The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) in Genoa (Genova) is one of the city’s Palazzi dei Rolli, magnificent residences built by the Genoese aristocracy during the Republic of Genoa’s height of wealth and power. Get a glimpse into the city’s opulent baroque period by touring the sumptuous interiors and art collection of this palace museum.
Though the palace seems designed for royalty, it was actually built in the early 17th century for the Balbi family, who sold it to the wealthy Durazzo family just a few decades later. Originally called Palazzo Balbi, it only became the Royal Palace in the 19th century when the Royal House of Savoy moved in. The Palazzo Reale is now a museum filled with a collection of fine antique furniture and decorated with frescoes, stuccowork, and paintings by important artists, such as Tintoretto and van Dyck.
The Museo di Palazzo Reale is an unforgettable stop on Genoa walking tours and one of the city's main attractions, along with the Nautical Museum (Galata Museo del Mare) and Genoa Aquarium. If touring independently, book admission in advance so you can skip the lines upon arrival.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Walking tours of Genoa involve a considerable amount of time on your feet, so choose comfortable shoes.
- The palazzo is accessible to wheelchairs via an elevator.
- Flash photography is not allowed inside the museum.
- A tour of the Royal Palace Museum is especially interesting for art and architecture aficionados.
How to Get There
Genoa is the capital of Liguria and one of the most important ports in Italy, so it’s easy to reach by train from any other major Italian city. The Royal Palace is just a 5-minute walk up Via Balbi from the train station.
When to Get There
The museum is open all day, so it’s a good stop during those tricky early afternoon hours when many churches and other attractions close for lunch. Keep in mind that the Royal Palace Museum is closed on Mondays, and Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Highlights of the Royal Palace Museum
Be sure to visit the ornate Piano Nobile, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Throne Room. Outside, you can also tour the pretty palace gardens.