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Tis Returns to Italy! Day 33: The Museum of Life

Bar delle Vigne, Genoa Italy

Bar delle Vigne, Genoa Italy

Lisa of Tis Travels is on a three-month journey through Italy, exploring, eating, and living like an Italian. Follow along on “Tis Travels” on Facebook and Instagram!

Sometimes the best days happen when you just let them lead the way.  

Sunday, I grabbed a spot at Caffè degli Specchi, a lovely old historic spot, and enjoyed a salad and coffee as I put the finishing touches on my strategy for the day I was going to visit 2-3 museums and my route was all planned. The rain had been coming down hard all morning but had finally stopped. After lunch, I bought an overpriced umbrella from my local supermarket as a precaution and headed toward my first spot.

Steps down the street, the rain started coming down again. As I turned onto the piazza, I noticed people huddled under porticoes and doorways. I pressed on, sure my umbrella would be enough to protect me.

Then the bottom dropped out. I sought shelter, a short distance from the first museum, and waited until the rain slowed. Finally, I saw my window of opportunity and hurried to the museum entrance, taking care of the slippery stone street. Despite the museum’s website stating it was open, I found it locked up tight. I headed quickly to the next stop. The rain was relentless. I noticed a nondescript little bar and ducked in.

Settling into a seat by the door, I took off my wet sweater, hanging it to dry a bit. Beside me on the wall, were several notes, some framed, some not, from locals who frequented this place over the years. One describes the bar as a place of refuge, always offering a friendly place to meet friends and make new ones, with a barman who always has a smile on his face.

The bartender brought my drink with a generous tray of aperitivo snacks. The bar was very small, with only seven tables, most of them for two people. When I arrived, there was one older man who seemed like a regular and a couple of tourists who had sought shelter as I had.

Soon the place was full of regulars from the neighborhood. Our group consisted of a couple of women my age, a few older men who probably had some fascinating stories to tell, a couple with their 3-year old daughter and the friendly bartender.

I made friends with the couple and their daughter who were seated beside me. The child played with her sticker book and constantly begged for more “patatine!” (potato chips) from the bartender who happily filled her requests, as I chatted with her parents. They encouraged her to speak with their new friend from NYC and finally, she overcame her shyness, telling me her name, showing me her sticker book, and sharing some dance moves with me. 

We all spent a couple of lovely hours together on that rainy afternoon. I felt so grateful I had stumbled upon this little slice of Genoan life. Leaving, I thought I’d just visited the Museum of Life” which for me was better than all the museums in Genoa.

Ciao for now!

Poem on the Wall, Bar delle Vigne, Genoa Italy

Poem on the Wall, Bar delle Vigne, Genoa Italy


Bar Delle Vigne: September 19, 1979

A corner where all remains

As it began

Always welcoming

Where different cultures meet

Where you can make

New and many friends

The bartender always has a smile on his face

When I don’t come

There is emptiness around me.

I love it and

I will always love it.

Going there in the future

Every word written that we find

Tells a story of the past.

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