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Exploring Genoa

  La Supurba - Genoa is full of hidden surprises Locals call the city La Supurba.After visiting, I'm inclined to agree.   It's surprising.  Brilliant.  Grungy.  Emerging.  Complex.  Proud. Genoa wears its incredible history and battle-scars and extravagant palaces and churches as showpieces of former wealth and brilliance like a jeweled but worn gown. As you walk the city you know you are in a special place that has been a power-player in history.   And as you walk, you see the hard times and the working class history that gave Genoa the reputation as a dirty and dangerous port.  And now the city wears both legacies - the palaces and towers and marble facades and masterpieces of art next to graffiti and industrial cranes and bustling neighborhoods and commerce.La Supurba exudes the confidence that comes from knowing it is special.  It seems to be patiently waiting for the rest of the world to figure it out again ... that Genoa a modern center of culture just as it was in the 1500's. And the world is looking at Genoa again thanks to vast infusions of money  to clean up and make improvements to the port and the city over the last decade, and international recognition of its unique historic treasures.  And best of all, the city's residents were happy to see me and very intent on making sure that I left knowing I was welcome and that their city was worth the visit.I have been interested in visiting Genoa for years.  The medieval history - home of Columbus and its powerful place in history as the Europeans started their global conquests - captured my imagination years ago.  So while my companions went to the Cinque Terre for the day Friday, I caught the early train to Genoa.  It's a 2.5 hour train ride north