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Palazzo Reale di Genova – Visit guide

The Palazzo Reale di Genova is the city’s largest patrician palace, a vast architectural complex built in the 17th century: first the residence of wealthy merchants and nobles, then the palace of the Savoia.

Visiting the Palazzo Reale di Genova you will be able to experience the atmosphere of the past thanks to the reconstruction of the historical residence, with the restoration by the current management of the complex relationship between the furnishings and works of art of the families that have succeeded one another and inhabited the palace.

Find out more with our guide to the Palazzo Reale di Genova.


From Palazzo Stefano Balbi to the Royal Palace of the House of Savoia. The palace at No 10 of Via Balbi has passed through various epochs under different names, which have left us historical evidence that is still visible during the visit.

The first nucleus in the mid-17th century is due to the Genoese Balbi family, but the real development was the work of Eugenio Durazzo. In the early 19th century, the Savoia family purchased the palace and turned it into the Royal Palace.

Vista dal terrazzo del Palazzo Reale di Genova dell'entrata interna del palazzo
Vista dall'alto del cortile interno del Palazzo Reale di Genova

The Balbi construction

The first owners were the Balbi family, in the persons of Stefano and Giovan Battista Balbi. The Balbi were part of the new Genoese nobility of the oligarchic Republic, who became rich through the silk trade and later as bankers.

To demonstrate the importance they had achieved in the city, they pooled their resources and independently financed a road connecting the port with the road to the west and Milan. This was to be the future Via Balbi and on either side of the road they had palaces built, the last of which was Palazzo Stefano Balbi (future Palazzo Reale) in 1643.

The property of the Durazzo family

At the end of the 17th century, the Balbi family found themselves in financial difficulties, due to the plague and other misfortunes, and were forced to sell their palace, which they sold to the Durazzo family in 1679.

The new owner, Eugenio Durazzo, did not limit himself to some renovation work but redesigned the palace, giving it its present form. Building work concentrated on the construction of the east wing and the extension of the Falcone Theatre.

Ricostruzione storica con modellino in legno del Teatro del Falcone
Modellino ligneo Teatro del Falcone. Antico teatrino medievale ristrutturato dalla famiglia Durazz

It was for the renovation of the medieval theatre that the Durazzo family called the architect Carlo Fontana from Rome, who was to contribute something new to the world of Genoese architecture. The Roman architect, a collaborator of Bernini, provided the palace with a viable atrium allowing entry by carriage, a true exception in Genoa. This was also the reason why the palace was chosen as the residence of the Savoia family.

The Royal Palace of the House of Savoia

With the Congress of Vienna, the Republic of Genoa was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia. Like the Balbi family, the Durazzo family also ran into economic problems and in 1824 King Carlo Felice bought the palace: this is when it became ‘Palazzo Reale’ (Royal Palace).

Sala del Trono di Casa Savoia nella reggia di Palazzo Reale di Genova.

With the transfer of ownership to the House of Savoia, part of the rooms were adapted to the needs of the court, with the construction of reception and audience rooms, such as the Throne Room and the Ballroom. During the 19th century, the royals helped to modernise the building, adapting it for example with gas and then electric light installations.

In 1919, King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy transferred several royal palaces, including the palace in Genoa, to the Italian state in order to relieve the state coffers of the burden of maintenance.


Located about halfway down Via Balbi (not far from the Piazza Principe railway station), the Palazzo Reale presents itself to the visitor with an enormous and austere façade. The entrance is more scenic: with its large courtyard and garden, the central body of the building opens up to the sea, an exception for the time. In fact, at the time that the Balbi (and later the Durazzo) built the palace, the urban development of Genoa was towards its medieval centre.

The complex comprises two noble floors for flats, three mezzanine floors for other accommodation and service functions (kitchens, storerooms, etc.), a terrace, an internal garden, the Falcone Theatre and buildings that were used as stables and coach houses.

Vista del porto di Genova con la lanterna dal terrazzo di Palazzo Reale di Genova in Via Balbi
Vista del giardino pensile e delle corte interna del Palazzo Reale di Genova. Sullo sfondo il porto e la Lanterna di Genova

The first noble floor can only be visited during temporary exhibitions, while on the second noble floor you can admire the careful historical reconstruction of palace life. The tour through the rooms takes us on a discovery of the original furnishings and works from the collection of the Balbi, Durazzo and Savoia families.

The visit to the Palazzo Reale di Genova lasts at least 2 hours.

The Palazzo Reale is part of the network of the National Museums of Genoa, together with Palazzo Spinola in Piazza Pellicceria (at the time of writing, the purchase of the entrance ticket is valid for a visit to both palaces).

The first noble floor

This floor, which the Durazzo family dedicated for their library, was completely renovated with new floors, ornaments and furnishings on the occasion of the marriage of the Dukes of Savoia Vittorio Emanuele and Maria Adelaide.

The work was completed in 1844 and a total transformation that modernised the room according to 19th-century tastes, with upholstery and decorations in vogue at the time that we can still admire today. In fact, the Apartment of the Crown Princes preserves in its ten rooms an extraordinary wealth of authentic fittings and furnishings: from the neo-Baroque style consoles made for the flat, to the curtains, to the door frames, originally made of slate but later remade in marble by the Savoia family.

We have evidence that Crown Prince Vittorio Emanuele used the apartment even after his accession to the throne and until his death.

At present, the first piano nobile can be visited during temporary exhibitions.

Portantina - Palazzo Reale Genova

The second noble floor

The reception floor was the space where the best of the palace’s collection of paintings, statues and frescoes were displayed. This is one of the most important picture galleries in the city. It was a destination for visitors from different parts of Europe, even before the development of modern tourism: all those who embarked on their Grand Tour used to pass through here; thus the rooms always had to be in the latest fashion of the time. And we can still have the same experience today thanks to the exhibition of the great variety and diversity of decorative arts, furnishings, furniture, vases and chandeliers.

Arredi e opere d'arte originali conservate al Palazzo Reale a Genova
Salotto del Tempo di Palazzo Reale di Genova.

One of the most famous areas of the palace is undoubtedly the Mirror Gallery (currently under renovation), a refined interpretation of 17th-century gallery models such as the one at Versailles. This gallery was also used in the past as a dining room for important occasions, such as Napoleon’s visit to Genoa.

With the purchase by the royal house, changes were made according to the needs of the court. Thus the former aristocratic palace became a palace, with its throne room, audience room and the flats of the king and queen.

The Ballroom

This is the first room we encounter on our visit to the second noble floor. It is the largest room in the palace both in terms of surface area and the height of the vault. Here the Durazzo family displayed the portraits of the most important members of the family while the Savoia family used it as a ballroom. In the 1840s, the architects in charge of the work redesigned the hall with new stucco work, a fresco on the vault and new flooring (now made of wood).

Soffitto e volta del Salone da ballo dei Savoia a Genova
Salone da Ballo del Palazzo Reale di Genova. Fatto costruire dai Savoia.

Currently in the Ballroom one can admire the ‘Double Portrait of the Infant Princesses Isabella Chiara Eugenia and Caterina Micaela’, one of the masterpieces in the Palazzo Reale in Genoa, which came to Genoa from Turin with the Savoia family between 1823 and 1830.

It is a work for which we have no certain attribution, but it is assumed that the canvas was painted by the Lombard painter Sofonisba Anguissola. This proposed attribution is corroborated by similar works that the artist produced in the second half of the 16th century such as the double portrait of infants preserved today in London.

Doppio ritratto delle principesse infanti Isabella Chiara Eugenia e Caterina Micaela - Palazzo Reale Genova
Quadro di Sofonisba Anguissola. Palazzo Reale Genova

The Hall of Battles

Under Savoia’s ownership, this former state room became the place reserved for the sovereign’s stewards, those who had the task of preparing the king for his outings on horseback. The Durazzo family, on the other hand, had designed the room as a place to display the best for guests, including works of art and furnishings.

The name ‘Hall of Battles’ is explained by the presence on the walls of two paintings by Carlo Antonio Tavella depicting two 18th-century naval battles between the Maltese fleet, commanded by the Genoese Giovan Battista Spinola, and the Saracens.

The Veronese Room

The room is named after the painting ‘Supper in the House of the Pharisee’ painted in 1556 by Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese. The canvas was purchased by Gerolamo Durazzo in 1737 from a Genoese collector. The work that can be admired in Genoa, however, is not the original but a copy made by David Corte in the 17th century. This copy was already owned by the Durazzo family and was used to replace Veronese’s original when this painting was transferred by the Savoy family to Turin in the early 19th century.

The room was used as a space for family socialising. The owners would gather with relatives and acquaintances to listen to music or the reading of a book, to converse and on certain occasions also to attend small theatrical performances.

Arredi originali della Sala del Veronese al Palazzo Reale di Genova

The Hall of Peace

A passage room, therefore very small. From this room, the servants could use the service entrances (two doors on the east wall) that connected the noble flats with the work rooms, such as kitchens, pantries and cloakrooms. The servants thus avoided having to pass through spaces frequented by guests.

In the Hall of Peace we can admire three paintings executed with an ancient technique of French derivation that used vegetable colours on silk fabrics and created an effect similar to tapestries. The subjects of the paintings in the Hall of Peace derive from the frescoes made by Raphael’s workshop in the Vatican loggias.

The Time Room

This is the oldest nucleus of the palace picture gallery, a small and intimate room where aristocratic sociability took place. 23 paintings in 3 overlapping registers with works by Genoese, Flemish and Venetian artists.

This abundance was due to the fact that since the 15th century Genoese merchants, thanks to their trade relations with Venice and Antwerp, could buy the paintings of the most sought-after artists locally. This gave the Genoese collectors of the time a distinct advantage as they could buy directly and at better prices.

Throne Room

The Throne Room is characterised by an 18th-century stucco vault decorated in gold by the Savoia family. A central place in the palace housing one of the symbols of the monarchy, during the previous ownership of the Durazzo family it was a sumptuous drawing room in which three large paintings by the Neapolitan painter Luca Giordano stood out. Shortly before the palace was sold to the family of Savoia, the Durazzo family sold one of the paintings: the throne canopy was placed in that empty space.

Baldacchino e Trono della Sala del Trono con dipinto di Luca Giordano Via Balbi Genova
Sala del Trono. Palazzo Reale Genova. Dipinto Luca Giordano.

In the renovation commissioned to transform the drawing room into a throne room, the previous decorations were removed, saving only the 18th-century stuccoes and the two remaining paintings by Giordano. These two paintings were originally embedded in the wall, while during the 19th century the Royal Family had them hung on the walls and modernised with neo-Baroque frames.

Audience Chamber

This is a large but long space, a small gallery that served as a room of high representation where the Savoia kings received foreign ambassadors in the presence of the government and court. The room was created in the mid 19th century by joining two private rooms of the Durazzo family.

In the Audience Chamber you can admire the portrait of Caterina Balbi Durazzo by Van Dyck and one of the best examples of the Genoese Baroque, the ‘Rape of Proserpine’ by Valerio Castello. Valerio Castello was one of the first artists in Genoa from the first half of the 17th century to move from mannerism to more scenic atmospheres, with artistic influences coming from outside the city.

Sala delle Udienze Palazzo Reale Genova - Ritratto Caterina Balbi Durazzo Van Dyck
Dipinto Van Dyck Genova Palazzo Reale

The King and Queen's Apartments

The private quarters were converted from the flats of the previous owners. The king’s private flat contains paintings of the Genoese school and Van Dyck’s Crucifix, placed above the king’s bed. This canvas is one of the first crucifixes painted by the Antwerp painter in Italy.

Camera da letto dei re sabaudi a Genova nella reggia del Palazzo Reale

What was once the King’s Bathroom with washbasins, mirrors and a bathtub, is now a Portrait Room where some of the oldest pieces in the palace’s collection can be seen. We refer, for instance, to two magnificent Flemish panels dating from the end of the 15th century that were already part of the picture gallery owned by the Balbi family, the first family to own the palace.

Unfortunately, everything that made this space the King’s Bathroom was dismantled in the mid-20th century when the palace became a museum and it was felt that these furnishings were at odds with the new museum function. The same fate also befell the Queen’s Bath.

Camera da letto del re a Palazzo Reale Genova - Crocefisso di Van Dyck
Palazzo Reale di Genova - Camera da letto della Regina

The queen’s private flat consisted of several lounges and parlours (the Queen’s Parlour, the Yellow Parlour and the Blue Parlour), a bedroom, the bathroom and the domestic chapels.

The living quarters were connected with both the king’s private spaces (the bedroom and bathroom) and the state rooms. Already under the previous ownership of the Durazzo family, the drawing room that we know as the Queen’s drawing room was used by the mistress of the house to receive guests. The same drawing room could also be used for religious functions, as the presence of the domestic chapel testifies.

At the end of your visit

From the queen’s flat you can access the terrace that overlooks the port of Genoa and from which you can also have the most complete view of the palace. Here the tour of the second piano nobile ends and descends towards the atrium.

From here you can visit the roof garden with its rissêu (typical Genoese mosaic) or the Falcone Theatre if there are events or exhibitions going on. In fact, the Teatro del Falcone after its modern reconstruction is used as a venue for exhibitions, conferences and concerts.



The Palazzo Reale di Genova is located at Via Balbi 10.
It is a 5-minute walk from the Piazza Principe railway station (as soon as you leave the station, go straight ahead).
If you are in the centre of Genoa you can take the metro and get off at the ‘Darsena’ stop or the bus lines 20 – 32 – 34 – 35 (stop Balbi 2/Palazzo Reale). You cannot get there directly by car because Via Balbi is closed to private traffic.


Allow at least 2 hours for a complete tour of the palace. Many times there are also temporary exhibitions and displays, so the visit can be extended to 3 hours.


Wednesday to Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm (last entrance at 6.30 pm)
Special openings on Sundays.

Full price ticket 11,00€ also valid for the entrance to Palazzo Spinola in Piazza Pellicceria.

We advise you to always check the official website of the Palazzo Reale di Genova for updates.

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