Genoa’s Unesco World Heritage Sites
Genoa boasts one of the most glamorous Unesco World Heritage sites in an area that is filled with of amazing palazzo or grand palaces just beyond the harbor and the medieval section of the city. This entire stretch of palaces is called the Strade Nuove or ”New Streets” and includes the decadent Via Garibaldi along with a few other grand boulevards. The entire Strade Nuove including select streets of Genoa were certified as a Unesco World Heritage site in 2006.
The Strade Nuove is a series of noble homes or palazzo that were built between the 16th to 18th century during Genoa’s golden age of trade. Comprising of magnificent architectural treasures created in Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo styles, these palaces magnify the prestige and influence of Genoa during its peak. The noble families were registered into rolls or “rolli” designating their status of which certain homes were chosen to host prestigious guests to the city in lieu of an official royal palace. There are officially 42 completely restored palaces (there are still many that are in need of major renovations) that are affiliated with the Unesco certification and represent one of the first urban planning projects that meet specific European criteria.
The area of the Strade Nuove started in 1551 were set to be the ”well off section” of the city. Each palazzo were richly decorated on their refined facades and grand entrances. The elaborate decorations and details were done both to the interiors and exteriors of these homes along with amazing artwork, sculpture and personal collections imported from all around the world. Many of the villas included grandiose entryways, loggias, and gardens to make their homes even more spectacular.
Palazzo entryways at Via Garibaldi
Palazzo along Via Balbi
The grandest of the palazzo or palaces were located along Via Balbi, Via Garibaldi and Via Lomellini, although Via Garibaldi comprises of the main palazzo Unesco sites in the Strade Nuove. Many of the palazzi have been converted into banks, hotels, art galleries or museums and private estates converted into Museums. Many of these buildings are open to the public for viewings and even the banks where you can entry their grand entrances to view the magnificent facades and hidden gardens.
Tip – For a list of Palazzo that you can visit along Via Garibaldi, check out the visit Genoa website here. You can do a self tour of groupings of the palace or you can also do a group tour to see some of the highlights.
The Palazzo Reale
One of the grandest villas of the Strade Nuove, Palazzo Reale was completed in 1600 for the Balbi Family and eventually a royal residence of the royal family of Savoy. The palace now a museum comprises of 23 state rooms, halls and royal chambers. The most impressive of these rooms include the throne room, hall of mirrors and the ball room along with a grand entryway and rooftop garden.
Palazzo Reale throne and ball room
This grand palazzo owned by Antonio Doria – Spinola, the pre-eminent leader who expelled the French rulers from the medieval city state of Genoa had this renaissance style palace erected on Largo Eros Lanfranco. The palace has elaborate state rooms to include an important tapestry room, drawing rooms, and an elegant reception hall.
If you go – additional details
There are many sites that are worth visiting as part of Palazzi dei Rolli, you should allocate at least half day to full day with over 14 buildings open for the public to visit.
Prices are 12 Euro for a 24 hour museum visit and 13.50 Euro with local Genoa busses.
Group tours are available only on Saturday afternoon for 12 Euros
If your heading to Cinque Terre, check out these cool hotels here on where to stay in the towns.
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