Rolli, the palaces by Rubens and UNESCO appreciated ;)

Save the date! This weekend 13-14 October 2018 in Genoa! This is probably the most interesting event organized in Genoa every year: the Rolli Days.

What were the Rolli?

In the past the Republic of Genoa never had a king. That’s why it also never had a royal palace. In the past, it was a serious problem. In that period many important persons as kings, dukes, ambassadors visited the city and it was essential to have a suitable place that could host all these important guests.

That’s why the Rolli were created. Rolli (rolls) were the lists of the most beautiful and the richest palaces of Genoa that could host the important guests that visited Genoa.



Rolli were introduced in 1576 after the expansion of the Republic of Genoa. In that time many new palaces were built and that’s why it was important to classify them and put them in order for the Rolli. There were about 150 noble homes that were inscribed on these lists. The included homes were divided into 3 categories according to size, beauty and importance. They were used according to these criteria to host different range of guests, from cardinals, princes to ambassadors. The palaces from the right category were chosen by drawing lots (bussolotti). Only 3 of them could accommodate popes, kings, emperors and tied cardinals. They were: Gio Batta Doria Palace (address: Salita Santa Caterina), Nicolò Grimaldi Palace (address: via Garibaldi 9) and Franco Lercari Palace (address: via Garibaldi 3).

UNESCO World Heritage List

In 2006, 42 of the Rolli Palaces were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The rest of 72 that still exist weren’t included because they weren’t preserved well enough. However, they are still visible and often it is possible to visit them, for example, Palazzo Imperiale (Piazza Campetto 8). You can enter into an Antichità shop that is located on the ground floor of the palace and admire a fantastic frescoes ceiling. You can go on its first floor, admire a marble staircase or stop in a restaurant that is located there, inside the rooms of a noble apartment (!)


Rolli Days

The majority of Rolli Palaces are closed to the public because they are seats of the offices, banks or private houses. However, after the  UNESCO’s recognition was decided to open the doors of the private Rolli Palaces to the public. That event is organized 2  times a year. This year 19/05-20/05 and  13/10-14/10. It is really worth being in the city these days. You can see all these palaces with the guides (most of them speak only in Italian but there is sometimes an English or a French-speaking guide). The advantages are that you can visit the palaces that are normally closed and that the entrances are free of charge. The disadvantage is that you have to wait in a long queue to enter each palace. But it is worth visiting anyway 😉


– the Rolli Palaces have some common characteristics. They all have 3-4 floors, with an open staircase, atrium, big garden and loggia. In fact, most of them were built in the Renaissance.

– in the XVI century, the Rolli Palaces were so modern and particular that impressed even the Dutch painter Pieter Paul Rubens. He decided to draw them all and present them in Antwerp as an example of modern, habitable architecture for the rich Dutch families (!).


When the Rolli Days are finished

Here below I list the Rolli Palaces that are museums during the whole year (not only during the Rolli Days):


Palazzo Reale

Address: via Balbi 10



Sunday 1.30pm-7.00pm

Entrance: 6€; 3€

More info here.


Palazzo Bianco

Address: via Garibaldi 11





Entrance: 9€; 7€ (the ticket include also the entrances to Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Tursi)

More info here.


Palazzo Rosso

Address: via Garibaldi 18

Tuesday 9.00am-6.00pm



Friday 9.00am-9.00pm

Sunday 9.30am-7.30pm

Entrance: 9€;7€ (the ticket include also the entrances to Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi)

More info here.


Palazzo Tursi

Address: via Garibaldi 9





Entrance: 9€;7€ (the ticket include also the entrances to Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso)

More info here.


Palazzo Podestà

Address: via Garibaldi 7

The palace is open every month on the first Saturday 10.00am-6.00pm


It is also possible to book a visit.

More info here.


Palazzo Gerolamo Grimaldi

Address: Salita San Francesco 4





Entrance: 10€

More info here.


Palazzo Spinola

Address: Piazza di Pellicceria 1




Entrance:6€; 3€

More info here.


I think that Rolli Days is one of the best tips in Genoa 😉 !

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