Marilyn Geary

Journeys Illuminating the Old Ways

Marilyn Geary

2014 April Day26 – Zoagli to Genova


On our last day in Zoagli, I decided to visit the “other” tessitura, silk weaving workshop. I could not remember which place Dott. Canevaro had said still produced authentic hand-woven silk, so I took the trouble to walk up the via Aurelia in the rain to visit the Tessitura Artigiana Gaggioli.

Right away I could tell I had found the real thing. As Signora Gaggiolli led me upstairs to the showroom, I saw collections of sea shells, vintage family photographs, framed awards for silk production. No Chinese silk here. Sig.ra Gaggioli showed me some of the hand-made velvet produced by her family’s workshop.


With the insignia woven in…

I purchased a little silk velvet purse to replace the one the gypsies stole.


Then Lorenza Gaggioli took me down into the workshop area and showed me the looms for both velvet…


And damask…


She told me that her company had the only looms left that can produce smooth silk velvet – velluto liscio. Isn’t that what Cordani told me yesterday? I asked about the Cordanis, and Sig.ra Gaggioli simply said they have gone commercial.

She said many more looms used to exist in the area, but many were destroyed by bombing during World War II. I hope that Sig.ra Gaggioli’s passion, along with a son and a daughter who work with her, can keep her artisan workshop going.


Back at the Canevaro Castle I took a few last photographs.

Dott. Canevaro, previously a philosophy professor, suggested we return for a longer, more relaxing stay. Zoagli truly is off the tourist track.



On to Genova by train. After settling into our Airbnb flat, centrally located in Piazza de Ferrari, we did a little roaming through Genova’s narrow historic streets.

The place appealed to me immediately, with its monumental buildings,


and sweet little piazzas.

We came across a votive of the Madonna and Child, installed by the Butcher’s Cuild in 1724.

Further on the via Macelli we came across shop after shop selling meats, poultry, and fish.


We needed some lunch, so we stopped at a very small shop called La Bottega del gusto. Cheryl had this octopus dish called Polpetti in Umido alla Genovese. I had a torta called Polpettone Genovese, a mixture of eggs, beans, Parmesan cheese and mushrooms.


Lorenzo prepares the food with his partner Michele.

Down at the waterfront, we found a tourist information booth and loaded up on maps and brochures to plan our brief visit. The area reminded us a lot of SF’s Embarcadero area – lots of tourists, lots of diversions.


This interpretation of a silk worm by a street artist under the roadway reminded me of a story my Aunt Marie had told us. She said either her mother or her grandmother used to keep silk worm larvae warm on her bosom in order to keep them warm. I found this story fascinating, so I asked Iolanda about it.

She said when she was a girl, almost 90 years ago, the children were given silk worms at school. They would grow them, then when they formed cocoons, they would spin off the silk and sell it. The word for silkworm in Italian is baco di seta. Iolanda does not know why someone might try to keep the worms warm. It may remain a mystery.

This worm woman is all wound up.




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