Il Orto Botanico dell’UniversitĂ  di Genova

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Today we ventured out to find a garden—and although what we thought would be a 14 minute walk turned into a hilltop adventure, well, we’re in Italy, so it was all fine. 

Established in 1803, the collection is not as historic or as grand at the one in Padova, but it’s a bucolic place, not well cared after, and overall, still a lot of fun. Since this university is also the owner of a large botanical garden at an estate along the Italian Riviera I will cut them plenty of slack. I cannot imagine the expense of maintaining both this property as well as the other. It alone is 44 acres so kudos to them. 

Along our walk there was much to see.

  

“Love greetings”

  

Random Graptopetalum growing out of a wall.

  

Several levels of gardens. A common sight in many areas in Italy.

  

Fig tree growing out of a wall. Just random fruit.

  

Strelitzia (bird of paradise) grow well here.

  

Citrus aurantium ssp. Aurantium var. Myrtifolia (bitter orange).

  

  

Colletia spinosa.

  

Street trees—literally.

    
 

Tecomaria capensis (cape honeysuckle).

  

Dahlia imperialis (tree dahlia).

  

Unknown little yuccas.

 
   

Fremontodendron californium a long way from home.

  

Iris japonica.

  

Pinus nigra.

  

Pittosporum.

  

Not sure.

  

Wisteria.

  
  

White rose with Colletia cruciata.

  

Amorphophallus ‘Konjac’.

    

Arbutus andrachne (Greek strawberry tree).

    

Unknown Rhododendron.

  

Unknown Magnolia.

  
  

My favorite bulb: Leopoldia comosa aka Muscari comosum.

  

Magnolia tulipiflora.

  

Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya pine).

  

Weedy Oxalis.

  

Where they catalog and keep their plants. Many here are historically medicinal ones.

  

Tamarix gallica (French tamarix) with a bad haircut.

  

Vitis vinifera with a little green lizard. Can you see it?

  

Cercis siliquastrum (Judad tree).

 
  

Cycas revoluta (female).

  

Scilla peruviana.

 

Myrtus communis subsp. Tarentina.

  

Myrtus communis subsp. Tarentina.

  
  

Water plant collection.

  
   

And then we wandered back downhill to our apartment, encountering this lovely grotto in the courtyard of a palazzo along our way. 

Genova: You’re My Kind of Town

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Detail from a palazzo ceiling fresco.


We arrived in Genoa on Saturday and have spent a few days walking around and spending time with John’s family. He was born here 50 years ago and this trip is an extended celebration of that event. I am more than happy to celebrate with him. This is a once in a lifetime experience for me.  

Seen here in a photo, that’s my husband with the little chubby knees and his parents are on either side of the woman in blue.

 
Genova isn’t known as a garden city, it’s a port town, and above all, it’s most famous for being the home of both pesto and focaccia—as well as some guy named Christopher Columbus. In the short time that we’ve been here, I’ve had plenty of fantastic food, and I can say with certainty that I very much enjoy the Ligurian region and its people. There is an underground subversiveness to this town and I admire that deeply. But my husband is not Ligurian, his late father was Croatian, and his mother is Venetian from the Veneto.  

The walls of the historic area of town are famous for their subversive graffiti. This one doesn’t mince words. “A single cry. An alarm. Milan in flames.” It is safe to say that the two towns are quite different.

 

Here are just a few images I took from walking around these past few days. I don’t want to sit on these photos for too long because they’ll overwhelm me and then I’ll never get around to posting them.

Phoenix dactylifera down by the water.

  
  

Part of a botanical display in a museum in a beautiful atrium.

  

Some churches place mirrors on the floor so that you don’t have to hurt your neck while admiring their ceilings.

  

The historic district is known for its many narrow alleys.

  

To say this place is a bit controversial is an understatement.

  

Years ago guilds in the city built these niches for saints and at night they lit the alleyways. Nowadays, you might find a prank such as this one where the saint has been replaced by a cardboard witch and the A for anarchy.

  

You never know what you’re going to find at a flea market.

  

Homemade gnocci and pesto from our family meal.

  
    

Medieval gate marking the edge of the neighborhood.

    
    

My Plant Lust bag and I returning from grocery shopping.

    

I added this to show that there is a heavy French influence here. It can be seen and heard in the local dialect as well.

   And before I begin my next post on the Orto Botanico di Genova, a few more plants…  
 

At the market.