Why are the facades of Ligurian houses richly decorated?

The house facades in Liguria are very beautiful and colourful. From ages, they are considered a visiting card of its inhabitants. It is still actual! If you live in a house that has rich and beautifully decorated facade you will be respectable … I proved it on my skin πŸ™‚ )


The tradition of decorating the house facades started in the XV century. The trend began in via Garibaldi, in Genoa, where were built new, Renaissance palaces. Thier facades were richly decorated with sculptures, cornices and marbles (in fact that palaces are inscribed on UNESCO Heritage World List). However, not many owners could afford to decorate their houses in that way. That’s why it was invented another way of decorating facades. Simply all sculptures, marbles and cornices were painted on the walls of the house. It cost much less and it was very beautiful as well. So it was a kind of democratic way to decorate houses. And it was also the first way to save money.


On many Ligurian facades, you can notice many fake windows. They are all painted on the wall. They are painted with shutters closed or opened or even with a person that looks out the window. It is said that those fake windows were painted because of the taxes. The tax rate depended on the number of windows that brought on the street. Obviously, the owners wanted to pay lower taxes so they painted some fake windows and in that way, they could pay less. When you are in Liguria you will see really many fake windows … πŸ˜‰ And it was the second way to save money πŸ˜‰


Painters of the facades of nobles families were famous sculptors, painters and architects. Obviously, not many owners could afford to pay artists for decorating their facades. So here arrives the third way to save money πŸ˜‰ “Normal” owners rent artisans that were specialized in facades paintings. Of course, they cost much less than famous, Renaissance artists. What is more, the artisans were so capable that their work looked like the real windows, cornices and marbles πŸ˜‰

The Ligurians were very pragmatic and frugal population. They were able to create the beautiful buildings by spending relatively little money. What is more, that colourful, decorated buildings became the symbols of whole Liguria and are better-known than their Renaissance archetype.


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2 Replies to “Why are the facades of Ligurian houses richly decorated?”

  1. Andrea Cornaglia says: Reply

    Hi! I’m currently on vacations at Santa Margherita Ligure and I was so curious about the painted facades! Thanks for the great post! You’re very lucky to live in this beautiful region

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment! Wish you a fantastic holiday in Liguria! Cheers Agata!

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