In the heart of the Italian Riviera, the medieval port town of Genoa is famous not only as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, but also for its regal heritage. Here are our picks for the city’s must-see palaces.
Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale)
Once a residence of the royal Savoy family and now an art gallery, the 17th-century Royal Palace is one of Genoa’s most impressive. Among its many highlights are the Hall of Mirrors (Galleria degli Specchi), the Valerio Castello Room (Sala di Valerio Castello), and the Throne Room (Sala del Trono), as well as the idyllic palace gardens.
Albertis Castle (Castello d'Albertis)
The 19th-century fortress of Albertis Castle looks down over the city from a hilltop in west Genoa. Once the home of sea captain Enrico Alberto d'Albertis, it now houses the Museum of World Cultures (Museo delle Culture del Mondo). With its crenellated ramparts and looming watchtower, the fortress makes for a striking photo subject.
Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale)
Dating back to 1339, the Ducal Palace sprawls between Piazza Matteotti and Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa’s historic center. Once an official residence of the doges of Genoa, the legendary building is now open to the public as a museum and hosts regular art exhibitions.
Rolli Palaces (Palazzi dei Rolli)
The most famous of Genoa’s many palaces are the magnificent Rolli Palaces in the city’s Strade Nuove quarter. The collection of noble homes, which date from the 16th to the 18th century, showcase a variety of baroque and Renaissance architectural styles and are preserved as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many have been transformed into art galleries and fine art museums, forming part of the Strada Nuova Museums (Musei di Strada Nuova).
Bianco Palace (Palazzo Bianco)
Standing proud over Via Garibaldi, Bianco Palace is among the most visited of the Rolli Palaces. Today it houses the Gallery of the White Palace (Galleria di Palazzo Bianco), an acclaimed art collection that includes works by Rubens and Van Dyck.
Rosso Palace (Palazzo Rosso)
A close neighbor of Bianco Palace, also on Via Garibaldi, the 17th-century Rosso Palace is the masterwork of architect Pietro Antonio Corradi. Inside, the palace boasts beautifully preserved frescos, period furnishings, and paintings by Reni, Guercino, Veronese, Dürer, and Strozzi.