Thursday, November 16, 2006
Nervy (adj.) having or needing bravery or endurance
I‘d never heard of Nervi until a few days ago, but we just spent a couple of most enjoyable days there. It’s a coastal suburb east of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The drive there is knuckle-whitening – there’s hardly any part of the 200 kilometre autostrada that isn’t a viaduct or a tunnel, there are no straight bits and the inside lane - and sometimes the outside – is bumper-to-bumper with trucks. Our little rented Clio only came up to their hubcaps. But it’s worth every gear-changing, nerve-wracking mile.
One of the myths they teach you in elementary school is that there is no tide in the Mediterranean because it’s an inland sea. (Try telling that to the people of Venice.) You’re reminded of this at Nervi: its whole coastline is a cauldron of waves, glooping into caves and crashing against rocks that are weirdly shaped granite, striped in black, white and the colours in between. There being no beach, the town has made the rocks a feature and built a superb promenade above them, where you can walk, run, eat, drink, or just watch the waves.
It’s probably un-European to say this, and I may get a call from the mob, but I find indigenous Italian cuisine reliable if somewhat short on variety, but in Nervi we had probably the best Italian food outside Soho or Little Italy.
A couple of other nice features: some excellent art musaums and - I don’t know if they’re nationwide or not but it's the first time I've seen them in Italy - a plethora of Vietato Fumare signs. Not just lifts, but shops, bars and even whole hotels are smoke-free zones. And there’s not a trace of Christmas: no trees, no mock snows, no Ho-ho-hos.
We’re going back to Nervi.