Nervi and the surroundings
History of Nervi
The first dwellings of Nervi appeared on the Via Aurelia along the coastline between the Porticciolo and the Roman bridge. This might be the reason for its name (Nervi) which means close to the sea. The village was a trading point connecting the sea and the inland. Among the most ancient structures there are the Romanesque bridge and the military castle, which used to monitor the trades.
The Gropallo tower, located mid way through the promenade, was erected in mid 16th century. It had the intent of sight Saracen ships approaching and signal them by setting straw on fire, this is why it is also called “the straw tower”. Nervi it is very well known in Genoa for its Historical Park consisting of four ancient villas’ parks: Villa Serra, Vialla Gropallo, Villa Grimaldi and Villa Luxoro currently turned into Museums. It is possible to appreciate a variety of vegetation from the most typical mediterranian to more exotic species imported by the noble landlords of the villas.
The most charming spot, especially during spring, is the rose garden “Roseto di Villa Grimaldi Fassio”.
Hotel Esperia is also a good choice as it is located near the notorious promenade Anita Garibaldi, a 2km long walk along the rocks away from the traffic where you will be able to enjoy the spectacular view of Mount Portofino, romantic red winter sunsets and the fascinating sea storms.
On the west end of the promenade you will find the small marina “Porticciolo” with different restaurants that offer local food like focaccia or fresh fish and where it is possible to be entertained with water sports or hop on a ferry to head off to Camogli and Portofino. Moving towards the east end instead, you will pass by the Gropallo tower and you will be able to access the Historical Park with multiple entrances and even reach the famous old train station of Sant’Ilario from the song “bocca di rosa”.
The Nervi Museums: the district of Modern Art
The Museums of Nervi are some of the most important museums in Genoa. The collections are hosted in the ancient villas thus art and nature merge together in harmony.
The modern Art Gallery is located in the 16th century Villa Saluzzo Serra and it shows a rich collection of paintings and sculptures from 1800 and 1900.
Villa Grimaldi-Fassio (18th century) is the location for a collection of paintings, sculptures and draws from different artists made by the Frugone brothers called “Raccolte Frugone”.
Third gem of the museums is the Museum Giannettino Luxoro originally a prestigious residence of the 20th century now hosts Magnasco canvases and other valuable collections.
Today the European section of “Wolfsoniana” collection is part of the Museums of Nervi. It is an original and varied collection comprising objects and works of art dating from 1880 to 1945. An excursion among the works of the collection becomes a fascinating documentary. The American section is located in Miami Florida instead.
But Hotel Esperia is the right choise, for thoses to enjoy exploring the old town in the center of Genoa or the sea villages along the coast “Riviera di Lavante” until the “Cinque Terre”.
Genoa is a charming city full of history. In fact, being an important trading harbour from the beginning, Genoa, has been influenced by many different cultures which can be found in its architecture through out the city as well as in art exhibitions.
A must-visit for tourists coming for the first time, is the old harbour “Porto Antico” which was redesigned by the architect Renzo Piano to celebrate 500 years from Christopher Columbus discovery of Americas.
Now it is possible to enjoy a unique perspective of the city thanks to the panoramic lift “Bigo”, to visit the biggest Aquarium in Europe, “La città dei bambini” an educational play area for children, Museum Luzzati and Museum of the Sea which all offer interesting experiences also for the little ones.
For those interested into getting to know the city, walking in the maze of streets of the old town and visiting Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Tursi in via Garibaldi, is something that cannot be missed.
“La Riviera di Levante” and the villages on the coast
All the villages along the east coast are easily accessible by train and during summertime some of them even by ferry boat but also by car if you like to travel with comfort at your own pace.
Camogli, the “capital” of the Gulf of Paradise, can be reached in just 15 minutes by train or half an hour by ferry boat. From here it is possible to visit the picturesque monastery of San Fruttuoso and the little village of Portofino, which can be accessed by the sea or hiking through the national Park of Portofino.
Cinque Terre, located in the very east of the region, are a must see to fully appreciate the typical Ligurian landscapes and both trains and ferry boat are a good option to visit them.