Palazzo Ducale: the doge’s home & the Paganini’s prison

Palazzo Ducale once was an abode of the Doges of Genoa nowadays it is a symbol of Genoa and its cultural centre. Worth visiting especially for the numerous exhibitions that it hosts.


The oldest part of the palace was built in the XIII century during the domination period of the Republic of Genoa. In the XIV century was elected the first doge of Genoa and the palace became his official abode. In 1777 the palace was subjected to a fire and was almost completely destroyed. Then it was rebuilt in 1778 in the Neoclassical style. In the 1815 Genoa and Liguria became a part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and the palace lost its function. Then became a courthouse and archive. During World War II a part of the palace was destroyed. After the war, the whole building was restored and commissioned in 1992. From that date, the palace is opened for the tourists.

Address: Piazza Matteotti 9

Website of Palazzo Ducale and exhibitions here.

The palace is always open.

The exhibitions have their own schedules.

It is very easy to reach Palazzo Ducale. It is located next to Piazza de Ferrari (de Ferrari Square). And Piazza de Ferrari is placed at the end of via XX Settembre. It is located also very close to San Lorenzo Cathedral.  In any case, it is in the city centre 😉

You can enter it by the entrance located in Piazza de Ferrari or by another one (more historical) in Piazza Matteotti. The entrance to the palace is free of charge. However, the most beautiful rooms are usually occupied by the exhibitions. So the only way to see them is to buy a ticket for an exhibition. Inside the most beautiful rooms are Salone di Maggior Consiglio and Salone di Minor Consiglio. There were the rooms where the local government took its decisions.



  • the doges were elected only for a 2 year-long mandate, so they changed very often!
  • the 2 year-long mandate of the doges caused that the interiors of the palace were never furnished. That’s why every each doge had to bring with him all the types of furniture that he needed!
  • Palazzo Ducale had also a prison. It was located in the Torre Grimaldina (Grimaldina Tower). It became famous because here was imprisoned a famous violinist Niccolò Paganini. Nowadays it is possible to visit the tower and its prison. The guided tours are organized on Saturdays and the ticket costs 8,50€.

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