Fourteen Months Abroad – The Journey to Genoa, Italy

April 13.—Yesterday morning at ten o’clock we said goodbye to the pleasant acquaintances in Pension Chiusarelli and to that ancient city on three hills after a most delightful sojourn there. The threatening weather interfered very little with our pleasure during the day–we saw many things that interested us. Crowning the top of a hill was a small walled village, towers and all, a church spire rising above the wall, and after awhile we passed another walled village, where a narrow, up-hill street lined with cypress trees led to a castle or some large buildings. In the fields many artichokes were growing but not like ours in America. It is a favorite vegetable on tables in Italy. The plants have a fern-like appearance.

We changed cars at Empoli and again at Pisa, where from the train we had one more view of the leaning tower, the baptistery and the cathedral. At two different stations after leaving Empoli there were crowds of grimy, ill-dressed and ill-behaved people who were clamoring for seats. As there was not sufficient room on the train for third class passengers they pushed their way into second and first class compartments. Worse than Naples, we thought. Fine looking oxen, grey and white, attracted my attention. We passed lilacs in bloom and calendulas and fleurs de lis. We saw bunches of red flowers clinging to the rocks and wondered about them, and great masses of wisteria covering an arbor with its purple blossoms and unknown bushes with yellow blossoms. There were fields of pink and white daisies and orchards of olive trees. Mountain-like hills were dotted with houses. At Spezia we saw the harbor and cemetery.

From this place to Genoa there was a succession of picturesque views of the rocky, crooked coast of the Mediterranean. The views were interrupted by tunnels, provoking, but restful to the eyes. The sea was a lovely green, a strong contrast to its deep blue at the island of Capri and the Blue Grotto. The sea, rocks and rocky bluffs were on one side ; on the other were mountains, valleys and terraced hills ! How we did take it all in—but how tired we were when we reached Genoa! There were crowds of people and much confusion at the station, but we reached Hotel Smith in safety. From our window we have a magnificent view. L. has taken a picture from the window. He calls it “a perfectly bewitching view,” and the view from our window in Siena was a “gem of a view.” Now we are going out to walk and ride and see the city.

Later.—An electric tram carried us to the Campo Santo (cemetery) which is a mile and a half from the city. There we saw a marvelous display of sculpture and statuary. Beautiful marble statues in a great variety of designs—no two alike and many of the faces very life-like and expressive—fill long colonnades surrounding two squares. In the squares are many crosses, a few handsome monuments, weeping evergreens, roses, the cultivated oxeye daisy (marguerite) and other flowers.

Afterwards we took other rides, one by electric tram and one by omnibus to the funicular railway which carried us up and up to a very high place (the Rhigi) which overlooks the city. Here we had a splendid view of the city, sea and mountains.

From our window we can look across the water and see masses of snow on the mountains, yet here we are warm and comfortable without fire.

Genoa resembles Naples, but has higher mountains and more water. Its narrow streets and stores remind us of Venice. So also does the busy quay in front of our hotel.

April 14.—Again we are enjoying this fine view from our window, the air being clear. We see the crowded, busy street, the harbor and shipping, including great steamers, sloops, sail boats and small boats; the rocky cliff, so high and steep; rosy mountains in the distance behind snowy mountain tops; the light house and the open sea, and (on the right) the city’s blocks of buildings with the billowy hills above and beyond.

Later.—After breakfast we walked to the dock and saw the Steamer Kaiser Wilhelm II sail away for America. Two ladies who have been kind to us here were on board. It was a warm, tiresome walk. We rode back and then walked to the jeweler’s, where we bought two pins of beautiful filigree work, a specialty in Genoa. They are manufactured nowhere else, we are told. We saw women washing in the public square around a pool enclosed by a large circle of stone and covered by a canopy. Some of the women smiled upon me. Here, as well as in Siena, they appear to provide public washing places. We walked on very narrow streets.

Evening.—This afternoon a disagreeable ride of seven miles in a crowded horse car took us to Pegli. We passed through several unattractive towns. As we approached Pegli we passed fine villas with beautiful grounds where there were roses, wisterias, palm trees and other trees and shrubs, roses of different colors on a wall, and a remarkable display of salmon roses. Some of the billowy hills with large buildings on their summits remind me of pictures of Gibraltar—especially one with a fort on it. A high stone wall, very high up, is, we are told, the city wall. It seemed strange to look up to it as we rode along in the horse tram. I am told that it surrounds the city, but that no gates are closed at night. We are disappointed in the environs of Genoa. On our return as we approached the city we much enjoyed the view. There is an immense amount of shipping here—just a forest of masts in places. We realize that we are in a foreign city, as we did in Naples; like that city it is picturesquely situated, is fine to look at, but is not a place to stay in long. We meet a noisy crowd of people near the hotel when we walk out. The narrow uphill streets in the poorer localities are filled with drying clothes of all colors and descriptions. The people dry them in the windows and stretch lines across from one window to another on every story and across the street to opposite buildings. Some of these buildings are five or six stories high. The narrow streets filled with clothes are quite amazing.

Near the railway station in a pretty little park stands the marble statue of Christopher Columbus. Resting on an anchor at the foot of the monument is the kneeling figure of America. I have the picture on a post card. The weather has been lovely during our stay here.