If you travel with children at some point it is necessary to do something since their level of endurance of our endless fascination of ancient churches and lost ruins does not lead them towards mutiny.
In this sense the city of Genoa comes to the rescue because, after having visited all its more or less hidden beauties, we can dedicate half a day to the needs of the little ones, taking them to visit its famous aquarium.
Conceived in 1992 by Renzo Piano in the context of his larger project of reorganization of the area of the Old Port of the city on occasion of the Colombiadi(or the five hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Cristoforo Colombo), it is the largest Italian aquarium, first in Europe for animal species, second in Europe by surface, after the one in Valencia and the ninth in the world classification.
Every year it is visited by more than a million people and in fact, it is wise to buy the entry ticket in advance to avoid making long lines under the summer sun or being mowed down by the cold harbor wind in the middle of winter.
That said, the rest is all pleasure for the bewildered eyes of the little ones and for the savvier ones of the grown-ups. The wide and well-furnished themed pools follow one another along a long path dotted with vast marine environments where the most voluminous animals swim.
These large tanks reach impressive dimensions thanks to the fact that, being the aquarium on three floors, they take advantage of the double height to expand vertically giving the visitor the opportunity to observe the fish both from below and from above.
So we witness the threatening gait of the saw shark, along with the lysergic colors of tropical fish that seem to be on loan from a classic Disney cartoon, from the winking penguins to the hypnotic jellyfish and the still smaller alligators, stingrays, multicolored floating anemones and all the fish of our Mediterranean that we have seen more often on the fishmonger stalls than in their natural environment.
The children cling to the windows looking for an impossible contact with these animals that in turn observe them beyond the transparent barrier, perhaps intrigued by a perpetual motion of us animals who parading before them, silent and gesticulating, instead of enjoying this convincing Truman show of the ocean mysteries keep shooting with flashing devices and annoying lights.
This kind of procession turns a bit sad in front of the dolphins huge tank, a marine mammal with which we perceive more than an amazing affinity and that we regret to see forced into an environment so far from the great spaces to which it would be entitled. Maybe one day the aquariums will run the same fate as the zoos and it will seem absurd to keep animals in captivity just for the sake of our curiosity but for now, we take advantage of the rare opportunity of exploring these underwater marvels of nature.