalks covered in trash. Genoa has probably surprised me the most. I’m not sure exactly what I expected to find here, but whatever the case, Genoa seems an enigma in my mind compared to other Italian cities. I’ve visited Rome, Florence, and San Gimignano, and perhaps that is exactly my problem: those cities are full of tourists. I’m sure I’ll be able to make a better assessment soon with our first extended field study trip coming up next week, but there are a few things about this city which stand out already. This city has the strangest relationship with its waterfront I have ever seen. Between Genoa and its shore is an elevated highway, literally dividing the city from its more industrial port. Linking the city and port is an essential part of our studio project.
One of the things I noticed after a few days was how loud the city was. Louder than most. Most of the noise seems to be from mopeds which are about sixty percent of the traffic here. This city has a somewhat claustrophobic feel to it, the buildings in the historic district more so than the rest. It’s not just the width of the streets, but also the height of the buildings, most are around seven stories tall. For our first field studies trip, instead of sketching the buildings we were looking at (like I probably should have), I sketched out one of these alleys, the one right in front of the Church of San Matteo. Hopefully I’ll get better as the semester progresses…