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Palaces and Villas in Liguria

Palazzo Ducale

The Doge's Palace was first built in 13th century, but only in 1339 it became the seat of Genoa's first Doge, Simon Boccanegra. The building has then been enlarged and modified many times throughout the centuries (also due to a fire and bombardments during the 2nd World War), so that today the original medieval structure is hardly visible.
The Palace is now one of the most important museums in Genoa, with its many temporary exhibitions exploring classical, modern and contemporary art.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale in Italian), located in Balbi street near the university and the station of Genoa, is one of the most famous buildings that belong to UNESCO. It was built between 1618 and 1620 by Stefano and Francesco Balbi, who belonged to a rich family and gave the street their name.
The building is compoused by three important parts: the historical residence, the courtyard and the unique art gallery. In general, the whole structure shows a 16th-17th style of architecture and has kept intact the inner rooms, fresco paintings, stuccos and famous Genoese artists pictures. In addition, the palace preserved luxurious Genoese, French and Piedmontese furniture. The Palace had been the property of different families. In 1677 the Balbi family sold the building to Durazzo family who enlarged it.
Then, in 1705 the architect Carlo Fontana modified the gate, tha atrium, the stairwells and added the courtyard. In 1832 new heirs sold the palace to Savoia family who chose it as the official residence. Finally, due to its fantastic interiors and the value of the furnishings, became a government property in 1919.

Opening Times

  • Tuesday-Wednesday open from 9.00 a.m to 1.30p.m
  • Thursday-Sunday open from 9.00a.m to 7.00p.m
  • Closed on Monday
  • Tel. 0102710236
  • Free entry for juniors aged under 18 years old and Seniors aged over 65 years old.

Red Palace

The architect Pietro Antonio Corradi built the Red Palace between 1671 and 1677 for the brothers Brignole Sale of Genoa.
As a property of the family until 1874, the Palace was donated to the city of Genoa by the last heir of the Brignole Sale family (Duchess Maria of Galliera).
The first decorative work for the palace began in 1679 by the painters Domenico Piola and Gregorio De Ferrari and the second decorative phase began in 1691 with the frescoes by Giovanni Andrea Carlone, Carlo Antonio Tavella and Bartolomeo Guidobono.
The Duchess, in addition to the Red Palace, donated to the Municipality the magnificent collection of paintings that formed the historical collections of the Palace Museum.

White Palace

Located in the beautiful historical center of Genoa, the White Palace was built between 1530 and 1540 for Luca Grimaldi, member of one of the most important Genoese families.
In 1580, after the death of Luca, the property was given to De Franchi family who performed new decorative works to the Palace.
In 1711, the heirs of Federico De Franchi, ceded the building to Maria Durazzo Brignole, their main creditor.
Between 1714 and 1716, Maria Durazzo almost rebuilt the building that was called the "White Palace" for the colour of the external facade.
In 1889, upon the death of Maria Brignole Sale De Ferrari, the last descendant of the family, the palace was inherited from the Town Hall and aimed to public gallery.

Villa Ormond

The spectacular villa Ormond rises in the east of Sanremo. It was the residence of the rich swiss doctor Ormond.
Both the doctor and his french wife Marie Margherite Renet decided to rebuilt the villa, due to a major earthquake in 1887. Tourists should visit villa Ormond to admire its architecture and its position. The Ormond family charged the architect Emile Réverdin with designing the villa. He had an original idea: the building had to "reign" over the garden and so it was constructed on the top of hill.
The huge white villa stands out in the garden and it is in a perfect classical architectural style. Actually the building is surrounded by a spacious balcony with two loggias of the Renaissance and greek columns in front of the entrance. Inside the villa there are lots of coffer ceilings of different colors.
In 1930 the municipality of Sanremo bought the villa and the whole gardens around the building became a public park. A beautiful fountain was located in the lower part of the park, while the exhibitions stand was placed higher. So, nowadays the whole area around villa Ormond is a great natural park where it is possible to find original examples of tropical flora such as: palm trees,cedars and ficus. Then, there are also typical italian gardens or the Japanese ones(based on the Zen philosophy).
Villa Ormond is not only the seat of flowers shows, but today, part of the villa hosts the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.

Palazzo Podestà Lucciardi

Lucciardi palace is one of the most famous buildings in Sarzana. The palace was built in 1819, according to Carlo Barabino's project and it is characterized by a neoclassical style. It's a kind of quadrangular building that reminds the shape of a temple. Original details are doric columns. There's a rusticated ground floor and a huge main door.
A thing that really struck is the different height of the ceilings of each floor. For example, at the second floor windows are reduced by one third in height. The chessboard entrance has two different colours: black and white. A characteristic particular is the rose window which has a precious wrought iron chandelier.
The Ducale Palace or Palace of the Doges is an historical building, located in Matteotti square, where the Doges lived during the ancient Maritime Republic. Nowadays, the palace is not only the seat of Judicial offices, but also an interesting museum of the Ligurian City. The construction of the first parts of the palace started at the end of 1200 but the Torre Grimaldina or "Tower of the People", was completed only in 1539.
In the same period, the palace was enlarged with some courtyards, which are considered spectacular elements of architecture. Throughout the century,the Tower and the whole building were prisons, except the higher cage. In 1777 part of the Palace was destroyed by a terrible fire and both the façade and the inner rooms were rebuilt in Neoclassical style by the architect Simone Cantoni. During the Second World War bombings damaged the building which was restored between 1990 and 1992.

Opening Times

  • The palace is open every day.
  • During exhibitions, the Palace is open from Tuesday to Sunday 9.00a.m-7.00p.m. Closed on Monday.
  • Ticket office is open from 9.00am to 6.30pm.
  • Piazza Matteotti 16123, Sarzana.

Palace of Saint George

St.George palace is one of the most well-known buildings in Genoa and it is situated in the Caricamento square. It was constructed in 1260 under the order of the captain of People Guglielmo BoccanegraL'edificazio, thanks to a White Monk who proyected the extension of the old dock.
In 1300, the palace was the seat of the custom house and of some Magistratures that controlled all the trades. Only in the 15th century the palace became the home of the Bank of Saint George ( one of the first banks developed in Italy) that gives the name to the building.
The palace is a wonderful example of Medieval Civil architecture. What is more the ancient section of the structure is made of materials used from the demolition of the Venetian embassy in Costantinople, after Genoeses aid to Byzantine Emperor against the Latin Empire.
In addition, there are some important details in the palace. In the façade tourists can admire a Lazzaro Tavarrone's fresco painting which dates back 1610 and represents Saint George. Three Lion heads, such as those ones in Venice, jut out from marble blocks and are sculpted in a mixed style: gothic and archaic ones.
The palace is extremely famous because of Marco Polo, who was imprisoned here by the Republic of Genoa. During the period in detention, the venecian sailor recount/told the memories of his voyage to Rustichello from Pisa, which were published under the title of "Milione". From 1903, Saint George Palace is the home of both Genoese and national Port Authorities. Next to the palace, there's another important section: the lodge of the Whites, were exhibitions and cultural demonstrations take place.

Hanbury Botanical Garden in Ventimiglia

The Hanbury gardens, created by Thomas Hanbury - a Londoner who made his fortune in Shangai, excited by this stretch of coast and by its very particular climate - lie on the Mortola promontory, two steps away from Latte di Ventimiglia.
Their strategic position is enhanced by the great variety of views emphasized by a luxuriant vegetation: here the typical Mediterranean Maquis blends with every kind of exotic species, creating an outstanding collection counting more than 6,000 plants, grown in the open air.
The result is a little Eden, a wonder garden, a unique botanical park, where you will find every kind of plant, shrub, hedge or flower rigorously catalogued and indicated. The marquises Orengo from Ventimiglia's little palace (the main building of the property) has been respected and kept mostly unchanged in time, only being made more comfortable by adding new sections, the terraces, the loggia and the arcade at the entrance, and by raising the tower, giving it a breathtaking view.
The service buildings were placed in relation to their functions: under the nurseries stands the Bellini house, for the staff; on the East side of the river Rio Sorba we find the rustic house for scientific activities and a first museum with archeological finds collected by Sir Thomas; and on the plain, the gardners' house, the cowshed, the Natalini house, the stable, the hay and the keepers' house. The gardens have been selflessly and consciously given by the Hanburies to the Italian government and their preservation has been assigned to Genoa University's Botany Institute.

Opening Times

  • Every day 9 am - 6 pm
  • Tickets & infos: Tel. +39-0184-22.95.07
  • La Mortola, Corso Montecarlo, 43, 18039 Ventimiglia (IM) - Italia

Villa Serra

The wonderful Villa Serra-Pinell is located near the village of Comago, close to the Secca stream.
The architectural complex is surrounded by a wide English park built in 19th century when the Marquis Orso Serra decided to make a new radical version of the property.
With the collaboration of the Marquis Carlo Cusani - businessman and amateur architect - Orso Serra restored Villa Serra and built the neo-Gothic mansion and a medieval tower.
In the surrounding park, spread for over nine acres with streams and ponds populated by ducks and swans, also exotic and tall trees were planted.
In 1938, upon the death of the last descendant of the family, the complex became the property of a religious institute. During the Second World War and the flood in 1970, Villa Serra was serious damaged.
In 1982, it was purchased by the municipalities of Genoa, Sant'Olcese and Serra Riccò who formed the "Consortium Villa Serra”. After the first restoration work lasted for ten years, in 1992 the park was reopened to the public.
Today, the park hosts many exhibitions, events, concerts, sports competitions of archery and several events organized as a part of the multicultural festival "Villa Comago Breakout".

Villa Pallavicini

The Villa Durazzo Pallavicini's complex is located in Pegli, about 6 miles away from Genoa city centre, and is made by a family palace for vacation purposes, a spectacular park at the back and a botanical garden at the front.
The villa were erected in the late 19th century, a period characterized by great transformations caused by a fast technological and economic progress and where the countryside was ever more threatened by the fast-growing industrial suburbs. Public gardens seemed a useful tool to make the cities livable again.
The garden of the villa was a creation of the marquise Clelia Durazzo and was meant to be not a simply decorative garden, but a great collection of plants of every kind, coming from every part of the world.
Unfortunately, the conditions of the complex are not perfect everywhere, especially in its higher part, which has been neglected and is closed to the public.The botanical garden, instead, is still being restored, but is still visitable.

Opening Times

  • From last Sunday of October to February: Tuesday - Friday: 10 am - 5 pm
  • From last Sunday of March to May: 9 am - 7 pm
  • From June to September: 9 am - 8 pm
  • In March and October until last Saturday of the month: 10 am - 6 pm
  • On Monday the park opens at 2 pm
  • Via Carlo Levi, 2, 16010 Sant'olcese Genoa
  • Tel. +39 010.71557

Nervi Park's Villas

Villa Gropallo, built in the 18th century, hosts today the city library “V. Brocchi” and the military police station. Its park was restored in the early 19th century, replacing typical mediterranean plants as olives, citruses and grapevines with Lebanon citron trees, palms and other exotic species.
Villa Serra Saluzzo dates back to the 17th century and two centuries later became the base of the Modern Art Gallery. Here too, you can walk in a park filled with both mediterranean and exotic vegetation.
Villa Grimaldi Fassio is the most ancient one, probably going back to the 16th century. Next to the main villa is an unchurched chapel built in the 18th century. The villa hosts an important art collection, while in the park you can admire a large rosegarden, which hosted in the past up to 800 varieties of roses.

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