A Vertical City
When walking from the sea and the coast to the centre, everyone says that Genoa is a city that slopes uphill.
Tortuous creuze, or lanes, and ancient mule tracks wind across the front of the hill, before reaching the ridges and the Oltregiogo region, the heart of this mountainous area.
The hillside districts built in the 19th century now hide these paths, and the Genoese that still use them to get to the palazzi and homes wedged into the hillside seem to disappear between the tall walls that run either side.
There are steps and ascents that cannot be avoided, because you can't always get in with a car or motorbike. Tiny hidden gardens, private spaces that you can only glimpse when you enter the narrow paths that lead to the top.
Lifts and funicular railways, ancient machines and modern technology, help this city to survive on so many different levels.
Then there are the viewpoints. You can never get to know Genoa well enough. Terraces, vistas, attic rooms, miradors, tiles, views, towers and bell towers. Bridges, passages, tunnels and hanging gardens. Faces pointing upwards, in search of light. Then finally sun and wind, air, the Mistral and Tramontane winds.
Are we sure that the city slopes uphill? What if it were downhill?
"I'm going down to the centre - to Genoa".
Children run quickly down the creuze and wait for you at the bottom, as you walk with weak legs and bent knees, until finally it is flat, horizontal... but no, then there are the alleys to descend...
Looking at Genoa from the sea you see a semicircle which seems all but closed, but actually it stretches out, becoming more and more packed in at its edges.