Monday, October 11, 2010

Where is Nonno? - Cecca is in Genova, Liguria, Italy

By Guest Blogger - Nonno (Ben's grandfather)
Nonno currently lives in Italy and will be sharing information with all of us! 

Happy Columbus Day, Nonno!

Nonno is not in Genoa (Genova in Italian) but
Cecca (Francesca) is there for a friend that is
having a birthday party this weekend. Cecca was
born there and grew up there. We wanted to blog
about Genova because Columbus Day is special
and coming soon.

Genova is in the province of Liguria, Italy. Genova is best known for being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.  Columbus Day, a holiday in the United States, marks the date Columbus arrived in the Americas. Columbus Day is observed on the second Monday in October.

Oct. 12 is not a holiday in Italy. However, they are very proud of their explorer!

In Genova there is a park with plants that show his ships. Here
in Genova his ships are called Caravels. Does anyone know the names of the three ships?

Does anyone know about Christopher Columbus? Was he the first person from Europe to come to the New World?

In Genova, the house where Columbus was born is still there. It is  near the Porta Soprano, a gate in the walls that once surrounded Genova for protection from pirates and invaders. Some of the walls are gone, but there are still gates left.

Here are some of the gates in Genova. We even drive through one or two when we visit.

Genova is a city with two harbors, an ancient harbor from Roman times that is still used by ferries and cruise ships and a more modern harbor for shipping things all over the world. The Lanterna is the symbol of Genova and is a lighthouse in the harbor.

In the harbor, there are warehouses that were used to store cotton. They used the cotton to make pants for the fishermen, the pants were blue. Do you know what they were called and why?

Lanterna and Cotton Warehouses

There are hills around Genova and on the hills are 12 forts built to protect the city. Where Francesca was born,  and where her nieces and nephew live, is a neighborhood called Castelleto.  There are a lot of castles and palaces there.

 To get from the level of the Port and the Downtown, people that live in Castelletto, the hilly part of the city take Ascensore (Elevators) and Funicular (Cable Railways) back and forth to work and school. Just like the bus, you have to buy a ticket.

Another neighborhood is the Centro Storico (Historic Area) where the streets are very small and called vicoli.

I like the neighborhood called Boccadasse, an old fishing village now part of Genova. It has its name because the people thought the bay looked like the mouth of a donkey.

You can even see famous movie stars in Genova.

Genova has a nice aquarium in the old port. They have a touch pool where you can reach in and feel the rays, just like your aquarium in Long Beach.

Children walk to school with their parents. Some parents that live nearby can even look in
the classroom and see what is going on. When Ben’s friend Bubbi was in the third grade she
lived right near her school and right across the street from her Grandmother’s house. In the
picture the house with the green shutters is where Grandma lived.

Genova is famous for a pasta sauce called Pesto which you serve over their special pasta called Trofie. Ask Ben about pesto and if he likes it. Genova is also famous for its Foccacia, a kind
of bread baked with olive oil, sometimes with onions.

Do you like the colorful houses of Liguria best or the Trulli of Puglia best? I think I like the colorful houses best because they are on the seaside.

Let us know if you want to know more about Genova and Liguria and what it was like growing
up there and what Ben did when he visited.


  1. Cara Nono,

    Thankyou for taking me on another wonderful tour to Italy Genova.
    It has bought back some wonderful memories, as I went overseas with my dad many,many years ago.
    I do remember going and seeing the sites of Genova and sitting outside drinking a soft drink and talking to the locals who walked by.
    Up until now I really had forgotten about it but you have just refreshed my wonderful childhood memories with my dear dad on our overseas holiday together in Italy.

    Thankyou Nono.
    Yours sincerely AA.

  2. Dear Nonno,

    Italy is a busy place. I searched some facts. Here they are:

    *Italy has 60.3 millon people!
    *The capital is Rome.
    *In Italy there are 301,225 square miles.

    I ♥ pesto. Mmmmm.
    It must take a long time to get to the top of that mountain.

    I would like to live in the beautiful house next to the sea beacause then I could play in the water all day.

    Which house do you like best?
    Do think Italy is fun?

    Ryan ♠ ♥

  3. Dear Nonno,

    I love the pictures you took of Italy because I've always wanted to go to Italy and see what it is like. Now I know a lot more about Italy because of your pictures.

    A similarity is that my mom lived in Italy when she was only eighteen years old while at UCLA. She lived in Siena and Florence and says that the Italian people are the some of the most friendly in the world!

    My Nana (grandmother) makes the best homemade pesto! We eat it almost every week.

    I hope you had a good Columbus Day!



  4. Dear Nonno,
    Thank you for the pictures of Genova. The 3 ships Christopher Columbus sailed on were: Nina, Santa Maria and Pinta. I recognize the yellow car! It's just like Luigi in Cars. I have a question what is your favorite pasta?

  5. @ Nonno,

    Thank you, again, for taking the time to guest post on our blog! We love it!

    We had a long discussion in class today about Columbus and his discovery. It was hard for my students to comprehend that the explorers of that time didn't know about all the continent. These students live in a world of information and Google Earth, so it was hard to understand.

    Your pictures are fantastic! Do you take them all yourself or does Francesca take some too?

    Your blogging buddy,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  6. Dear Nonno,

    Happy Columbus Day! I love the post of Christopher Columbus. I also love the video. I have never ridden on a funicular before.

    I have some questions for you:

    1. Have you ridden on a funicular before?

    2. Have you seen the aquarium in Genova?

    3. Have you been to Genoa?


  7. Dear Nonno,

    I think that these pictures were beautiful! Thank you for the great facts. Maybe I can give you some new facts:

    *The largest city is Rome.
    *Giorgio Napolitano is the president.


  8. Dear Nonno,

    If I could go to Italy, I think I would have lots of fun. The houses in Genova are very different than the houses in Alberrobello. I have a question for you. How long have you traveled to Italy.


  9. Dear Nonno,

    Thank you for being our guest blogger. Wow, The pictures you sent told me a lot about Italy. I like pesto. I ♥ onions on my pesto.

    I have some questions for you:
    Do you like pesto?
    Were you born in Italy?


    Ryan and Grayson

  10. Dear Nonno,

    Dear Nonno,

    I love the picture of the ships. On our globe there are three ships the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria.

    How many people live in Italy?

    What day is it?


  11. Dear Nonno,

    I have a question for you.
    I do go to a lot of places in Italy?


  12. @ Ryan,

    Wow thank you for the wonderful facts about Italy. Would you like to be a kid in Italy?

    Your friend,

  13. Dear Nonno,
    That post was great! I liked the photo of Christopher Columbus' ships. My mother visited a few big cities in Italy and showed me photos of her trip. Her favorite city was the capital of Italy, Rome. When I grow up, I also want to travel to Italy. Have you been to Rome?


  14. Dear Iman,

    I could not chose which one to be an Italian kid or an Amarican kid. If I were an Italian kid, I would live in a colorful house down by the beach! As an Amrican kid, I have a big backyard to play in. I really don't to which one to pick.

    I would like to live in the exquisite house down by the beautiful beach beacause I could splash, jump, dive, snorkol, and make sand castles on the beach.

    I have some questions for you.
    Which house do you like best?
    Would you like to be an Amarican kid or Italian kid?

    From your friend,

    Ryan ♠ ♥

  15. Hi Mrs. Yollis!
    Good job on my quiz! The question about where I live was just extra credit!
    Thank you!
    I'm not really sure what I like about living on Cape Cod. I guess I like how it's not too rural or too urban: a happy medium. Although sometimes I feel like Cape Cod's boring, and I always wish that I lived somewhere else, I really don't mind it. I also love my high school! I go to a public charter school for high school (rated by Newsweek to be #1 in Massachusetts actually!) that I absolutely adore: it's challenging, fun (in my opinion), will open lots of doors for college and such, offers the International Baccalaureate program, and is one of the few IB schools in the world that pays for your exams (in many other IB schools you have to pay to take the exams in your junior and senior year!). I also like where Cape Cod's positioned in the US; it's only about a little over an hour long drive from Boston, which means it's not too far to the closest international airport! New York City is also only about four hours away by car; the ride actually goes by pretty fast. Montreal and Quebec are also relatively close; about 10-13 hours, as is Washington D.C, about 7-8 hours.
    What do you like about living in California?
    Recently in my US History class we had to write an essay about our opinion on Columbus Day and whether we should celebrate one (we have a day off from school actually). I thought that we shouldn't and backed up my opinion with lots of reasons. One reason is that Columbus wasn't the first to discover America; the Vikings reached Greenland about 5 centuries prior. Also in less than a fifty or so years Columbus wiped out the entire native population of Haiti, which was a pretty big number.

    p.s those pictures are beautiful!
    p.p.s I'm going to be going to Italy sometime in 2012 with my family!! I can't wait (even though it's two years away!) :)

  16. Dear Nonno,

    My father has to travel a lot to Italy for work. He says he has been to Liguria many times because he has to go to a city on the beach called La Spezia. When he goes to Liguria he stays in a beautiful town called Lerici.

    Thank y♥u,


  17. I am just fascinated by all the pictures of Italy.Now that you added the pictures in,I learned a little bit more about the country.I have always dreamed of going to the country of Italy because I heard it was beautiful there.

  18. @ Ben

    Hey Ben my favorite pasta is Trofie with Pesto Sauce. I like to bring it to California when I visit my grandson and his family.


  19. @ Ryan

    I live in the mountains in Italy and will do a blog about my village soon. I would like to vacation at the sea because we spend so much time in the mountains. It snowed here last night but the sun is out so it is melting a bit on the lower part of the mountains. I think Italy is fun and I like living here but sometimes parking in the cities and villages can be a bit crowded.

    A presto

    @ Mrs. Yollis

    Thanks for the compliment regards photographs. I take some and then of course I have help from others. Cecca and I were up in val Ferret on Friday and took some nice fall foliage pictures.


  20. @ Amitai

    I have ridden a funicular before, many times in Genova. I have been to Genova a lot because that is where Francesca was born, her sister and nephew and nieces live there. I have been to the Aquarium and we took Francesca's niece Bubbie there when she was younger.

    A presto

    @Ryan and Grayson

    I am writing this on Sunday Oct. 17 in the afternoon. The time difference between here and there is 9 hours. I do like pesto and I was born in New York City. There are a few more than 60 million people that live in Italy.

    Your Blogging Friend

    @ Mirian

    I have been to Rome and I love it. Francesca has an aunt that lives there so we visit for both pleasure and work.



    Lerici is very beautiful. Has your father visited the Cinque Terre villages?

    Best regards,

  21. Dear Mrs. Yollis
    I had a wonderful weekend.What was your weekend like? I hope you are feeling better. I liked the sub, but hope to see you on Monday.

    Your student,

  22. Hi my name is Ellie and I'm from South Australia.
    MY Nonna live's in Italy aswell.
    I think your blog is very interesting.
    From Ellie

  23. John Nicolas' fatherNovember 2, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Hello Nono,

    I've had the pleasure to visit Liguria many times. It is a beautiful part of Italy. I worked with the Italian Air Force in La Spezia for "cinque anni". I still remember the small coastal village near La Spezia called Lerici where I would live. I used to spend long weekends with my parents and family in Madrid, Spain and then fly back to Milano, take the train through Genova to La Spezia. I miss Italy.


    John (Nicolas' father)

  24. Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am in the class EDM310 taught by Dr. Strange. Our class blog is
    This was an incredible video and a very nice post. I did not realize that Genova was where Christopher Columbus was born. The small streets are really different from what I am used to. The pictures of the food looked delicious! The pictures of the landscape look beautiful and this is definitely a place I would like to visit. This is a good post, Great Job!

  25. Hello, my name is Ali and I am also a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading this post. I found it very interesting all the different things Genova is famous for. I did not know Christopher Columbus was from here either . This is the second post I have read with information about Columbus. I have learned many new things about Columbus just from reading different post. Genova looks like a great place to visit.

  26. Dear Nonno,
    I really enjoyed reading you blog and will be following your class blog using the RSS feed. Your post was extremely informative. I was not aware that Christopher Columbus was born in Genova! Keep up the good work.


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