Genoa, with the mountain on its shoulders and the ocean right in front, with a soul embedded between ships and buildings, fighting for space like if it had to catch the last train, town of winds and sudden cloud openings, of deep sad blues and food smells that escape from slightly open window shutters. You can’t describe a place like that, you have to walk through it and feel a bit of fear when the streets get too narrow and the buildings too high to perceive the sky.
Then, right under the cathedral that looks like a mint and liquorice candy you can walk down towards the port, on a minuscule lane and a few meters away, on your right, you’ll see the sign of Romeo Viganotti, a tiny chocolate store that will welcome you in its 1800 atmosphere.
As soon as you cross the eyes of Alessandro Boccardo, operating the old chocolate machinery that still belongs to a forgotten time, you’ll thank the reluctant character of the genovese who prefer to be stuck to their traditions and refuse to adapt to modernity.
In fact only their Calvinist rigidity could host such a stubborn chocolate master who refused to transform his laboratory in a seductive retail that winks to French pastries as is fashionable today.
Bi-colored cement tiles on the floor, dark wood counter consumed by time, old shelves laden with pralines, the inevitable shrine with a protective Madonna which vigils on the trade and especially the adorable blue packaging paper.
I love the color and texture of this paper lightly waxed that once was even used to cover books from the public library and which today nobody uses anymore and most people fancy remembering.
For this reason when I pass by Genoa I step in this narrow street and I buy a tray of chocolates or a bag of “ginevrine”, old pastel colored sugar candies or “gocce di rosolio” the one with a drop of light liqueur inside and I cross my fingers hoping to find the next time, everything the way it is, frozen in time, waiting for me.