CHIARA, FREDERICO & PIETRO aka THE VIELLOS (Bello + Vieceli)
Genoa is one of Italy’s most intriguing, yet lesser-known, cities. It’s often overseen by tourists heading straight for the Cinque Terre. Genoa was one of the world’s greatest trading powers in medieval times and the birthplace to Christopher Columbus. It still is the major Italian seaport in the Mediterranean Sea together with Marseille and Barcelona. The wealth and prestige of the influential families who ruled the mercantile Republic during the height of its power can still be seen in the city gates, the decadent palazzos and the austere churches they constructed. It’s a city on a human scale and walkable for those with good legs to cope with neighborhoods that spread up not just steep hills but sheer cliffs.
Personally, I have never visited Genoa and was surprised by the rich history, the mixture of old and new and not to forget the excellent food of this city. Genoa still seems to be Italy’s best kept secret. But Tourism in Genoa is growing rapidly, since this charming city has a vast range of things to see and do. So I was lucky to meet Chiara who lives with her husband Frederico and their son Pietro in Genova since a couple of years. She shares her best addresses and secret places to go when you are in Genoa.
Chiara and Fede are originally from Turin, a city in the North of Italy and have lived most of their time separately in different cities like Zurich, Milan or London. Last but not least they found each other again on a ski slope in Bardonecchia, in the Italian Alps. When Chiara was pregnant with Pietro, they decided to find a place to live together and settled down in Genoa. It’s the perfect Headquarter and the ideal place for Frederico who works as an engineer in the shipping sector. Chiara mainly works at home as a Visual and Innovation Design Consultant for start ups with clients in Switzerland and Italy. As a side project, she launched recently her jewellery brand Chic Pig. She is also interested and passionate about the science of Happiness and started together with Fede, the First Happiness Course in Genova from a movement called Action for Happiness . This couple is really filled with energy, and I was curious to find out more about their daily life in the charming city of Genoa.
Chiara, can you describe your typical day?
Chiara: We don’t have a typical day because we travel a lot especially on weekends….but we usually try to wake up and have breakfast all together. Our super nanny Carla comes to take care of Pietrino while Fede and I are starting our working day. Fede has only 5 minutes to walk to his office and my office is at home, including a beautiful view on Genoa’s roofs.
Some mornings, Fede or I go to the gym very early, to be back when Pietro wakes up! During the day, our nanny Carla explores the city with Pietro. She is a real and proper Genovese woman and knows every corner in the city. We love her! We organize our workday, in order to have lunch and dinner together and in the evening sometimes we do planned activities with Pietro (Music, swimming, art etc) or just chill at home.
What are some awesome places to go (or things to do) in Genoa with kids?
Chiara: The seaside lifestyle is amazing! In Genoa you can enjoy nice, summery weather from April to October. We are always in a kind of seaside mood, spending the day at the beach until dawn or just strolling along Corso Italia. This makes Genova a really great place for kids!
- The Aquarium in Genoa is very well known and the largest in Europe. It is obviously a must visit with kids. But there are many more great places and activities for kids, some of them known only by locals. But I am happy to reveal them here:
- Citta’ dei bambini: An indoor playground for kids of all ages
- Spending an afternoon at Porto Antico: you can find many playgrounds and cool outdoor activities at the seafront
- Piscine di Albaro: has a very nice outdoor and indoor pool. A great place to spend a relaxing Summer day.
- La Locanda delle Favole: it’s a very small bookstore with books and toys for toddlers and kids. They have also really nice cakes!
Can you tell us what makes your city unique?
Chiara: The amazing weather, the original and unique look of the small historical shops in the narrow streets of “Vicoli”, in the center of Genova….where you can get lost in time.
The great variety of fresh and tasty food that you can buy at any local market. Genoa is simply a fantastic city situated at the beautiful coast of Liguria.
Describe a traditional meal that you prepare on special occasions.
Chiara: The Focaccia is a must! Genovesi are obsessed with a proper warm just-made focaccia. You can’t eat a Focaccia in the afternoon which was made in the morning. It would be seen as too old! The Genovasi eat focaccia with Cappuccino for breakfast.
The Pesto is another big tradition. There is even an International Pesto Competition which is held once a year in Genova!
Then Polpettone. It’s a mega meatball in a shape of a salami, made of potatoes pesto and beans.
Minestrone alla Genovese: a Minestrone with Pesto (Pesto is everywhere here!)
And any type of fish with olives, pines, olive oil and potatoes (this is the way you cook fish in Genova).
With each Portraits we ask the family to give us a typical recipe from their region or country. Below you can download Chiara’s favourite Pesto recipe:
Sunday is Pizza day | homemade by Pietro
Can you reveal your favorite restaurants in Genova?
Here is a list of our favorite ones. Some of them don’t even have a website!
- Il Marin | Edificio Millo Porto Antico Calata Cattaneo 15 | 16126 Genova || A restaurant with a fantastic view on the Porto Antico. The protagonist of the kitchen is undoubtedly the fish prepared in either a traditional way or with a creative touch of the chef Marco Visciola.
- Trattoria Da Fede | Via Eugenia Ravasco 8 | 16128, Genova || Situated near the Sant’Agostino Museum and the historic center, this Trattoria offers excellent homemade pasta and fresh fish dishes.
- Da Ugo | Via Dei Giustiniani 86r | 16123, Genova || Trattoria Ugo is a authentic Tratorria in Genoa’s old city.
- Vico Palla | Vico Palla 15 red | 16100 Genova || It’s a historical restaurant that has its origins since 1500 when sailors and poets passed through the streets of the ancient port of Genoa, stopping to eat the famous stockfish.
- Vittorio al Mare | Belvedere Edoardo Firpo, 1 | Boccadasse || This restaurant directly overlooks the unique scenery of the charming village of Boccadasse and serves typical local recipes based above all on seafood specialties.
- Michelaccio | Via Innocenzo Frugoni, 49 | Genova || The Michelaccio is a Gastronomic Bistrot led by Fabio Fauraz (director of the homonymous Cooking School). It proposes a cuisine of great taste and personality. The menu offers both traditional dishes and memories and suggestions of international and exotic cuisine. Always present vegetarian and vegan proposals. The Michelaccio also offers a selection of 10 Classics from the world Cockteleria and a range of absolute level spirits and liqueurs.
- Le mura di Malapaga | Via del Molo, 57r | 16128 Genova || Lovely friendly staff welcomes you to eat amazing meat (just steaks!) The beef is antibiotic and hormone free and super tender.
- Molo21 | Via del molo 79 | Genova 16121 || Great pizza and farinata (rgional speciality) and very special atmosphere: local, and funny staff. The walls are all decorated by drawings made on the paper table mats!
Do you have any other cool addresses you like to share with our readers?
- The Mercato Orientale: it’s a huge covered market with fresh fish, fruits, vegetables and handmade pasta. It’s a very colourful place and we love to go there and do our shopping
- Museo d’arte contemporanea Villa Croce . The museum has a nice collection of Italian and international art. The neoclassical villa is situated in a beautiful city park with a nice seaside view
- Bagni Santa Chiara. We enjoyed this place very much as a couple and before Pietro was born. And we come back now with him. So if you are brave enough to go down the cliffs with a carrier (no buggies!) you can enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Genova with an amazing sea view. We even did outdoor yoga there while Pietro was sleeping.
- We love the website www.welovemoms.net/ . It’s an amazing mapping of Genova with activities for families. I know the founder Francesca Posenato. She is one of the coolest person in Genova
- Don Paolo: you can get the best Granita ever with croissant yummiiii
- I discovered many small Chocolate factories inside the Vicoli, one of my favorite is La Cioccolateria Viganotti
You can easily check out Chiaras’s hotspots on the Google Map below and keep them saved for your next trip to Genova, Italy.