Art Journaling my solo trip through Northern Italy

January 26, 2020

Art Journaling my solo trip through Northern Italy

It was my first opportunity to visit Northern Italy.  I was captivated (charmed really) by the lifestyle, customs and beautiful backdrop of every stop I made..., of course, I knew that I had finally found my "reason" to start an art journal.  I have always admired those who journal.  Whether it be a written journal or painting journal -- or both.  To me this seems like a discipline.  Ultimately, though, how gratifying to be inspired so deeply by something that one feels compelled to create and keep up with a journal. I've always hoped that maybe one day I would be inspired to create an art journal.  It wasn't until a blissful two-and-a-half week trip to Italy recently that I was convinced to finally do so. 

My goal with the Art Journaling:  Quick, 20-minute sketch/watercolor journal entries.

First stop - Genoa, Italy.  I launched my great SOLO Italian adventure in lovely Genoa on December 3, 2019. The plan was to acclimate in Genoa. A few days later, I would then make my way North, covering as much territory as I possibly could.  My challenges: 1) I was traveling solo and needed to find safe and comfy accommodation within walking distance to the train station 2) I needed to be able also have accommodation within walking distance of landmarks, plus lovely shopping, restaurants etc.  3) the accommodation needed to be convenient enough that I could come back to the room in order to Grap a power nap or to freshen up before dinner.  While in Genoa I spent a few days with a long-time childhood friend, who presently lives and works in Genoa.  My friend was invaluable to me, offering words of advice ranging from Italian customs, the present Euro exchange rate, how to get around using the fantastically convenient train system. 

I was impressed by the number of quaint shops for individual or specialty items - The type of items that we purchase in one stop here in the States...

Specialty food markets in Italy

Meat market in Italy

While in Genoa I walked the Corso Italia stroll (boardwalk) along the Italian Riviera.  I stopped in to visit local shops, fresh markets and restaurants.  I was impressed by the quaint and focused markets for individual or specialty items. The type of items that we purchase in one stop here in the States.  For example, on one block I strolled past a fresh produce market, flower market, wine shop, camera shop, pastry shop, soap shop, kitchen-focused shop, lamp shop, fish market, butcher shop... and so on.  They were all very quaint, in their own way.  For example, I was mesmerized by a butcher shop display of vividly large and pink chunks of meat dangling from mounts in the ceiling.  There was even an entire cured hog in the display window facing the cobbled street!  It is very common to see nice espresso/cappuccino machines in many of the businesses. Strolling the boardwalk further, masses of cute scooters rushed by me every time a traffic signal turned green.  Scooters are a very popular way to get around in Italy, a parking is a huge challenge.  On the beach-facing side, there were small but quaint beach carnivals (complete with ferris wheels and delicious smelling confections.)  There were beach clubs, which for a fee you could access their beachfront pools, sun decks and social areas. 


Highlight of my Genoa visit, the fried anchovies in the old fishing village of Boccadasse...

Fried anchovies in Boccadasse fishing village - Genoa, Italy


Delicious anchovy basket in Boccadasse fishing village - Genoa, Italy

Delightful Italian seafood, pasta and pizza restaurants are very commonplace along the boardwalk  of Corso Italia stroll in Genoa.  It was in one of those little seaside restaurants in the small fishing village of Boccadasse that my friend insisted that I MUST try the fried anchovies.  What?!  Absolutely NOT!  But of course I was wrong... If I could get my hands on a basket of crispy fried anchovies here in Houston, Texas, it would be a weekly THING for me.  SO DELISH!  

Nativity scene set inside a fishing boat in the mariner village in Boccadasse Italy
A word about Boccadasse... Picturesque!  it is a very old and quaint mariners' neighborhood of the Italian city of Genoa.  Though it is a very small fishing village with a very small beach, it is breathtaking, and not to be missed.  Boccadasse  lies at the eastern side of the Corso Italia stroll, the main sea front stroll in the city of Genoa. It is in close proximity, at the feet literally, of Via Aurora, a charming and narrow Ligurian street. Though it is a very small village with a very small beach, the place is beautiful and not to be missed.  The evening that we visited Boccadasse, the cool wind was brisk.  The waves were crashing upon the beach, creating a very dramatic and apropos welcome into the little restaurant.  As we walked up the pathway to the little restaurant, I noticed that a lovely nativity scene had been set up in an old blue fishing boat.  It was so very charming... it made me tear up!

Please check back in a few days. I will be adding art journal entries of this amazing adventure!







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