A noble residence, Savoy mansion, and wonderful National Museum in the heart of the monumental Via Balbi (17th century), Palazzo Balbi – Durazzo, today known as Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), was built in the 17th century by the Balbi family, based on the designs of Pier Francesco Cantone. In 1677, it was inherited by Eugenio Durazzo, who transformed it into an impressive Baroque-style building, reminiscent of a Roman palace. In 1824, it came into the possession of the Royal House of Savoy, who adopted it as their Genoese residence, hence the name Palazzo Reale, or Royal Palace. Now the property of the State, the building is home to Liguria's department for Artistic, Historic and Archaeological Heritage, and the Galleria di Palazzo Reale museum.
Visit: Museo di Palazzo Reale, Genoa, Italian Riviera, LiguriaMemorable parties and balls, diplomatic receptions and dinners for illustrious guests such as Napoleon Bonaparte – the Palazzo Reale has witnessed many important moments in the history of the republic of Genoa. The city palace was built in the mid-17th century for the Balbi family, who made their fortune in the textile and silk trade. From this new neighbourhood of La Strada Nuova, the wealthy merchants enjoyed great views of their ships in the harbour below. 50 years later, the Balbi family were forced to sell the mansion due to financial problems and another famous Genoa family moved in, the Durazzo family. This family expanded the city palace, adding many Baroque elements. In 1730, a Hall of Mirrors was added, modelled after the one in Versailles. In the 19th century, the palazzo served as the second home to the Dukes of Savoy, who at the time were also the Kings of Sardinia. Their presence earned the palace its name reale, ‘royal’. Conclude your visit to the Palazzo Reale with a stroll on the rooftop terrace. This vantage point offers sweeping views of the harbour with its high dockside cranes and the monumental lighthouse, La Lanterna. As you look straight down, you will also enjoy a lovely view of the small palazzo garden. This perspective allows you to admire the mosaics around the pond. The black and white images have been created with pebbles called risseu, a local mosaic style often used in the churches of Liguria, the region in Northern Italy where Genoa lies.