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.
Genoa Via Garibaldi (Via Giuseppe Garibaldi)
Via Garibaldi, Genoa, Italy
Via Garibaldi was called Strada Maggiore when it was first laid out in the mid-1500s, and a century later was dubbed Strada Nuova, the most important of a group of streets known as the Strade Nuove, or New Streets. These streets were built or reworked in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Republic of Genoa’s aristocracy to house their sumptuous palaces, the Palazzi dei Rolli. Renamed in 1882 for Italy's revolutionary leader Giuseppe Garibaldi, Via Garibaldi continues to be one of Genoa’s most elegant streets, and its historic palaces are now museums and galleries. Visit this historic thoroughfare and its gilded Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Doria Tursi as part of a guided walking or hop-on hop-off bus tour to get a glimpse into the life of Genoa’s wealthy noble class in their heyday.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Though Via Garibaldi is a feast for the eyes, the palaces along the street are known for their ornate interiors more than for their facades.
- Comfortable shoes are recommended if you’re taking a walking tour of Genoa.
- The street is accessible to wheelchair users though not all the palaces are. Confirm in advance.
- These breathtaking palaces make for beautiful photos from outside, though photographing the interiors is only allowed inside some of the palaces.
How to Get There
Via Garibaldi is located in the heart of Genoa’s historic center, an easy walk from the port and a short metro ride from the train station. Get off at the San Giorgio or De Ferrari stops.
When to Get There
If you are interested in visiting the Palazzi dei Rolli museums along Via Garibaldi, time your visit to fall between opening hours from Tuesday through Sunday. If you would like to simply stroll along this elegant thoroughfare and take in the architecture from outside, the palaces are beautifully lit at night.
Genoa’s Grand Palazzi dei Rolli The wealthy city of Genoa once had over 100 official Palazzi dei Rolli, though only 42 are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. These aristocratic palaces were part of a registry (the “rolli”) of residences belonging to the city’s most prominent families and used to host visiting royalty and dignitaries. Today, a few are still private property, but many are now public museums or government offices.
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- Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art (Museo d'Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone)
- Palazzi dei Rolli
- Palazzo Rosso
- Palazzo Bianco
- Spianata Castelletto
- Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)
- Piazza de Ferrari
- Galata Maritime Museum (Galata Museo del Mare)
- Genoa Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo)
- Via San Lorenzo
- Piazza Caricamento
- Aquarium of Genoa
- Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
- Basilica of Santa Maria di Castello (Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello)