The Italian city where the houses are fit for royalty

 It’s the Italian city home to palaces so spectacular that they’re UNESCO World Heritage sites. A city that was once home to so much wealth that the local aristocracy lived in environments literally fit for a king, and the place where Rubens began his great artistic career.
Rome? Florence? The Grand Canal-facing palaces of Venice?
Nope: Genoa.
Seen by many as “just” a port city — one whose approach by water is often marred by ugly postwar urban development and the sprawling port itself, which stretches nearly 14 miles along the waterfront — the capital of Liguria is in fact one of Italy’s most spectacular cities.
It’s home to what’s said to be the most intact medieval city center in Europe, and beautiful art nouveau architecture in its “new” area (yes, this is a city where “new” is still old). But what drew UNESCO’s attention in 2006 was the Palazzi dei Rolli, or Rolli Palaces — a system of aristocratic mansions so spectacular that they were used as proto-hotels for visiting dignitaries and even royalty.

The list was first created in 1576 by a decree of the republic’s senate “that assigns the use of private homes to host visitors of the state,” says art historian Giacomo Montanari from the University of Genoa, and the scientific curator of the Rolli Days, in which many of the palaces open up for tours.
“Instead of being met in a royal palace, like at Versailles or Madrid, they were in the individual homes of aristocrats.”

Michelin-style palace ratings

The aristocrats already effectively ran Genoa — it was, says Montanari, an “oligarchical society.” And the mansions were even listed in different bands, depending on their quality, and who they were fine enough to host.
“They were suited to different kinds of guests — so if an ambassador arrived there were medium to high level houses, whereas for monarchs or archbishops there were places of even better quality,” says Montanari, who likens the bands to hotel star ratings or the Michelin star system. Like the latter, homes could be removed from the list or demoted down the bands if they weren’t up to scratch.
The lists were redone five times: in 1576, 1588, 1599, 1614 and 1664. Over that period, historians know of 163 homes that were on the rolls. The late historian Ennio Poleggi, who was director of the Institute of the History of Architecture at Genoa University, identified 88 that we can still recognize today. Around half of them — 42 — were added to UNESCO’s list.
“Tourists are always amazed by the beauty of our palaces,” says tour guide Laura Gregis. “Lots of them have been to Genoa before to take the ferry, but they didn’t think it was worth stopping. The Rolli Palaces are probably the most important trigger now that pushes people to see the city. In the last few years they’ve been a huge draw to the city — they perfectly represent Genoa’s economic power in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the UNESCO listing has made them even more famous.”

RELATED: The Italian region where tomato is off the menu

Ah Italy, the land of pizza, pasta and plenty of tomato sauce. At least, that’s the impression many visitors have when planning a trip to the Bel Paese. But if they’re planning to visit popular tourist sites like Cinque Terre or Portofino, they might be in for a shock — because the traditional food of Liguria, the northwest coastal region where both are located, is far from what outsiders might call “Italian.”

Where other regions of Italy have traditional dishes that are what we’d recognize as “Italian” food, traditional Ligurian dishes are slightly different.
Of course, there’s pasta with pesto. But there are also dishes like farinata, a kind of chickpea pancake that’s salted and served in slices, and cappon magro, a “salad” of seafood and cooked vegetables, slathered in basil-heavy green sauce, usually served in an elaborate pile that makes it look like a dish set for a banquet.
As for tomatoes? You find them pepping up the odd stew or sauce but they’re not front and center as they are in our imaginings of “Italian” food.

RELATED: Italy’s incredible ‘floating ship’ bridge reaches for the sky

High above the Polcevera valley, the final section of a majestic new bridge was hoisted into place this week, signaling the imminent completion of a remarkable engineering project against seemingly impossible odds.

The bridge is a critical traffic artery for northern Italy. It connects two sides of the city of Genoa and serves its busy mercantile port, while being part of the E80 European highway that links Italy to France. It’s also on a main route used by holidaymakers heading to the Ligurian Riviera from cities like Turin and Milan.
More importantly, it was built on the scene of tragedy, replacing an earlier structure, the Morandi bridge, which collapsed on August 14, 2018, killing 43 people.
That the replacement has arrived less than two years after the disaster is something of an achievement.
It was constructed rapidly, in a country rarely considered an exemplar of efficiency. Some of the most challenging work was carried out amid Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

You can support my work directly on Patreon
Contact by mail:
Contact by mail:


100% Data Tampering

What kind of a problem would need FAKE and manipulated documentation?

Look at all these “Climate Agreements.” We continue to lose money, prosperity and freedom while the CO2 level continue to increase, when do we say enough??