“I Rolli”

UNESCO World Heritage

In the extraordinary years between Renaissance and Baroque, the Genoese nobles make design and build a series of palaces rich in Strada Nuova, today Via Garibaldi, created by nothing as the theatre of their magnificence; And they renew the dozens of family residences that already existed in the historical center of the City.
Genoa is enriched with magnificent facades with decorations in stucco, marble or painted, grandiose lobbies, beautiful gardens with fountains and nymphaea; and inside, large frescoed halls, sumptuous furnishings, precious collections, rich Quadrerias. These luxurious dwellings do not escape the eye of a refined artist like the great Flemish painter Pieter Paul Rubens who, at the beginning of the ‘ 600 publishes in a book the collection of the drawings of the palaces, which proposes as a dwelling model for the nobility of all Europe.
The number and splendor of the palaces gives rise to a particular system of public hospitality, fixed in 1576 by a decree of the senate: an official list of prestigious palaces is established, and their owners are obliged to host, in turn, visits of State. Depending on the rank of the visiting guest, a palace was chosen to host it: the higher the degree of nobility of the guest, the more sumptuous the palace was and the richer the family that had the honour and the burden to welcome him.

The “list of public housing or rolli” and its updates are kept in precious volumes at the State Archives of Genoa.
The quality of the architecture and decorations of the palaces of genoa, the curious system of public hospitality and the attention of Rubens are the elements for which in 2006 “the new roads and the system of the palaces of the rolli” are inserted into the heritage Of the humanity of UNESCO.
The UNESCO site comprises 42 palaces of the rolli, among the more than 100 existing ones, that from Strada Nuova arrive to much of the historical center through via Lomellini, Piazza Fossatello and via San Luca, to Piazza Banchi and to the Sea.
The palaces of the rolli, in some cases, still belong to private individuals, while many have become banks or offices; Some have become museums and are therefore always visitable: the palaces of the Strada Nuova museums, the National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria, the Museum of Palazzo Reale.

Every year Genoa celebrates its palaces of the rolli, with the event Rolli Days: weekend during which the palaces open the doors and show to the public their treasures.