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But Giacomo, chattering on the phone to the owner of Il Genovese, where we’ve booked, drags me away from these culinary delights.

All forms of Genoese street food are partly why I’m in the Italian Riviera’s diamond in the rough. “Notice that all the great works of art in Genoa are inside buildings.

It is better here, and I vow to learn to make it at home.

The friggitorie, just as ancient, are tiny white-tiled galleys where cauldrons of oil bubble over charcoal.

(While at the market, I freeze in delight before wooden crates of silver fish, bags of unrecognizable beings in shells, eels of varying sizes, tiny rose-petal-pink fish, and boxes of spiky critters labeled only .) They are delicious fried, scooped every few minutes from bubbling oil by lynx-eyed experts and delivered unsmilingly to customers.

Genoa was probably founded in the third century b.c. Ruled for 400 years by Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards, and Carolingians—which may also have contributed to its somewhat Frankish manner—Genoa established itself as an independent republic in the 12th century.

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) of Genoa’s Centro Storico, many only a wingspan wide and forgivingly cool in the summer heat.

Together, we drink out of small glasses for the better part of an hour.

By the end, he has offered me a tour of the city the following day.

In the Sottoripa, which resembles a North African souk, we stop at Antica Friggitoria Carega.

Here, we are forced again to choose: among tiny fish, rings of little squid, ruby-red shrimp, , and other “poor” sea creatures whose names I don’t know, though I go searching for them on a pilgrimage to Genoa’s fish market early one morning.

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