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Discover the remains of Genoese noble palaces from the 1200s

Genoa, a fascinating and mysterious city where every corner hides a historical treasure. Among the most fascinating attractions are the remains of noble palaces from the 1200s, still visible in the city's historic center.

If you are planning a visit to Genoa and want to discover these incredible hidden treasures, here are some tips on how to spot them.The characteristics of Genoa's medieval palaces

Il centro storico di Genova
Discover the remains of Genoese noble palaces from the 1200s

The characteristics of Genoa's medieval palaces

During the medieval period in Genoa, noble palaces were characterized by the presence of private porticoes open to the street. However, starting in the 1400s, almost all of these porticos were closed to allow for the construction of new dwellings, thus creating larger and more comfortable spaces.

In this process of renovation, atriums were added to the noble residences, which were often decorated with fine artwork and furniture. In order to decorate the portals that replaced the porches, elaborate and ornately patterned overlays were inserted, often made of marble or stone.

These decorated portals became a distinctive feature of Genoese architecture and can still be seen today in many of the aristocratic palaces that have survived the centuries. The closing of the porticos and the addition of atriums and superstructures were thus a sign of evolution in Genoese architecture, in which the beauty and prestige of the aristocratic residences were a symbol of the city's power and wealth.

Despite this modernization of the palaces in the historic center, some elements of the thirteenth-century buildings were retained, and are still visible today.

How to recognize the traces of the ancient buildings

Many visitors to Genoa may not know that the city's historic center is home to more than 200 structures dating from the centuries between the 12th and 16th centuries. These include numerous thirteenth-century noble palaces, some of which are still visible today with traces of their architectural origins.

Armed with a map and a bit of curiosity, it is possible to wander the city's alleys in search of these vestiges of the past. The traces of arches, columns, and capitals poking out of plaster or blending with other architectural elements of the buildings represent only a small part of Genoa's architectural heritage.

How to recognize them?

Sharpen your eyesight and look for those columns, or parts of columns, poking out of the plasterwork, as if pushing to re-emerge from the building. Observe the facades in search of the arches that once formed the loggias, which in time were filled in and still house stores and restaurants.

How to reach Genoa’s famous alleys

Reaching the alleys of Genoa from Hotel Astoria is very easy.

For those who like to walk, they can walk uphill along Via XX Settembre, the shopping street, until you reach Piazza de Ferrari, in just 15 minutes. From here you can walk around Palazzo Ducale and enter the narrow streets that characterize the center of Genoa.

Alternatively, you can use public transportation. You can choose between the bus departing from the stop located in front of the train station, or the subway, getting off at the De Ferrari stop.


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